Phones are checked, calendars consulted and plans made – the announcement of next season’s fixtures always means a flurry of frantic activity for football fans.
What’s the first game? How does the Christmas schedule stack up? Will I be spending my birthday travelling to the other end of the country and back?
These are the kind of questions Bees fans, like so many others, will have been considering since the League Two fixtures were released this morning.
So let’s take a look at some of the fixtures that may have really caught your eye – and the ones that may just have made you groan with despair.
- Forest Green Rovers (a, 5th August): As well as being the first game of the season, there’s also the novelty – for those who haven’t been to the New Lawn before – of visiting the country’s most environmentally friendly stadium and sampling the vegan refreshments on offer. Apart from that, Barnet have a good record away to Forest Green – three wins, three draws and no defeats in the league, with an FA Trophy loss in the 2002-03 season the only blemish.
- Stevenage (h, 26th August): The de facto derby match for Barnet – especially since Leyton Orient’s EFL status came to an end – and it takes place over the August Bank Holiday weekend as well, with the return match on Easter Monday.
- Coventry City (h, 7th October): As a former Premier League club, undoubtedly the biggest ‘name’ in the division this season and the only one the Bees have never yet played against. The Sky Blues’ first visit to The Hive in October should draw a good crowd, especially as the match takes place over an international weekend.
- Swindon Town (h, 1st January): Another ex-Premier League side who should bring plenty of support when they come to The Hive on New Year’s Day – even though the Bees rarely do that well against them.
- Lincoln City (a, 26th September): The Bees’ first midweek away trip of the league campaign – and Lincoln is one of those venues that may not look that far away on the map, but turns out to be a fair bit further. Apart from a 6-0 win in the goal-laden weeks that followed Barnet’s first promotion to the Football League, Sincil Bank hasn’t been a particularly happy hunting ground.
- Newport County (a, 21st November): Yet again Barnet fans will find themselves heading to south Wales on a chilly Tuesday evening. But at least the fact Newport’s pitch is being relaid this summer should mean no more postponements…
- Accrington Stanley (a, 28th October): At least it’s a Saturday, but Accrington still represents something of a trek – and frankly, the Bees don’t tend to bring a great deal back with them in terms of league points.
- Grimsby Town (a, 14th April): Rather like nearby Lincoln, Blundell Park is further away than it seems and the Bees find results hard to come by. The team’s current record at Grimsby reads six defeats out of eight, with Neal Bishop (in 2008) holding the distinction of being the only Barnet player to score a winning goal there.