The new season is less than five weeks away. Five weeks. Five weeks ago was the end of May. By that time the play offs had been decided, SKD was still wondering if Preston would give him a new contract (won't someone think of the donkeys?) and I was looking forward to finally watching Eidur Gudjohnsen in a Bolton shirt. So that's all panned out marvellously.
Anyway, the fixtures were released about three weeks ago and Chris and Rob had a go at predicting the first six.. It would appear that by the end of September we will be top of the league and heading back to the land of champagne and honey(s). Big Phil will be looking forward to that massive bonus he will be getting come next May and Neil Lennon will be basking in the glow of the obvious job offer from Liverpool.
About time for some perspective I believe.
Opening fixtures are always tricky ones to predict. Remember when we beat Leicester 5-1 on our first game back in the Premiership? Eeeee, that were a grand day. Derby self imploded at the end of last season, which is why their manager was fired and almost immediately hired by Newcastle. They have a new manager in his first job but who has coached at some off the biggest clubs in the world. And Blackburn. I would be very wary of a team that has Chris Martin and Darren Bent up front but they've just signed Scott Carson from Wigan, so that should be worth a goal. He has four England caps you know. I know.....
2) 15th August - Middlesbrough 2 v 1 Bolton Wanderers
I'm not going to lie, I had this one down as more of a home banker until Boro may or may not have signed Alex Baptiste this week. But still, they will do well not to go up this season after being near the top for the whole of last season. They may have lost their top scorer Patrick Bamford back to Chelsea, which undoubtedly lessens their attacking intent, but I think that they will have too much for us. No shame in that as I think they'll be Premier League come next August.
3) 18th August - MK Dons 0 v 1 Bolton Wanderers
I used to live in Wimbledon. Alright, it was South Wimbledon, which doesn't have the same kudos. But it was still the same postcode. I can still remember the vitriol that the locals had for the team from Milton Keynes. I like the manager but their chairman resembles the love child of Mick Hucknall and the Toxic Avenger. Is what the locals would say. I'm not a believer that teams that have just come up a division will struggle, but you do look at the squad and wonder where the results will come from. First win.
4) 22nd August - Bolton Wanderers 4 v 1 Nottingham Forest
I think we all know that we are going to batter Nottingham Forest so hard it will resemble Ivan Drago v Apollo Creed. No wins in their last eight games last season showed the initial spark that McDougie will give mid table Championship sides had quickly petered out. They now also boast Matt "what bigger club could I get back into the Premier League with" Mills in the heart of their defence. He will probably score their solitary goal in a mauling of almost biblical proportions. If he hasn't been the victim of Dougie Bingo four games in.
5) 29th August - Blackburn Rovers 1 v 0 Bolton Wanderers
Moved for your televisual delight, the nearest thing to a derby, now that Wigan have rightly been despatched back to whence they came. At the time of writing, Blackburn have a formidable forward line in Gestede and Rhodes. At the time of any writing, we are various shades of crap in front of Sky cameras. I do not expect this to change. Still, at least the fact that it's on TV saves a trip to Blackburn, for which quite a lot of us can be thankful.
6) 12th September - Bolton Wanderers 3 v 1 Wolverhampton Wanderers
We are the one and only Wanderers, and there's a bloody good reason for that. Wolves want to be Bolton so much, even their away kit was white last season. Wolves may boast Benik Afobe up front, but his inability to hit a barn door with a banjo when he enjoyed, for want of a better word, half a season with us in 2012 will undoubtedly follow him back to the Macron. They may well lose Bakary Sako before the season begins, due to being short sighted enough to let his contract run down. That leaves them with Nouha Dicko and a bunch of kids up front, at the time of writing. How can we possibly not win?
So after all that, we have ten points and, hopefully, a top half of the table position. I fully expect that new captain Darren Pratley will have scored half of these goals. If we're lucky, that will kick us on and by the time we visit Fulham for the last game of the season we will have cause to get the tube into London, have a few overpriced shandies and be back in time for the open top parade. Nurse........!