Ghosts Of Christmases Past
Those at the top at New Year usually win the league, those in the relegation spots usually get relegated etc, etc. It’s one of many football clichés that the Christmas period shapes how a season unfolds.
With games coming thick and fast whilst the rest of the country is wedged and bloated on the settee and either on holiday or shivering in their jumpers and woolly hat with the heating off (Happy Austere Christmas everybody), there are undeniably crucial points to be won and lost during the feast of festive football. And by the time the hectic period is over, when the managers and players have stoppped bemoaning the lack of downtime in the football calendar at Christmas, and the commentators have started spouting (or should it be ‘sprouting’?) clichés about the ‘magic’ of the FA Cup 3rd round, the league programme will be into its second half. In seasons which aren’t interrupted part way through by a World Cup, that is.
So, sporting Santa hat and gaudily patterned Christmas sweater, I’m about to delve into history to find out more about festive football and, more specifically, some Christmases that have befallen Liverpool FC over the years.
There was a time, back in the day, when there even used to be football on Christmas Day, as much of a Christmas Day staple as the Queen's Speech (that’s gone now too) and crap cracker puns. There would be a full programme of fixtures on Christmas Day and, usually, another on Boxing Day, quite often the reverse fixture to the one you’d played on Christmas Day. Two games in two days - and we complain now? Mind you, there wasn’t European football or the League Cup to fit in back then, and the game today is so much faster, though less brutally physical. And the pitches now are so much better than the quagmires or frozen tundra that they used to play on of yore.
The question is, was it all festive fun or just a freezing farce?
As ever, context is all.
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