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EFL: Pre-season – Fulham and Newcastle primed for season opener, Stevenage impress and clubs honour English football history

1 August 2016

It's finally here; the EFL season kicks off this Friday night after a 10-week break, as competitive football returns to the lives of millions of fans up and down the country.

Fulham and Newcastle United are the two clubs prized with launching the new campaign, in a game that will be televised live on Sky Sports on Friday 5th August 2016.

TV Games: Click here to see a full list of confirmed Sky Sports matches

And the pair ended their pre-season preparations in ideal fashion at the weekend, each netting three goals in their respective victories.

Fulham saw off Crystal Palace 3-1 at Craven Cottage, with Sone Aluko, Matt Smith and Floyd Ayite all getting on the scoresheet, while Dwight Gayle and Jack Colback hit goals for Newcastle as they beat Dutch side Vitesse 3-2 at St James' Park.

It means that the two clubs combined have suffered just one pre-season defeat this summer, adding intrigue to what is already set to be a thrilling opening fixture.

FULL TIME Newcastle United 3-2 Vitesse -

United end pre-season unbeaten... next up: Fulham (a)!

— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) July 30, 2016
Stam and Swift unveiled at  Madejski Stadium

Reading played their first pre-season match at the Madejski Stadium on Friday, in what was a night of firsts at the Royals' home ground.

Manager Jaap Stam made his debut in the dugout as his side drew 1-1 against AFC Bournemouth, while midfielder John Swift netted in his first game in front of his new support.

Swift signed for Reading after leaving Chelsea this summer, and believes his new club are now ready for their opening game against Preston North End this weekend.

Stevenage impress again

Elsewhere, Stevenage continued their strong preparations for the new season, recording their fourth win from seven games as they thrashed Milton Keynes Dons 4-1 at the Lamex Stadium.

Matt Godden struck twice as Jake Hyde and Tom Conlon rounded off a promising result for Boro, who host Sky Bet League Two newcomers Crewe Alexandra this Saturday.

English football history remembered

It was an iconic weekend for two great English footballing stories, with EFL clubs remembering them in a variety of ways.

Last Saturday was the 50th anniversary of England's World Cup Final victory over West Germany at Wembley, and Sunday marked seven years since the passing of Sir Bobby Robson.

Ipswich Town honoured former boss Sir Alf Ramsey, who oversaw England during the successful 1966 campaign, with a wreath at his Portman Road statue, while Newcastle United paid tribute on social media to their former boss Robson.

#itfc will lay a wreath at Sir Alf Ramsey's statue today to mark the 50th anniversary of England's World Cup triumph

— Ipswich Town FC (@Official_ITFC) July 30, 2016

On this day in 2009, Sir Bobby Robson sadly passed away.

Today, his legacy lives on. Follow @SBRFoundation.

— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) July 31, 2016

Don't miss it!

The 2016/17 EFL season gets under way this weekend, and we'll be covering it live across our social media channels from Friday night through to Sunday afternoon. Be sure to follow and use the hashtag #EFLKickOff.


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