SO, the Football League is up and running – all we need now is the glory boys from the Premier League to join in and we’re cooking on gas.
No matter what era of football you scrutinise, or which division, the footballing deities have declared that a very specific number of things will happen on the first day of the season.
Here, for your delight and delectation, are the 10 commandments of the opening weekend.
Thou shalt have an early contender for goal of the season.
Someone will score a good goal, and some bright spark in the commentary box will suggest we will remember it eight or nine months later. But unless you are a BBC researcher creating a montage, or it’s David Beckham from the halfway line, you will have long forgotten it.
Thou shalt have nice sunny weather.
It has never, in the history of organised football, rained on the opening day of the season. It is a meteorological phenomenon that is currently unexplained in modern science.
Someone shalt spring a surprise.
A recently-promoted club will score four or five against an established mid-table outfit, giving everyone hope that a fairytale is about to unfold. The illusion will last precisely three days, until said club is pummelled in a midweek game at Stoke.
A new signing shalt score a hat-trick.
For one brief moment, the £7million you shelled out on that previously untested French striker looks a snip as he takes home the matchball with a sublime opening day display. Concerns to the contrary are sparked in September when the same striker is wearing cycling shorts and gloves in the warm-up.
Match of the Day/The Football League Show shalt be a welcoming sight.
After a long, lonely summer, hearing the theme tune to your chosen football programme can be a quite emotional experience. Yes, we have had the World Cup this year but it will still be nice to see Manish on his balcony, looking down on Steve Claridge and Leroy Rosenior.
A new fooball shalt divide opinion.
The ruling bodies have to tinker with the official football over the summer and one goal will always be attributed to its new flight or weight. Personally, I think every league and tournament in the world should be forced to play with an Adidas Tango from now until eternity.
Thou shalt sport a new haircut and tanned legs.
Those long summer days by the beach are bound to have given some players a nice orange hue as they stroll on to the pitch in August. One scene-stealer always returns with a crazy haircut, although this has happened less often since David Beckham hung up his fashionable boots.
Referees shalt impose a new ruling to leave people scratching their head.
Those cheeky rule-makers have had a few months to decide how to make the officials’ jobs even tougher, and usually give us at least one daft regulation change to create a talking point. This summer seems to be the apparently thorny issue of using sprays to mark out free-kicks.
A new kit shalt offend thine eyes.
Someone, somewhere created a fashion disaster that will be rolled out on the opening day of the season and never seen again. People are apparently paid a lot of money to design these things, so how did Coventry City get away with a brown kit?
Furious wrath shalt be poured down on an unfortunate manager.
After a few months of not having a mindless idiot shout abuse at the back of his head, one manager will bear the brunt of the fans’ scorn when his side under-perform on the first day of the season.
All that preparation, all that training, and then you go and spoil it in the first 90 minutes... Just ask Peter Taylor when he was in charge at Leicester City.