Festive Football

25 12 2009

 It just wouldn’t be the same without football around christmas time, they go together like Turkey and cranberry. Once upon a time they used to play football on christmas day as well.

One of the most famous examples of this comes from the trenches of World War One during the christmas day truce in 1914. Although football’s centrality to this day may be a little more myth than reality. Although teams always  played on christmas day they haven’t done so since 1965 in England and 1976 in Scotland. Even more remarkably they used to play the return fixture on boxing day in England as well.  Now I’m no militant Methodist but this seems a little harsh.

You couldn’t help but be reminded of the slightly unfair situation if you managed to watch sky sports news today. There were countless images of footballers in training, countless interviews with players and managers explaining why it’s difficult but that’s football and why they can’t enjoy the food like everyone else and that they have never known anything else. As I write this I can hear my friends say; “Well they get paid loads so they shouldn’t complain mate” but then we must remember that footballers are human too.

Pro footballers tend to be roughly between the ages 17 and 36 so if they do have children the children are likely to be young. Why should footballers and their families be denied a proper christmas? Anybody that had a parent who worked over the christmas period when they were younger will know the feeling that christmas isn’t the same without a part of your family being present. Footballers are not even essential employees for the functioning of society, why should they have to work on this day?

To judge from the coverage on Sky Sports News you’d think that every moment of every day is to be used scientifically in order to help a team play better. If a moment is wasted then by the end of the season you get the feeling that all of the lost points will destroy the ozone layer or something. Football is in the thrall of percentage technicians, people who spend all day analysing football to ensure that you are that all-important 2% better at throws in than the other team. These bloody people are killing top-level football, Sam Allardyce and all his motivational crap for example. 

If football were actually scientific Robbie Savage would have evolved. Let them have the day off, football is not that important.

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