Viva la television! Does featuring on TV mess with a team’s circadian rhythms? Presumably not at Premier League level because although fans pine for the days of 3pm kick-offs, drinks of Bovril and a small ruck with opposing fans in the pub, we are in the second generation of Sky-era footballers totally acclimatised to playing games at all times and on all days.
Lower down and post-Setanta, most players are in a rhythm of Saturday 3pm or Tuesday 7.45pm kick-offs, just like the good old days. Sunday lunchtime is usually reserved for Sunday lunch.
There isn’t a lot of evidence to really understand if we’re adversely effected by a change of match day routine. Last year’s drubbing against Cambridge (Saturday lunchtime) and previous tankings against Southend and Port Vale (both Monday evenings) imply a team that doesn’t cope well with a shift in routine.
Or maybe it’s just that we have the ability to artificially gloss a mundane lower-league fixture. Maybe Sky have chosen us in the past because they thought we were promotion hopefuls capable of putting on a show, whereas in fact we were just whipping boys. We can flatter to deceive like that.
It probably doesn’t help, then, that Bristol Rovers have had a good start and look like they’ve recovered well from the shock of relegation to the Conference. This could be the toughest test yet of our new found confidence; I’m sure it’ll be fine.
Old game of the day
I love a bit of Bristol Rovers I do, so it’s great to see them back in the League. They always bring a lot of fans, the games always seem to be pretty good and we’ve won more than our fair share.
This is from 1992, an age of particularly tight shorts. It’s not a particularly significant game, in fact, it was really part of my ‘lost years’ because I was at university. Back then, my weekly Oxford United fix, if I was lucky, would come from a 2 line write up in the Sunday People. Mind you, I was probably at this game because it was early in the season. It’s just nice to see The Manor as I remember it.
From the blog
“We’ve seen some bad sides in the last four years; Chester’s wheezing death throes, Wrexham neutered by their recent history, Tamworth running around like five-year- olds chasing a tennis ball in the playground.
None were quite as awful and shambolic as Bristol Rovers were last night.”