THEY reckon you couldn’t make it up, what’s happened to Hucknall Town this summer.
So it is with supreme irony that the 2011/12 fixture-list, released on Wednesday, paired them on the opening day of the season with a team named after a mythical character and a ‘Marvel Comics’ supervillain.
Romulus are the team. Legend has it that he built Rome. Maybe he could re-invent himself and rebuild The Yellows.
For now, his reincarnation as an Evo-Stik League, Division One South football side, based in the West Midlands town of Sutton Coldfield, will have to do.
And financial crisis notwithstanding, Town will travel to Coles Lane to take on The Roms on Saturday August 13 for their first match since relegation last term from the top flight.
Managed by Richard Evans, who is also the club’s chairman (Tommy Brookbanks, please note), Romulus were only formed as recently as 1979 — and initially as a Sunday club.
But they have made excellent progress in the last ten years, producing professionals such as Bolton Wanderers defender Zat Knight and ex-England striker Darius Vassell.
And last season, they finished a respectable tenth in the Division One South table, fully 12 points clear of 11th.
Town’s first home match of their new amateur era will be four days later when they entertain Leek Town, who struggled last season in 16th spot.
Then they welcome Brigg Town to Watnall Road on Saturday August 20. This will be followed by trips to Coalville Town and Newcastle Town before a Bank Holiday Monday derby at home to old Notts Alliance sparring partners, Rainworth Miners Welfare.
The Yellows make the return trip to Rainworth on New Year Bank Holiday Monday (January 2), while their other holiday derbies, on Boxing Day and Easter Monday, are tasty clashes against newly-formed Ilkeston FC, managed by ex-Hucknall chief Kevin Wilson.
Rainworth, who only just avoided relegation last term, also provide the opposition for Town in the Preliminary Round of the FA Trophy, which kicks off on Saturday October 8. If they win that, they face a trip to Leek two weeks later.
The early rounds of the FA Cup have also been drawn, with Brookbanks’s team pitted against either Holbeach United or Lincoln Moorlands Railway in the Preliminary Round on Saturday September 3.
Both clubs hail from one level below Town — Lincolnshire outfit Holbeach play in the Premier Division of the United Counties League and Moorlands in the Northern Counties East League’s Premier Division.
Victory in that tie would be rewarded by an away game in the first of four qualifying rounds against one of last season’s Evo-Stik Premier rivals, Matlock Town.
The release of the fixture list has been met with muted bemusement by officials, players and fans alike, given the club’s off-the-field woes.
As Town ran out for their third pre-season friendly last night (Thursday) -- a hastily-re-arranged clash against Retford United — it was not known whether Brookbanks or any of his staff and players would still be at the club come kick-off day in four weeks’ time.
The manager believes some players would be prepared to stay, and play unpaid, if he himself and assistant Gary Stones carried on.
“There is a lot of loyalty towards us because we have been managing a long time,” said Brookbanks. “There is good camaraderie among the players.
“But it would all be a big ask. There are a lot of hours involved — training and travelling, as well as playing, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays every week. It’s not as if we just turn up to play someone around the corner.
“I also have our other teams to consider too. They were initiated by us and the staff were brought in by us.
“I have 16 members of staff, so I have to take their thoughts on board. There is a hell of a lot to talk about.
“Just when we thought we were getting somewhere, we have been knocked back again.
“I gave up a lot to come to this football club but I have probably lost the lot now.
“My spell in charge has been simply to pick up the pieces from previous mistakes.”
Sat 13 Romulus (A)
Wed 17 LEEK TOWN (H)
Sat 20 BRIGG TOWN (H)
Tue 23 Coalville Town (A)
Sat 27 Newcastle Town (A)
Mon 29 RAINWORTH MW (H)
Sat 3 FA CUP (Preliminary Round) HOLBEACH UNITED or LINCOLN MOORLANDS (H)
Sat 10 CARLTON TOWN (H)
Tue 13 Grantham Town (A)
Sat 17 FA CUP (First Qualifying Round) Matlock Town (A)
Sat 24 Kidsgrove Athletic (A)
Sat 1 SUTTON COLDFIELD TOWN (H) OR FA CUP (Second Qualifying Round)
Wed 5 NEW MILLS (H)
Sat 8 FA TROPHY (Preliminary Round) RAINWORTH MW (A)
Sat 15 Carlton Town (A) OR FA CUP (Third Qualifying Round)
Sat 22 FA TROPHY (First Qualifying Round) Leek Town (A)
Wed 26 STAMFORD (H)
Sat 29 Belper Town (A) OR FA CUP (Fourth Qualifying Round)
Wed 2 Shepshed Dynamo (A)
Sat 5 MARKET DRAYTON TOWN (H) OR FA TROPHY (Second
Sat 12 LINCOLN UNITED (H) OR FA CUP (First Round Proper)
Sat 19 Quorn (A)
Mon 21 New Mills (A)
Sat 26 KIDSGROVE ATHLETIC (H) OR FA TROPHY (Third Qualifying Round)
Wed 30 GRANTHAM TOWN (H)
Sat 3 Sutton Coldfield Town (A)
Sat 10 Loughborough Dynamo (A) OR FA TROPHY (First Round Proper)
Sat 17 GOOLE AFC (H)
Sat 24 No Match
Mon 26 ILKESTON FC (H)
Mon 2 Rainworth MW (A)
Sat 7 SHEFFIELD FC (H)
Sat 14 Leek Town (A)
Sat 21 ROMULUS (H)
Sat 28 Brigg Town (A)
Sat 4 Stamford (A)
Sat 11 BELPER TOWN (H)
Sat 18 Market Drayton Town (A)
Sat 25 SHEPSHED DYNAMO (H)
Sat 3 QUORN (H)
Sat 10 No Match
Sat 17 Lincoln United (A)
Sat 24 COALVILLE TOWN (H)
Sat 31 Sheffield FC (A)
Sat 7 NEWCASTLE TOWN (H)
Mon 9 Ilkeston FC (A)
Sat 14 Goole AFC (A)
Sat 21 LOUGHBOROUGH
Sat 28 No Match
FIXTURES ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE BECAUSE OF CUP COMPETITIONS AND BAD WEATHER.