Our local clubs have just finished their ‘gruelling’ Christmas fixture list in their respective leagues and the cup competitions.
However the reality is that many clubs’ fixtures fell to wet winter weather leaving many local sides with a possible four matches in the space of just nine or 10 days at end-of-season.
The Christmas fixture list has long been a tradition in all levels of the beautiful game, with a lot of fans relishing the chance to watch so many of their team’s games in such a short space of time, but when the weather strikes the scheduled matches become a frustrating fixture backlog which can seriously damage a team’s season.
And every year the same debate arises: Should England have a winter break?
While we are pretty much one of the only countries in Europe that doesn’t have a winter break, the question arises is that such a bad thing? The Christmas fixtures have become something of an English tradition, and English traditions are hard to shake off.
Despite the negatives of the fixture backlog, the lack of a break can benefit clubs too, especially helping financially. With such a concentrated amount of games, it helps add a few extra to those upcoming transfer budgets or just keeps them ticking over during a difficult period off the pitch.
However, this is not always the case, as attendances can be a lot lower at times, due to them being so close to Christmas.
But the chance to make money is there for the clubs and when it works, many clubs happily harvest the benefits.
One argument for a winter break that does interest me is the fact that it burns players out, with some saying that without a winter break, the players are worked too hard and get too fatigued, which can then have huge consequences on the club’s form.
I can see where they’re coming from, as the amount of fixtures in such a short time can be difficult for a player. However, the argument loses its power when we consider the large amounts of money paid in the Premier League.
It’s a debate that can go on and on, round and round, but for me the simple short term fix is this – introduce a two week break over Christmas and New Year for all clubs below step two of the Non-League pyramid, as those above should simply be able to afford to cope.
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