Saturday, 3 o'clock (preview)
It’s 3 o’clock on Saturday. The first league game of the season. The first league game since March, in fact. In non-league football, where social distancing isn’t generally a problem for spectators, fans have been allowed back inside grounds. Saturday, 3 o’clock. After the last few months this is the stuff of dreams for football fans, isn’t it?
Well, it could be, but this happens to be the wrong 3 o’clock. In the eerie small hours of Saturday I’m standing outside Ingfield, home of Northern Premier League Division One club, Ossett United. Fellow members of the supporters’ club are readying themselves for the first away game. Recent tradition has seen the hardy Ossett lads and lasses walk to the first opponents' ground for charity. Our opponents are Mossley, some 30 miles away over hill and dale on the other side of the Pennines. As we brace ourselves for the hike we thank our lucky stars. After all, it could have been worse. The fixture generator could have thrown Workington at us, in which case we would have needed to set off a week ago!