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Thursday, June 24, 1999 Published at 09:15 GMT 10:15 UK

United kick off at Everton

Manchester United face a testing trip to Mersyside on day one

Manchester United will kick off their defence of the Premiership title with a visit to north-west neighbours Everton.

Roy Cally highlights the big games on the first day of the season
Alex Ferguson's Double-winners travel to Goodison on the first day of the new league season on Saturday August 7.

Newly-promoted Sunderland have been handed an intriguing away game with big-spending London side Chelsea.

Bradford will start their first top-flight season since World War II with a trip to Middlesbrough, while First Division play-off victors Watford host Wimbledon.

Champion opening

The Everton game is just the start of a testing first month for United.

Their first home game, against Sheffield Wednesday, is followed by the visit of David O'Leary's upwardly-mobile Leeds on August 14 and a daunting trip to last season's title rivals Arsenal the next week.

The Gunners, who finished second after winning the Premiership in 1997-98, start their campaign at home, against Martin O'Neill's Leicester.

Relegated Blackburn, who were playing in Europe last season, begin their First Division campaign with a visit from Port Vale.

Charlton host another side with recent Premiership experience, Barnsley, and Nottingham Forest travel to play-off losers Ipswich.

First day fixtures, August 7:

FA Carling Premiership
Arsenal v Leicester
Chelsea v Sunderland
Coventry v Southampton
Everton v Man Utd
Leeds v Derby
Middlesbrough v Bradford
Newcastle v Aston Villa
Sheff Wed v Liverpool
Watford v Wimbledon
West Ham v Tottenham

Nationwide League Division One
Birmingham v Fulham
Blackburn v Port Vale
Charlton v Barnsley
Crystal Palace v Crewe
Grimsby v Stockport
Ipswich v Nottm Forest
Man City v Wolverhampton
Portsmouth v Sheff Utd
QPR v Huddersfield
Tranmere v Bolton
Walsall v Swindon
West Brom v Norwich

Nationwide League Division Two
Blackpool v Wrexham
Bournemouth v Cambridge Utd
Bristol Rovers v Brentford
Bury v Gillingham
Cardiff v Millwall
Chesterfield v Colchester
Notts County v Luton
Oldham v Preston
Reading v Bristol City
Stoke v Oxford Utd
Wigan v Scunthorpe
Wycombe v Burnley

Nationwide League Division Three
Brighton v Mansfield
Carlisle v Leyton Orient
Cheltenham v Rochdale
Chester v Barnet
Exeter v Hull
Halifax v Darlington
Lincoln City v Rotherham
Macclesfield v Northampton
Peterborough v Hartlepool
Shrewsbury v Torquay
Southend v Plymouth
York v Swansea

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