If there is one thing I really miss about english football, it's the fact that while the mere mortals are enjoying a few days off over Christmas and New Year, the football fixture list is full.
In our house, the Boxing day trip to a game is as traditional as turkey for Christmas dinner. It's the males chance to get out of the house, let off a bit of steam, and leave the clearing up and making of leftover sandwiches to the ladies. I know that sounds sexist....but that is how it is. It's never that important what game, although if an Arsenal, QPR or a team followed by one family member, all the better. Like at the theatre, with matinee sessions, football puts on it's entertainment over the holidays. Even as a teenager I can remember going off with my mates to either White Hart Lane or Highbury for the North London derby - boxing day was always derby day.
Now this becomes a problem when the family come down to Spain every second year. There's a void, and we fellas are at loose end on Boxing day. There's only so much wii'ing, so much board game you can play, and so many chocolates or mince pies you can chomp through before you get the itch. And no footy can mean frayed tempers.
It's a shame, but I think that player power will very soon put an end to Christmas and New Year footy in the UK, and players will be able to join their european counterparts in having a nice 3 week break (really, I mean, it's not that they really work hard for the other 49 weeks is it?). I feel this will be rather sad, from a social and family point of view. How many bored henpecked husbands will kick their dog? Plus the fact that that english games soothe the rest of the footy-mad continents football deficit.
This year I was able to attend, with my father, my brother and my son, the first lower level game (League 2 - Hereford United against Port Vale) I have seen in England for some years. Used to segunda B in Spain and it's totally empty stadiums, zero atmosphere and terrible football, it was good to see a reasonably full ground, 500 visiting supporters, good atmosphere, and warm weak tea to go along with the awful football.
Long may we be able to enjoy holiday football - it keeps a lot of men out of a lot of trouble.