Christmas football: a time for moaning managers
And so another festive season is upon us, which means Christmas football and a queue of whinging managers.
The Christmas football fixtures are a highlight of the sporting calendar. When fixtures are released, fans up and down the country are immediately drawn to who their team is playing on Boxing Day and beyond.
It’s a period packed with matches that more people can watch because they’re not in the office. This year in particular, there is likely to be even more of us getting sloshed in front of the TV, even if they are still ‘working’. But festive football is also prime time for Premier League managers to go into complaints overdrive.
Lining up for the usual condemnation are Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp, Manchester United’s Ole Gunnar Solskjær, Pep Guardiola of Man City, and Jose Mourinho, who never needs Christmas to offer a soundbite veiled in annoyance.
Football fixtures over Christmas are nothing new, certainly not in the UK. Other top European leagues like the Bundesliga and Serie A routinely feature a break over the winter months. Indeed, the crammed pandemic-affected calendar has meant England has shelved its own planned winter break this time around.
While this non-stop football feast is a boon for supporters, it has also led to predictable outcry.
Granted, managers moan all-year round. But when the festive action comes round, there seems even less cheer to be had.
Annoyance generally centres on the volume of matches over the amount of days. Wearing players out is a common thread. Chief moaners are usually bosses of the most successful sides, fighting on multiple fronts. It’s the old vicious circle – more success equals more matches, more money, leads to more moaning.
Recent data on BBC Sport showed which teams will get less rest over the Christmas football period. What is quite enlightening is that it seems relatively uniform across the league. Four of the so-called Big Six are towards the end of most rest. Yet they’re the biggest moaners despite having the biggest squads.
Yes, consideration should always be made for player welfare. But it’s also a money-making entertainment industry. You never hear fans complaining there’s too much football over Christmas. We pay for the product so want to see more of it. It helps us get through our leftover turkey sandwiches.