It’s snow joke – a win­ter break tops my Xmas wish list

Midweek Sport - - TV GUIDE -

SO the Bri­tish cli­mate has fi­nally re­mem­bered it’s win­ter. The scarves are out, hats are on and it’s snow­ing, blow­ing a gale or piss­ing down.

What a per­fect time for the busiest part of foot­ball’s fix­ture list...

Paolo Di Canio (right) has al­ready bowed to the in­evitable and men­tioned two words that al­ways fall out of man­agers’ mouths at this time of year: WIN­TER BREAK.

The Swin­don boss raged: “I have some ex­pe­ri­ence in foot­ball. Christ­mas time is com­ing and for some of the play­ers it’s un­usual to play over the Christ­mas pe­riod.

“Maybe they would like a win­ter break, they’re think­ing about shop­ping, or­gan­is­ing some­where to go next week­end for two or three days. That is typ­i­cal.”

Typ­i­cal – and un­der­stand­able. Be­cause what makes foot­ballers dif­fer­ent from ev­ery­one else?

Okay, they’ve got wal­lets big­ger than Steve Bruce’s head but they’re still hu­man. Like the rest of us, their minds will be on fam­ily, fes­tiv­i­ties, presents and piss-ups. nstead they’ve got to live like monks and haul their ar­ses through a ridicu­lous play­ing sched­ule that goes against med­i­cal sci­ence.

But if club cof­fers are bulging and TV com­pa­nies are laugh­ing all the way to the bank, who gives a f***, eh?

Fans might risk life and limb to beat ice and snow to freeze off their plums and cheer on their he­roes – but since when did they mat­ter?

The show must go on – af­ter all, it’s tra­di­tion.

But then, tak­ing your son to the match was tra­di­tion. Kick-offs at

Ithree bells on a Satur­day were tra­di­tion. And be­ing able to watch the odd game on the box with­out fork­ing out a for­tune was tra­di­tion.

Now all that’s gone out of the win­dow, why not con­sign this crazy prac­tice of footie at Christ­mas to the an­nals of his­tory as well? You never know, as well as al­low­ing fans and play­ers to en­joy Christ­mas, it might just ben­e­fit the sport and im­prove Eng­land’s chances of win­ning some­thing. Clubs would ben­e­fit, too. Chelsea and Arse­nal are pat­ting them­selves on the back for mak­ing it through in the Cham­pi­ons League, but our ri­vals on the con­tin­tent will be laugh­ing when the Lon­don boys are bat­tling through bl­iz­zards while they nurse a semi in front of a roar­ing fire dur­ing their win­ter break. e are now the only coun­try to play on through the cold­est part of the year. Even Alex Ferguson (left) gets it. The Manch­ester United boss has been push­ing for a win­ter break for 30 years.

UEFA re­search shows that play­ers in leagues with­out a win­ter break are FOUR times more likely to suf­fer a stress frac­ture or other in­juries in April and May than those in, say, Ger­many and Spain. No won­der Eng­land look like the Dog & Duck re­serves at ma­jor tour­na­ments. Let’s scrap the Car­ling Cup. Cut out mean­ing­less in­ter­na­tional friendlies. Slim down the Premier League to just 18 teams.

Sound crazy? Well that’s ex­actly what the chair­men promised would hap­pen when the Premier League was formed in 1992.

Then they saw the pound signs.

W

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