By Mark Danylczuk
It’s good to be back in League One, isn’t it? One month and five games in and we really don’t want to go back to the grim days of League Two football. No disrespect to the teams there, but after but after six long years, it’s time for a club of our stature to start climbing up the football rankings again.
There are a few ways you can look at our run so far. Skipping over our cup disappointments, eight points from 15 in the league doesn’t look amazing but, on the other hand, only one defeat in five doesn’t seem so bad. If we look back to last season, City were again steady beginners, picking up seven points from the opening five games – one of which included a five-goal thumping, this time going our way against AFC Wimbledon.
Going further back to City’s last season in the third tier of English football in the 2006/07 season, City had a great start gaining 10 points from our opening five games, again only losing one. In a trip down memory lane, one of those games was a 4-2 home win against Gillingham with Dean Windass scoring two second half goals. The average home crowds that season were around 8,000 – how things have come along now with an extra 5,000 or so bums on seats!
Well, what can we briefly establish so far from our opening month in League One? We can compete with the best – that’s for starters. Accomplished performances against Championship relegated sides (Bristol City) and League One promotion favourites (Sheffield United) give us real optimism for the season. There should be no-one we are afraid of on our day. Next, our home form could be crucial in paving our way this season. The two performances against Carlisle and Sheffield United have been fantastic and we can certainly say that this is partly due to the renewed optimism and vigour of the imposing, increasing numbers of the City faithful at Valley Parade so far this season.
The fans. Compared to the League Two days, it’s so much better already – more vocal, more optimistic and more of us! ‘Take me home’ – it’s become a City anthem and, to me personally, feels spine-tingling in the smaller compact away ends, particularly against Bristol City. It just feels that whole lot better – we are excited for every game that comes.
As for the side itself, the opening few games has shown much promise with not too much negativity. I think it’s a real plus point that we haven’t had too much of a radical over-haul to disrupt the unity of the team in keeping the upward momentum going. The new signings, particularly Mark Yeates and Rafa De Vita, have shown early promise and healthy competition for places and there is enough depth to cover for fatigue, injuries and the later busy Christmas and easter periods.
In terms of other individuals, Nahki Wells has had a fantastic start to the season and, thankfully, due to no transfer market activity, can continue to work in partnership with James Hanson in getting the goals to hopefully keep us in the top half of the table at least, and dare I say, a play-off push. Early days, yes, but the potential is there.
Let’s go back again to the 2006/07 season, Seven years ago this very same weekend and who were we playing? A freaky coincidence, but yes, it was Brentford. The result that weekend was 2-1 to the Londoners – let’s hope for a reversal of fortunes this time around, as the good times of League One continue for the Bantams.