The day we have all been waiting for since the Northern Alliance league finished in May (or June 22nd when we 100% knew which league we would be playing in this season) arrives on Saturday afternoon as we kick off our Northern League campaign away to fancied Heaton Stannington.
For Birtley, eight pre-season friendlies consisting of five wins, a draw and two losses, a host of players in and out and lots of improvements both on and off the pitch to get the lads ready for the season opener.
The last time we played at Grounsell Park was Tuesday 15th May. On that night we went into a League Cup Final as massive underdogs to face a Newcastle University side which had ripped teams apart all season, including ourselves. We won the game 2-0 and what a night it was!
As league newcomers, we'll no doubt go in to Saturday's game as underdogs once again as Heaton Stan have been tipped to do very well this season by a few people that know what they're talking about.
Of their five pre-season friendlies, they won their first and last fixtures; a 7-1 win against Northern Alliance side Shankhouse and a 6-0 win against Blyth Spartans Reserves who play in the Northern Alliance First Division. Those wins were sandwiched between three losses, two of which were against Scottish Lowland Football League sides Whitehill Welfare (5-1) and Gala Fairydean Rovers (3-0) with the third loss a little closer to home as Northern League First Division side Whitley Bay ran out 6-1 winners this time last week.
The game kicks off at 3pm and the Grounsell Park postcode is NE7 7HP. Entry is £5 for Adults, £2 for Concessions while children get in for free. As always, your support is very much appreciated.