Boxing Day Fixtures
Justin Beattie really doesn’t get the festive football spirit
I really don’t like Boxing Day fixtures. For me, Boxing Day itself is the worst day of the year anyway, what with it being the first of the comedown days from the Christmas festivities and another day closer to having to go back to work.
Trying to achieve anything other than sit in a large chair, find a Carry On film on Channel 5 and nurse a hangover 24 hours after Christmas Day is always a bit of a struggle.
The thought of leaving the house to face watching 90 minutes of football isn’t one that I particularly relish, especially if it is a midday kick-off.
Further, I have several awful memories of matches played on St Stephen’s Day from years gone by.
In the 2000/01 season, for example, there was a Boxing Day match away at Craven Cottage. Oh, that was a proper belter that one. Standing on a cold terrace I witnessed a whopping 5-0 loss with a clueless-looking Carlton Palmer running about in midfield. Graham Taylor decided to retire at the end of that season and I always suspect it was this match that planted that particular thought in his mind.
The previous year (1999/00) we were in the Premier League and playing Spurs away. Although there were very few positive results that season generally, watching David Ginola tear us a new one in a 4-0 mauling made the tortured car journey/parking experience of White Hart Lane all the more painful.
In more recent times, watching an Eden Hazard masterclass in 2018 might have been entertaining for the visitors but the home fans must have been wishing they were at home tackling that large pile of washing up they’d not bothered with the previous day.
The 26 December clash against Wolves in 2014 ended up with us losing 1-0. To make it worse Watford legend Kenny Jackett was managing the opposition that day.
To really top it off, these matches invariably clash with some kind of seasonal family gathering that you arrive late to with everyone asking you ‘How did Watford get on?’ Pass me the Baileys, someone.
So no, I don’t enjoy Boxing Day matches. I think a midwinter break is a fine idea if it means scrapping this particular fixture. Perhaps we can start matches again for the FA Cup third round in January, by which time the decorations are down, the players look a bit more up for it and the hangover of Christmas is long gone.
PS: I’ve just returned from Watford v Millwall. I rest my case!