Boxing Day football isn’t so much a tradition as an institution in England.
In decades gone by, before the rise of the Premier League and decent transport links, the day after Christmas Day could be relied upon to offer fans a festive derby match against a great local rival.
Yet even without this additional fuel to warm up the late December football calendar, the unrelenting nature of the month’s fixture list means that Boxing Day has come to be regarded by many as the defining match of the Christmas period.
While it’s a busy time for the coaches and players, with games crammed in to make the most of the seasonal leave and holidays enjoyed by match-goers not needed at their workplace, it’s in many ways the pinnacle of the festive football experience.
Boxing Day has long been a special day for football fans, whereby families could be attracted to the terraces and stands, even before the more friendly rethinking of how to present and supply the game to punters in the mid-90s.
Today, dads, lads, mums, families, sisters, sons and so and son can be found at stadiums across the country week-in, week-out, but the more accessible feel of games on December 26th remains.
Perhaps it’s also again due to the fact that so many people have nothing better to do, with work sidelined to make way for the seasonal spirit, and festive fun-seekers attracted by the somewhat familial atmosphere of a football crowd?
As well as the aforementioned derby factor, there’s also usually plenty of goals scored on this special day of football, which just so happens to mark one of the pressure points of the pre-run-in assault course that title-chasers and relegation fighters must navigate.
Whatever the reasons, Boxing Day 2014 is set to be another grand day out for the regulars match goers and traditional pilgrims who want to head down to watch their team for an excuse to bond with friends and family this December.
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.