Offside’s Premier League A-Z: X is for Xmas football

X is for Xmas football…

John Varley: The Middlesbrough team hold up a 'Merry Christmas' message to supporters ay Ayresome Park.
John Varley: The Middlesbrough team hold up a ‘Merry Christmas’ message to supporters ay Ayresome Park.

Christmas? In August?! We know, we know, but if the supermarkets are going to hawk their festive wares during the months in which sun cream is still on offer, why not touch upon one of the most special periods in the Premier League calendar?

Either way, Slade wrote and recorded “Merry Xmas Everyone” in the summer months of their 1973 American tour in a swelteringly hot studio, and that song is the embodiment of Christmas for some people. A blog won’t do any harm.

Mark Leech: Tinsel on the stands at Craven Cottage.
Mark Leech: Tinsel on the stands at Craven Cottage.

Similarly, Boxing day football is another national Christmas institution. It’s a day of fixtures filled with family traditions and personal pilgrimages that means so much to so many.

The football usually isn’t half bad either, and while managers and pundits may bemoan the lack of a winter break in English football, it’s hard to dismiss the importance and power of festive football.

Offside: "Allow me" - Graham Leggat picks up the ball for tired Ipswich keeper Roy Bailey after the third of the four goals he scored.
Offside: “Allow me” – Graham Leggat picks up the ball for tired Ipswich keeper Roy Bailey after the third of the four goals he scored.

After all, the sounds, smells and imagery of the whole period is infectious, inside and out of the football stadium of the land. Every year the stands will fill with fans in Santa Claus costumes, seasonal cheer and goodwill to most men, so long as they’re not the opposition, the referee or any other type of persona non-grata, of course.

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Offside is the UK’s leading independent sports photography agency, home to an extensive collection of classic First Division and Premier League pictures as well as other images from across the world of sport. Explore Offside’s unique library at www.welloffside.com.

Follow Offside on Twitter at @welloffside.

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Author: gregianjohnson

Football writer for The Blizzard, FourFourTwo, The Mirror, Squawka and VICE amongst others. Follow me on Twitter at @gregianjohnson.

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