This Christmas Day, after ingesting uncomfortably large amounts of food and drug-level alcohol, people across the United States can sit back on their couches and indulge in sports.
If three NFL games, including the LA Rams hosting the Denver Broncos, don’t get you, maybe three NBA games, especially the LA Lakers, might do.
But not for England’s Premier League fans. There will be no match on this December 25th, as it has not been held in the last 57 years. The last men’s professional football played on Christmas Day in England was his in 1965, with the most recent being played in Scotland in 1971.
Once upon a time, Christmas Day football was as great a tradition in England as it was in America. Like many things, it was inherently born out of boredom. At the time, football was primarily a working-class sport, and holidays traditionally included pantomimes, concerts, film screenings, and other activities for the working class. It was the day when a public event was held.
Professor Martin Jones, author of the book Christmas and the Englishman, explains to the BBC: at home. “
The first English league game was played on Christmas Day in 1889. That was when Preston, who the previous season had won the title without losing a single match, was essentially Liverpool vs. Manchester City that day, Aston he faced Villa. High-priced games were frequent at Christmas, especially the local derby, and the club did not hesitate to cram as many games as possible during the festive season.
It was not uncommon for teams to play three days in a row, and Christmas Eve and Boxing Day were often allotted for matches. To ensure fairness, games were often mirrored, with Team A playing Team B on his 25th, with Team B hosting Team A the following day. For example, in 1913 Liverpool hosted Manchester City at Christmas, winning 4–2, losing a return on his boxing day, and the next day with Blackburn he drew 3–3.
In fact, Everton have played three times in two days. On Christmas morning 1888 they played a Lancashire Cup match against Blackburn Park Road, followed by a friendly against Ulster FC, before completing the triptych on the 26th with another friendly against Bootle.
This caused occasional problems, such as when Blackburn were due to play local rivals Darwen on Christmas Day, but were due to travel to Wolverhampton Wanderers the following afternoon. The latter was seen as the more important match, so Rovers rested half of their first-choice players, forcing an insulted Darwen to do the same. Crowds from both teams did not respond to this and rioted, eventually causing the game to be postponed. Reported. Human nature.
Perhaps the most famous Christmas game was played far from a football stadium, far from England. of spontaneous games. The next day they returned to killing each other, but the fact that hostilities ceased even for a day is often seen as an example of the enduring power of football.
By the late 1950s, the popularity of Christmas Day football was waning. For one thing, public transportation has become less popular and train and bus drivers have taken the day off, making it more difficult to get to. People had other things to do. That means you didn’t necessarily have to rely on trips to football for entertainment.
Additionally, the introduction of floodlights has allowed clubs to host matches on weekday nights, eliminating the need to cram games on public holidays. The final round of the First Division was held in his 1957. Sheffield Wednesday and Preston drew his 4-4, Blackpool beat Leicester his 5-1 and Chelsea beat Portsmouth his 7-4.
Only three top division games were held on Christmas Day the following year, and by 1959 there was only one. It was in Blackpool, where the tradition lasted a little longer to provide entertainment for vacationers at seaside resorts.
It was here that the final English League Christmas Day game was played in 1965, when Blackburn visited Bloomfield Road. A brass band played carols before the match and Blackpool won his 4–2 victory, with Aramball involved in several goals. The following summer, he was assigned to the England team that won the World Cup.
Since then, England has not played football on the 25th. In Scotland, where Christmas was on a Saturday, he continued until 1971, and in Northern Ireland to this day. The Steel and Sons Cup finals are traditionally played on Christmas Day with the exception of Sunday. So this year, Dunmurry Rec FC played Bangor on Christmas Eve. If you want to take your football itch away, there are matches in Turkey, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Azerbaijan and more.
There have been attempts to revive old traditions, notably in 1983, when Brentford proposed to hold its Division 3 match against Wimbledon at 11:00 am on 25th December, saying, “On Christmas Day my wife It revives the old tradition of my husband going to soccer while I cook.” But the Woke Brigade of West London did not blow its sexist horn, so after some protests the plan was shelved.
Few have tried again because there is essentially no appetite for it these days. Football fans tend to be creatures of habit, and in English football there is perhaps no greater habit than boxing his day football. Dec. 26 is the day he spends the day packing up and heading to the stadium, or chilling out with chocolate and leftover liquor from the night before and watching TV.
On this Boxing Day, you can watch Premier League football almost exclusively from 12:30pm to around 10:00pm. It’s been that way for years, but no one, from authorities to broadcasters to fans, especially teams and players, is keen to change that.
Old traditions die and new traditions are born. Live sports on Christmas Day are rare in the UK, but there are likely to be some British football fans who look to the Atlantic with envy.
(Photo above: Alex Puntling via Getty Images)