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It Never Fails
The first day By: Eric Hitchmo 03/08/2011
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League 06/08/2011
2011-2012 Attendance: 1874 (210)
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"Oh what a buzz. The new season is round the corner. This happens every year. Despite the cynicism that is surely engrained into most hardy Barnet supporters, you can't help that little voice in your head incessantly repeating something along the lines of ""but maybe this is our year"". Recent years have seen any such optimism dashed with an opening week of the season failing to yield a win. Will this year prove any different?

In hindsight, any giddy feeling of excitement last season should have been dashed after Mark Stimson stated that we would be filling our squad with Football League rejects who hadn't been given a fair crack at the whip and random Non League finds. Obviously this was doomed to failure from the beginning and we shouldn't have been surprised to find ourselves in the horrorshow that we wound up in. Thankfully it would appear that this policy has been well and truly binned, as I could do without a third year of staying up on the last day, thanks very much.

Instead, we have cleared out a lot of the aforementioned dross and made some decent signings with a real feel of experience. We know what Sam Deering and Mark Byrne are capable of owing to their loan spells last season, and names such as Danny Senda and Dean Brill are indicative of a solid platform for us to start from. Whether this squad will cope with a few injuries with the apparent lack of depth remains to be seen - I guess this would be the case with most siges at our level - but the 21 players we begin with this year fill me with much more confidence than at this point in the previous campaign. We just need a bit of luck in keeping our key players fit all year.

Of course, it is entirely feasible that we could start in the same manner as we have become increasingly used to and find ourselves going into the second week of the season after three games with a solitary point or less in the league and dumped out of the Carling Cup. It would just be so Barnet wouldn't it?! We're used to it now, after all this is our seventh (?!?!) season back in the Football League, and we are still yet to register an opening day victory. Remember Forest Green Rovers in August 2004? That was the last time we managed it. We have exited the Carling Cup in the First Round in each of the last four attempts, albeit three times to Championship opposition. Remember the miserable experience at Brighton, and the even more miserable yet strangely entertaining night at Carrow Road?

This time we travel to Morecambe, a repeat of the opening day fixture in 2007 when the home side made their Football League entrance with a 0-0 draw. It was a game we should have won, I recall. Like we have done previously, they have installed a club legend as their manager. Who knows whether that experiment will bear fruit for them. It did very briefly for us, but that fruit soon turned old and manky, and no-one wanted to eat it. At the risk of going overboard with fruit based football references, let's hope Jim Bentley's reign as Morecambe manager has yet to ripen, and that the bunch of players he picks are a load of melons. Jesus, this is terrible writing. I apologise. What I meant to say was, I hope we win.

As mentioned previously, this will surely be a weekend trip for many. We're all booked up and ready for a day and night of fun and banter on the coast, before coming home to do it all again at Portsmouth on Tuesday. The fixture computer and draw machine have dealt us a nice little hand to open up with. The weather however looks to be positively dreadful, but I'm sure that won't dampen anyone's spirits in the ground. There's a unique feeling about the season opener isn't there? Everyone is excited, there's always a nervous buzz around the ground, wherever you are, you still overhear the topic of ""how do you reckon we'll get on this year?"" in the concourses, outside the turnstiles and in the pubs. I love the opening day for that reason, even if after some twenty minutes you find yourself back in the ""here we go again"" mode when we're trailing by a terrible goal.

Regardless, it will be good to get back into the swing of things, and I'm going to stick my neck on the line and say that this year will never ever be as bad as last season, whatever happens. If we could pick up where we left off, that wouldn't be so bad, but let's consider the first 35 or so games of last year to be a thing of the past and look forward.

Remember, as this season's kit will always remind you, the future's bright, the future's orange."

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