TALK about starting with a bang, oh the glee of reporting a Newport County opening day win.
Having covered the club since 2006, this is the first time I’ve witnessed an Exiles triumph on day one of a new campaign and it’s left me feeling a little insecure and exposed.
Namely, by the fact I’ve tipped the Exiles for a top ten finish. Have I sold them short? Will I be as wrong as last term when I said top five and they ended up 19th?
Admittedly it’s very early days and one win does not mean you’re going to challenge for the title, but County looked the real deal at Mansfield.
Not many – if any – other sides will win at Field Mill this term and I’d be astonished if anyone scores four goals in doing so.
County showed great fight and spirit to win out after surrendering a two-goal lead and three of their debutants scored. That’s dreamland.
The Exiles look like a squad with 16 or 17 quality players, most of whom would enhance most squads in this division. Mike Flynn, Tony James and Aaron O’Connor are possibly the best free transfers the club has made since Craig Reid, Danny Rose and Paul Bignot.
I look at the Conference and I don’t see a club capable of doing a Crawley or a Fleetwood and dominating, pushing the rest into a battle for playoff places.
It’s a wide open race where, much like the Championship, form will go out of the window time and again as a blanket of clubs are separated by a point or two.
And with their new ground, new squad, impressive manager and, hopefully, support like never before based on Rodney Parade and Wembley, County can compete in the Conference in a big, big way.
I’m daring to dream, that’s for sure.