It has been a tradition in the English footballing calendar for there to be a post-Christmas feast of Boxing Day football, since forever. Then again all the games used to kick off at three o’clock on a Saturday and this “tradition” went up in smoke. Could this be the latest piece of footballing culture set to fall? Is playing these matches just an unnecessary hassle? Aren’t we all scrooges for making the footballers not able to enjoy Christmas, sweating on a match the next day?

The fixture certainly is unnecessary but the problem is more widespread. The issue is the fixture congestion and the fatigue players have, due to the cramming of games. TV companies have a ludicrous monopoly over when football is played to crucify teams and they show no sign of relenting. There is high demand to see Premier League games on their channels. Boxing Day may be sacred to the fans that see the game as part of their festive celebrations, but maybe football needs to take a long term view, rather than being so fussy over one day.

This is not to suit our Premier League prima-donnas. I don’t feel sorry for the footballers one jot having to make a sacrifice of not eating and drinking too much as many of us up and down the country does on Christmas day. As fans we expect footballers to be at the peak of their powers because they are paid so much and we pay so much to see them. In an ideal world expense would be a word not associated with football but sadly it is. The one cost the players have is maintaining their fitness during the season, Christmas included. The players must believe in Santa every time they receive an exuberant wage slip, so no crocodile tears are needed here.

This being said the footballers do leave the festive period with a hangover just like many of us have on New Year’s Day. Their hangover is one of fatigue, rather than being alcohol induced. A winter break midway through the season is essential if we are to avoid this. In a typical stiff upper lip English attitude we continually ignore the success of a break in other leagues. It keeps the league fresh and would provide teams with a renewed impetus for the rest of the campaign.

Fabio Capello regularly called for one in his time as England boss and Premier League bosses seem heavily in favour of a winter break away from football being introduced. Paul Lambert said the theatre of it in Germany was fantastic as the players could re-group. Then as the campaign got closer to re-starting there is a mini pre-season a build-up and a buzz for the season to kick off again. The footballers don’t get the whole time off either. They still train indoors and work on their fitness.

The Premier League is a product which needs to be maintained and if it goes stale we are simply cheating the fans of good football. There will obviously be some who will moan about the thought of no football for a three to six week spell, but maybe it is time we consider that attitude to be selfish. It would help the England national team for starters. There is a beautiful state of the art national centre in Burton we have finally got. Would it be so crazy to give Roy Hodgson a week to work with a national pool of the top players there in the middle of the season, so he can see how his squad members function in full swing and then he can know how to tailor to their needs? It would be much easier for him to see how what levels his players are at when they are tuned into the season. This is preferred to seeing them as dishevelled messes at the end of the season, with their minds away with the fairies waiting for the next campaign.

It could also help provide a much needed boost for the FA cup, if we say put a 6 week period aside where only cup games are allowed to be played. This would shift all focus to our country’s oldest cup competition which is desperately in need of being resuscitated back to life. This can also make the league a fairer playing field. The teams punished by Europa League runs could recuperate and have a fighting chance of recovering. The teams decimated with injuries would have time to recover.

Germany, Spain and Italy continue to flourish on the international stage because they have adapted to the modern demands of the game and give their players a rest. Is it about time that we let go of the notion of tradition and avoided the unnecessary fixture congestion at all costs.

 

What do you think?

Sign in with Facebook and be
entered for a chance to
WIN THE NEW ENGLAND KIT

Terms and Conditions

Why?

  • Sign up in 2 seconds
  • Use your FB profile image
  • No need to remember a password
  • See which of your friends would like this

Note: We don't post to your wall

Login

Comment without logging in

You will need to fill this out each time to comment so why not quickly login with Facebook!

*

What do you think?

Sign in with Facebook and be
entered for a chance to
WIN THE NEW ENGLAND KIT

Terms and Conditions

Why login with Facebook?

  • Sign up in 2 seconds
  • Use your FB profile image
  • No need to remember a password
  • See which of your friends would like this

Note: We don't post to your wall


  • Billy
    1 year ago

    Boxing day football is footballing history its what we do leave it alone and lets get on with it !

    Reply
  • Rich
    1 year ago

    I agree we should learn from the other nations and scrap this boxing day farce.

    Reply
  • Warrington Blue
    1 year ago

    If we had a home game on boxing day I would be there. No chance of going up to the North East. I think that more should be done to make the boxing day games as local as possible to save the travelling times for teams and supporters.

    Stopping the Boxing day game just moves the congestion on. Of course if you could scrap a useless National game it would work.

    Reply
    • Tameside Blue
      1 year ago

      I agree, make the Boxing Day games less travelling distances.
      I’m lucky, got a ticket for Sunderland but I aint going to Norwich on Saturday. Ridiculous at this time of year.
      But as for scrapping boxing day games, NO
      Next subject

      Reply
    • Andy
      1 year ago

      You’re fortunate to have local ‘away’ games – and not prepared to travel to the north-east? The shortest journey for the two north-east teams, other than with each other, is to the Manchester clubs now that PL football is defunct in Yorkshire.

      Reply
  • porter
    1 year ago

    Supporters rarely live within walking distance of grounds nowadays. The catalyst for this being the Arsenal West ham match cancelled for non footballing reasons. No trains to London from the home counties , No tube running in London and Hackney and Islington council unwilling to relax parking restrictions . With a large percentage of ticket holders living over 30 miles from the ground makes this fixture unfortunately impracticable. A mid winter break would not be necessary if the Christmas /New year period , was a rest period for players and spectators alike.

    Reply
  • Andy
    1 year ago

    The holiday fixtures are extremely popular for fans, just check average gates across the season (and I don’t just mean those few clubs at the top of the Premier). Many people living away from home return at this time and attending the game is a hugely enjoyable opportunity.
    ‘Football’ (not quite sure what that term encompasses) should remember that players are the servants of the fans and not the other way round. Paying spectators pay their wages as clubs are quick to realise when attendances fall.
    As for the National team set-up – er, who’s bothered? Most fans I know have completely lost interest, especially in the ‘international breaks’ – they are just annoying.

    Reply
  • Nick
    1 year ago

    Boxing Day football should always be played, it’s traditional and part of the Christmas period

    Reply

Related Articles:

THREE transfer 'ins and outs' at Chelsea this January?
The top 10 League Cup Semi-Final goals
Arsenal eye Bundesliga goal-getter
Liverpool's current winning streak in numbers
Tottenham starlet vows to repay Sherwood’s faith