It is near that time of the year again. The time of year when millions of people celebrate and the English football calendar goes berserk.
Between Boxing Day and January 4th, there will be three sets of full fixtures played, 30 games in ten frantic days of football fun.
Even though this festive football brings more work, I wouldn’t have it any other way! The festive schedule is now part of English football tradition. The festive period would not be the same without it for most fans of English clubs.
European leagues set for winter breaks
The German and Italian leagues will play their last games of 2016 over the next few nights, while Spanish teams will also take a break from La Liga action until the games recommence on January 7th.
The Italian Serie A returns around the same time as the Spanish top-flight, with the Bundesliga making its comeback the following weekend. To continental Europe, the idea of playing at Christmas time seems to be an alien concept.
Foreign bosses and players who ply their trade in the Premier League seem to be shocked at first with the hectic schedule. However, the crème de la crème thrive on the sheer adrenaline and up their game.
While some of their international teammates are enjoying the holiday season with their families or sunning themselves in some far flung holiday destination, Premier League stars are fighting it out for points in a crucial period of the English season.
Exciting for the fans
It may mean more work for the players, staff and the sports media, but it is fantastic for the fans. I remember as a child being so excited to be going the football twice in the space of a couple of days some years, depending on how the fixtures fell of course. It was like an extra Christmas present because even as a child I was obsessed with football.
It is that sort of excitement that makes football. As you mature and grow some of the excitement may give way to tedium, but the child inside of you will always look forward to that feast of football over Christmas.
The age of saturated football television means that it may not mean going to the match anymore. However, at least you can sit around with your some of your friends and relatives and enjoy the football, win, lose or draw.
Critics of the festive football feast will complain that it harms England’s chances of winning at international level and blah, blah, blah. However, to be blunt the Premier League is a league of nations.
Most teams are full of foreign players, so the busy festive schedule should not matter a jot to the chances of the England national team. Anyway, the likes of Bobby Moore, Geoff Hurst and Nobby Stiles did not have a winter break and they won the World Cup in ‘’66. They never moaned about fatigue.
I believe a lack of good enough players is hampering England’s national team, not the fact that the poor darlings don’t have a Christmas break. Most bosses will rotate their squads over the next few weeks so that these gods of men are not over-tired in the New Year.
I have to admit the festive period does release the inner-child in me, despite my hectic schedule. A winter break has been discussed by many in and outside of the FA. It has never come to pass and I will love the next few weeks of football, just love it (sorry Kevin Keegan).
Should English football have a winter break?
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