Johnny Cantor: Comfortable start but a tough run-in

Albion celebrate their equaliser at Middlesbrough on the final day of last season

Albion celebrate their equaliser at Middlesbrough on the final day of last season

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You know the conversation. “Do we have to? It’s going to take ages.” Christmas, Easter Bank Holidays. The family trip to visit relatives.

It’s a debate often had in households across the country but for football supporters it is a different outlook.

The fan decides whether he or she wants to go. It may be a case of ticking a ground off the list, seeing the historic promotion match or escape from relegation but the supporters have the choice.

However, the fixtures are all subject to the vagaries of the computer, local rivalries, policing and the TV schedule. Okay, so we have week one and week 46 sorted. The rest may change.

Some slight alterations can be expected over the next ten days as clubs request changes but all games across the season can be changed by the rights holder. Sometimes it won’t impact on fans but if a long trip is required, the inconvenience and cost can be extreme.

Take for example Brighton & Hove Albion’s trip to Newcastle. It is perhaps one of, if not the longest trip in the Championship. It currently stands on Saturday, August 27, a Bank Holiday weekend.

With a 700-mile, 12-hour round trip to the North East across a weekend, the drive would seem illogical. The train or a flight is possible but with a team as big as Newcastle it is a fixture ripe for TV coverage. One of many I expect for the Magpies.

So even if you manage to pick up a bargain, you may have to pay to change tickets or even accommodation. It is inevitable but the glamour of St James’ Park may eclipse a Tuesday night at Rotherham.

Of course, every team has to play each other home and away but there is always an element of luck in terms of injuries and form.

Despite a tough examination on the opening day at Derby, I think the Seagulls have a comfortable start and a good chance to build a good foundation just like last season.

A tough run-in beckons. We will have to wait to see if the trip to Villa Park, another historic ground, on the final day will be as dramatic as the climax at the Riverside in May. One consolation is that it’s not as far, however, a noon kick-off on a Sunday once again highlights the fact that we are all beholden to the hand that feeds the clubs.

Johnny Cantor covers Brighton & Hove Albion as a commentator and reporter for BBC Sussex Sport.

Follow all the action, home or away, on BBC Sussex Sport or Twitter: @BBCSussexSport or @johnnycburger

To read more by Johnny Cantor, visit www.johnnycantor.com

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