Offside’s Christmas countdown: Decking the halls

Decking the halls. All images via welloffside.comand welloffside.photoshelter.com.

The annual advance of Christmas can be seen in the sudden appearance of lights, tinsel, festive trees and themed scenery in various public spaces around the country.

Mark Leech - Christmas decorations at Craven Cottage.
Mark Leech – Christmas decorations at Craven Cottage.

High streets glitter with trinkets hung from lamp posts and over pedestrianised rows of shops, while destinations such as Blackpool switch on their famous luminations to bring in the punters.

Simon Stacpoole - A general view of the Etihad Stadium decorated for Christmas.
Simon Stacpoole – A general view of the Etihad Stadium decorated for Christmas.

Football stadiums are no different, with teams and club owners keen to bring some of the seasonal spirit into their surroundings to lift the crowds and put a festive spring in their players’ steps.

Mark Leech - A Christmas tree can be seen behind an Arsenal emblazoned flag outside the Emirates Stadium.
Mark Leech – A Christmas tree can be seen behind an Arsenal emblazoned flag outside the Emirates Stadium.

Even in the midst of a relegation battle, a Christmasy mood can go some way to lighting up the atmosphere, if only temporarily for a few days in December.

Simon Stacpoole - The statue of former Everton player Dixie Dean is adorned with a Christmas jumper and scarf.
Simon Stacpoole – The statue of former Everton player Dixie Dean is adorned with a Christmas jumper and scarf.

Banners go up, well-suited bands appear on the pitch and new accessories pop up on stands, awnings and boardings, as if to leave no one in doubt about the time of year.

In years gone by, the teams themselves would take to the field acting as human bunting to offer seasonal greetings to their fans.

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.
John Varley - Leeds United players wish their fans a Merry Christmas on the pitch at Elland Road.
John Varley – Leeds United players wish their fans a Merry Christmas on the pitch at Elland Road.

You’d be hard pressed to see too many of the detached millionaires that dominate the elite levels of the game take part in such silliness these days.

David Wilkinson - The Fulham dancers, dressed in Christmas outfits, perform the half time entertainment.
David Wilkinson – The Fulham dancers, dressed in Christmas outfits, perform the half time entertainment.

However, as evidenced by the number of players suited up in Christmas jumpers on Instagram, modern footballers are far from adverse to the charms of the festivities taking place.

Mark Leech - Robert Pires looks at a model of Elvis dressed as Father Christmas.
Mark Leech – Robert Pires looks at a model of Elvis dressed as Father Christmas.

Who knows what creative additions may be spotted on the buildings of football grounds and other stadiums this December, as sporting occasions seek to get into the spirit of things?

Marc Atkins - The Swindon Christmas pantomime is advertised in mid July on one of the stands at the County Ground.
Marc Atkins – The Swindon Christmas pantomime is advertised in mid July on one of the stands at the County Ground.

Stay tuned for more blogs from Offside counting down the days until Christmas, and be sure to visit welloffside.com and welloffside.photoshelter.com for more information and access to our picture archives.

Advertisements

Author: gregianjohnson

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

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s