The Premier League fixtures for the 2016/17 season have been released this morning, much to the joy of football nerds across the country.
With the new TV deal set to see top flight clubs paid a collective £5.1 billion over the next three years, owners across the league will be rubbing their hands together with glee as they look to do battle in front of the watching world over the nine months between August and May.
This will be Crystal Palace’s fourth straight season in the Premier League following promotion via the play-offs in 2013. Should Alan Pardew and his players manage to survive for another year, it would set a new record in the club’s 111-year history for consecutive campaigns in the top flight of English football.
There was a startlingly well produced “hoax” batch of leaked fixtures made available online a week or so ago, but the Premier League soon came out to dismiss any suggestion that they bore a resemblance to the real documents which will be made available today.
Kicking off on the weekend of the 13th and 14th of August, Palace fans will no doubt look towards the opening and final games of the season as well as the Boxing Day and New Year’s Day clashes first, as tradition expects. Having begun last season away to Norwich whilst also being forced to travel to Bournemouth and Southampton on Boxing Day and the last day respectively, we have every right to expect some fairer treatment from the powers that be this time around.
Of course, the power brokers behind the scenes at Sky and BT Sport will be making changes aplenty to the timings of the games over the next few days, but for almost every football fan, the release of the fixture list remains an exciting time, simply because it provokes a twinge of genuine optimism over what the next nine months or so could have in store.