Monday 10 December 2018

Football on Christmas Day

Football on boxing day is a British tradition that dates back till before most of us were born, but many people may not realise, particularly the younger generation, is that once upon football on Christmas Day was also just as common, and teams would often play matches two days running.

The first Christmas Day League match took place on December 25th 1889 when Aston Villa beat Preston North End. Christmas Day fixtures soon became well a regular fixture, and in England and Scotland were played up and down the country each year on 25th December. In England this continued the end of 1950's when a lack a transport and many people preferring to spend Christmas Day with their families saw teams increasingly reluctant to play matches on that day. In Scotland many teams continued to play matches on Christmas Day well into the 1970's but ultimately the Christmas Day fixture list north of border suffered the same fate as it had done in England.

In 1983 Brentford tried to revive the Christmas Day tradition by scheduling their Third Division match at home to Wimbledon for 25th December, but supporter protests ultimately saw the match moved to Christmas Eve and the experiment has not been tried since.

Finally when mentioning Christmas Day football one must not forget Christmas Day of 1914 during World War 1 when a truce between British and German solders occurred along the western front and which near Armentieres in France saw many soldiers on both sides leave their trenches to play football together. Sadly after Christmas the football stopped and the war continued.

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