The day all Hatters fans have been waiting for since that penalty went over/wide at Wembley. the day we find out: Who we play first? When do one of the 'Big Boys' come to town, Who do we get in the Christmas fest of football? Which games will be moved to 11pm on a Thursday night by Sky?
The key date and time to look for is 9am Thursday 15th June 2023.
From there, all game weeks will be released and then Sky (and other broadcasters) will cherry pick the first few months of fixtures so exact times and dates will not be set until a week or so later.
Some of the key understandings and rules are laid out on the Premier League website below (https://www.premierleague.com/news/3147591): "In keeping with commitments made to clubs this season to address the congested festive schedule, no two rounds across Christmas and New Year will take place within 48 hours of each other.
The schedule also provides for a return of the mid-season player break, which will take place between 13-20 January.
The 2023/24 season will consist of: - 34 weekends - three midweek rounds - one Bank Holiday match round"
FIRST HOME GAME OF THE SEASON
With the expected time delay of renovating the Bobbers Stand/ Executive Boxes, it is likely the club will play the first 3 matches away from home. Before anyone thinks this is strange, Liverpool have asked for their first game to be away due to renovation of Anfield (reported in the Empire Kop) due to rebuilding of the Anfield Road End.
This has meant the likely first match (going off 2022/23 season) will be 2nd September (or weekend of). That will mean the likelihood of having a lot of home games come the end of the season as higher than normal, or we will have a lot of back to back home games to catch it up.
With the transfer window closing before our predicted first home game, it could be the case that if we sell some of our current squad, they will play in the Premier League but will never play at the Kenny in the top tier.
FIFA/EA SPORTS FC RELEASED
The date which is leaked so far is 29th September but this is purely speculation based on the last few years. The split from FIFA and EA has made this even more unpredictable for fans as no one is 100% sure on licensing and agreements for other competitions but so far it looks like they have signed most up (https://www.ea.com/en-gb/games/ea-sports-fc).
Remember that all Premier League clubs have had their stadiums specifically made for the game in the past years. Questions have to be asked though, with the redevelopment of the old Bobbers Stand/ Executive Boxes, will the game include Kenilworth Rd from 2022/23 or will they wait for the new seasons ground?
Below are is one such attempt at the ground which are unofficial but look good (credit to @_ReFIFA):
#TEAMSLIKELUTON WORLDWIDE TRENDING
If Luton fans thought this was out of control in the 2022/23 season...wow, wait till the first game of the season and all the armchair fans of clubs who see Oak Rd entrance on TV. If you speak to the majority of actual fans who go to the away games in the Premier League, 75% of them are excited and looking forward to it. It is the fans from other countries or armchair fans that struggle to understand how this can happen.
The other reason we will trend is our 'long ball' or 'direct' football. The fact that if De Bruyne or Odegaard does it, it is precision 50 yard pass, when we do it, it is hoof ball. But maybe it is, but play to your strengths and it sometimes takes oppositions a season to work new teams out.
Potentially the area where the majority of the #teamslikeluton will come from clubs in the Championship who are envious of the Town and feel they have a right to be in the top tier due to apparent trophies in the 1970's or a big out of town/city stadium that they half fill.
LAST DAY OF SEASON SURVIVAL
The Town have been involved in SO many last day survivals in the top tier in the 80's and early 90's...yes before football was invented I know!! Whether it is David Pleat running across the pitch at Maine Road, Big Mick's own goal against/for Derby in 1990/91 season or Tim Breacker's wonder strike a season earlier at the Baseball Ground, will we need another.
That feeling post COVID that the club gave the fans against Blackburn and James Collins penalty was such a relief and if everyone is honest today and the Play Off Final would never have happened if we had gone down. The fact it happened behind closed doors meant fans have to go back to the early 90's to the time they witnessed in person a last day escape.
If most fans are honest, they would agree that if it got to the last day, we will have done incredibly well, but who knows...stranger things have happened! So the date is 19th May 2024, lets hope and believe.
By Andrew McMellon (@andrew_mc84)
Host of My Best Eleven Podcast, Journalist and Pundit (https://mybesteleven.podbean.com/) (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCosPHLqTf7KuZfKVtlVLy0Q)