Sez Les: Bramall Lane earns its own historic spot

Sheffield United's Bramall Lane pitch, which is wet, but clear of snow thanks to the undersoil heating.
Sheffield United's Bramall Lane pitch, which is wet, but clear of snow thanks to the undersoil heating.
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So, off we go again and never earlier. Which means Bramall Lane - one of only two grounds to stage both an Ashes Test and an FA Cup Final - will tonight stage the earliest ever Football League game. As yet, no one has found an earlier start.

The Friday opener rather ends the possibility of football’s first day coinciding with England winning the Ashes as happened with the 1953 Ashes win.

For some reason, the Football League season that year started on a Wednesday (August 19). That day, England beat Australia at The Oval to win the Ashes.

A blanket start tomorrow would have offered up the chance of emulating that feat 60 years ago. Tonight’s start ends that not to mention some Aussies finally finding a bit of batting form.

But back to normality which, one suspects, this early start to a season will become. So get used to it. Clubs have requested fewer midweek matches (no one needs reminding how gates drop when the dark nights arrive) and if that’s the case then an earlier start it has to be. Many clubs are also affected by televised Champions League football hitting their gates.

A new manager and, therefore, a new era for the Blades. They should be up there challenging again and the David Weir influence on playing style will be interesting to see.

Wednesday look to have gone for size and pace. They’ve some real big lads and some quick ‘uns. Strange to find Owls fans not breaking down doors to tip their team for the top six. Top half for me.

It will be interesting to see if Barnsley’s revitalisation under the impressive David Flitcroft continues. I think it will. Rotherham will be ok but there is some uncertainty at Donny with all the takeover talk. Chesterfield should be the best bet. Play-offs at least.

So, new starts although, for many, footballing Saturdays won’t quite be the same again. Dear old James Alexander Gordon, who seems to have been reading the ‘classified’ football results on BBC radio for ever, has stepped down. Good luck whoever follows him.

And the paper version of the dear old Green ‘Un has sadly gone. It’s going online. So, I’ll miss propping it up, top side of my Saturday night dinner, for a leisurely read on how all the local clubs have done and all the scorers and tables at a glance. Won’t quite be the same firing up a laptop!