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Rough guide 2006-07
3 June 2006
For the first time since 1971 Town are facing a third consecutive season on the league's bottom rung. The football is crap. The fans are fed up. The grounds are falling apart. And the Cod Almighty team can't wait for it to start.
Before I explain our apparent perversity, I will first explain that this summer's Rough Guide is having to take on a slightly different form. The page layout is the same, most of the writers are the same and the style is pretty much the same too. But now that we're so familiar with (and, in some cases, accordingly contemptuous of) most of our basement buddies, the 2006–07 Guide focuses upon each club's experiences since last summer and how events might differ next time around.
That said, six of next season's 23 opponents will be new to the division, so we'll be taking a closer look at the five of them that are real football clubs and actually deserve to exist.
And one of them in particular can remind us about what really matters here.
Yes, it hurts to be languishing in this division after the Buckley years of overachievement. Yes, the football is often relatively unskilful. But real fans know that supporting a club is about much more than aspiring to Premiership glamour (and bracing yourself for all the cynicism and opportunistic commercial bullshit that comes with it).
England's is a uniquely vibrant football culture, so rather than regard our impending visit to Accrington Stanley as some form of unbearable humiliation – in just the same way Sunderland and Wolves wearily approached Cleethorpes not so long ago – let's relish the chance to renew our involvement in one of the greatest stories football has to tell.
Stanley's comeback is a genuine fairytale – as opposed to the big-money Hollywood bastardisation that is Wigan's rise. So it's in keeping with the real values of football that this season's Rough Guide is proud to begin with Miles Moss's lowdown on Accrington, and that the Cod Almighty team will be proud to visit the Crown Ground next season. Hope we see you there.