The fact that we're in the fixtures is the first concrete sign that we look to be OK - and once they'd been released it was a mad rush onto the National Express website to get tickets to the first few games.
Nothing cheap though - tickets for August have been on sale for a while and the Edinburgh festival means the arty-farty types from London have got there first.
Still at least the opening fixture at the Recreation Ground will mean a relatively easy trip for us.
The day after the fixtures were released, the newly formed Capital Quakers - replacing the Kings Cross Crew which frankly made us sound like dodgy north-side rappers - met in the Royal Oak in Borough for a chat about the season ahead.
(right) Royal Oak
Howard seems to be spending far too long in Germany to fit in many fixtures though seems very keen to try out Crewe.
A possible Morecambe weekender is on the cards too - a ground that I've still yet to visit but this might well be the year to break the duck.
Boxing Day sees us play away at the Don Valley Stadium for our clash with the Millers but I'm not sure I'll be able to make it as I'll probably be in London. At least our home fixture with them is do-able.
The Royal Oak is a lovely old pub just a short walk from London Bridge - well-known to the CAMRA fraternity for the Harveys ales but also for it's exceptional home-cooking.
(left) Martin and Howard tuck in
On my recommendation Howard and Martin had the steak and kidney pudding, a veritable mountain of suet, whilst young Stockdale had the lamb shank with chips (you can take the boy out of Darlo..).
Wise to the size of the pudding and it's affect on the ability to drink anymore afterwards, John and I stuck to beer for a bit longer before eating - especially as the Harveys Sussex Best was in top form. I've not always been a huge fan of this beer as it's often been a bit ordinary elsewhere - at 4% it maybe loses it edge unless kept in tip-top condition.
Talking of beer, one early fixture of note for the DAFTS calendar is the home game with Bournemouth on Sept 19th. That weekend sees the annual Darlington Rhythm ‘N' Brews Beer Festival up at the Arts Centre - full details can be found here.
All being well, local DAFTSperson Tony Waters will have a word with his friend Karim and sort out one of our occasional Indian home-cooking events on the Friday night for those who travel up early. These are well-worth attending - no ordering, simply trying those off-menu dishes that Karim thinks we'll like. And other than the fish-egg curry from a few years ago, he's been spot on every time. I can't wait...