For 14 years I think it’s fair to say that the release of the Premier League fixtures has been nothing more than a list of games for Newcastle United. There was limited excitement or anticipation under the previous regime.

No hope, no expectation, no excitement – Just another sense of dread that the upcoming campaign would bring with it the annual struggle to avoid the drop to The Championship.

Thursday 7th October 2021 changed that. New hope, new expectation, new excitement. And we just can’t wait for the big kick off in August!

Since we last kicked a football in anger, on Sunday 22nd May, Newcastle fans across the globe have been waiting with anticipation for the release of the fixtures for the upcoming 2022-2023 Premier League season. Whilst it doesn’t really matter the order in which we play our opponents (by the way we play everyone twice regardless!!) there are always special dates etched in each supporter’s minds. Who do we play closest to our birthdays, whose first up, will it be home or away, who’ve we got on Boxing Day, New Year’s Day etc. When are the fixtures against the Mackems (sorry, couldn’t resist.)

As I look back over opening day fixtures in bygone seasons, I note that we’ve only won 2 of our previous 12 games, that 2-0 win at West Ham under Bruce, with Callum Wilson notching on his debut and a 2-1 win at home to Spurs back in the 2012-2013 season. Since we joined the PL in the 1993-1994 season, we’ve only won 8 of our opening day fixtures!!! Oddly, our past 5 openers have been against London based clubs, twice against Spurs, and twice against The Hammers.

You’d think that the fixtures drawn, at random, are just that…. random. However, as fans who have to travel the furthest across a whole campaign, we always tend to be shat on by the “supercomputer.” No doubt there will be the moaners and groaners having a pop because we play 3 of the so called “big six” on the bounce over Xmas (written before the fixtures have been released) but the reality is, as I have already intimated, the games and the order in which they’re played are totally random… I do take into account that there needs to be some algorithms that stop certain clubs playing at home on certain weekends (Liverpool / Everton etc.)

Referring to the oracle that is www.nufc.com, I see that our round-trip mileage has increased by 324 miles for the upcoming campaign, totalling (as the crow flies) 9096 miles. Massive kudos to those fans who travel to every home and away game across the season, that’s some haul!

You’ll no doubt have seen the so called #itk tossers bandying around speculation on who we’ve got first, second, third, yada yada. Ignore the idiots. There’s a magic button on twitter called BLOCK – I suggest you use it for these keyboard warriors. I have and it’s bloody refreshing. I won’t name them, but you all know who the conspirators are! They know less than nowt on transfers, fixtures etc.

So, what has the computer drawn for us this time round?… Let’s take a look in a little more detail…..

We open our bid for European football at home to newly promoted Forest on August 6th, with a peeve infested 3pm kick off, which is perfect, followed by a trip to the south coast and Dan Ashworth’s old friends Brighton. Then the champions make the trip to Barrack Road before we hit the road to Molineux and Anfield.

September and October don’t look too bad to be fair, although we have away trips to West Ham, Man United and Spurs in amongst those months.

With the stupidity of a winter World Cup, there are only 2 games in November and 2 in December before normality resumes in January.

Not that you care, but the closest game to my birthday is Villa at home at the end of October.

Other notable fixtures are Leicester away on Boxing Day, Leeds at home on NYE then Arsenal away on 2nd Jan.

Our run in looks tough – May pits us at home to Arsenal, away to Leeds, at home to Leicester then a final day trip to Stamford Bridge!!!

Anyway, as I intimated, we must play every opponent twice across the season, so it’s all academic really. We all start on zero points, and have 114 to play for, so let’s enjoy the ride and in Eddie we trust to fire us up the league and into contention for a European spot.

Enjoy the summer folks and with some new signings incoming, let’s have a great season.

Paul Karter – @peekeekay