By Mark Rasdall
So the football fixtures for the 2013/14 season are finally out. Like all football fans I await this day eagerly each summer as I wrote in thefootballground blog earlier in the week - especially given how much planning goes into compiling football fixtures each year.
As an LUFC fan it's tempting to interpret the fixtures fatalistically when you see we start with Brighton at home and Leicester away - fixtures we have struggled with; then Birmingham away and Derby at home to close the season. Obviously Birmingham away is another bogey fixture for us and Derby anywhere at any time seems to have been poisoned by greater powers than even the gypsies Don Revie was so aware of.
Or we could look at it optimistically, as Brian McDermott is doing by being pleased with home games at the beginning and the end and simply looking at each game as the next game and so they are the most important ones at any moment in time. His approach is refreshing and just what those of us who bring decades of emotional baggage with us could really do with. Hard though, isn't it, to just delete those memories or not to be looking out for the Millwall and Barnsley away dates?
I think this is why we are mainly optimistic about Brian's philosophy. It's simple and we shall very soon now see if it is going to be effective. While we are looking at a trip to the seaside on Boxing Day or a late chicken dinner on New Year's Day, Brian will no doubt forget that it's actually a holiday period and be as focussed as ever.
For all teams, the Championship is likely to be the most competitive English league again next season and I think we need to remember who we are and worry less about the opposition. We are Leeds United and strive to be back in the Premier League where many think we belong. Let others do the worrying about us and let's write a new history where we tear up the form books and honestly try to forget bad days in the past.
If we get anything on 5th October, having not been beaten on 28th September or 24th August, we'll know we really are on the right track.