At Christmas mainland Europe puts it’s feet up. Footballers, managers, coaches and fans all take a breather, go on holiday and recharge the batteries. All while casting an inquisitive and confused eye across the sea at Britain.
Here Christmas Day is just
another workday for those in the game, albeit one with a slightly
bigger dinner than usual. Training while others are opening presents
and opening the sherry. It has been called an archaic remnant, one from
bygone days which should probably be cast aside in this enlightened era
of modern football. It causes debate and splits opinion. Should English
football have a winter break? It’s a topic which has been around for
many years and shows no sign of going away.
and reasoning are many and on the whole, fairly compelling. Players
play too much these days, the speed of the modern game means constant
fixtures are detrimental to players health, the stress and tiredness it
causes hinders our national team in summer competitions.
And there are plenty more and they are all good arguments. They are however all poppycock!
haven’t yet mad their opinions crystal clear although there have been
plenty of sound bites that indicate should they be asked they would vote
for a break. Kyle Walker of Tottenham tweeted yesterday about having a
rest on the sofa as “games come thick and fast”. Rio Ferdinand talked
about being “in the midst of a tough schedule”. And that is just the
British players. One can only imagine what some of the foreign imports
to our league make of it all.
And there is also no
denying that it will take it’s toll mentally and physically. However as
for saying it hinders the national team then I can’t agree there. Last
season Cristiano Ronaldo played as many games if not more than any
Englishman. Same goes for Messi and the Germans. And that is a statistic
that has been borne out over the last few years.
probably play roughly the same number of games as previously as well.
Or certainly not a lot less and while yes the game is quicker these
days, the pitches, boots, balls and strips are all of a better and
lighter quality too so there is a balance of sorts.
players probably play as much as before also. While there are more
international games and friendlies these days, there is no home
championship and a lot of the players from the big clubs tend not to
play in all the friendlies anyway. Again there is a balance.
competitions see roughly same number of fixtures as in days gone by.
Maybe slightly more in European games, but nationally there’s actually
less and as a lot of the ‘top’ players don’t play in all rounds of the
cup, in some instances a lot less.
But the point amount
Christmas fixtures is there not about players, clubs, governing bodies
or even the almighty dollar provided by TV. They are and always have
been about the fans.
Fans follow their team week in, week
out, up and down the country. Sometimes having to leave at ridiculous
times or arriving back at an equally outrageous hour. All this is done
while juggling working lives and family commitments. And all for an
At Christmas the majority of people
have time off, time to spend with family and not worry about work or
other such worries. Also have time to go to football, sometimes with
children, who can’t make it on other occasions. Even if you don’t go to
a game, you’re more likely to go to a pub and watch it there rather
than stay in the house because you’ve got work in the morning.
deprive fans of this would be yet another slap in the face and would
rubbish the comment that without fans the game will be nothing. Don’t be
surprised though if this debate gets an official airing at some point
in the future!