We can’t resist a bit of Festive Football - from Delia’s gift to snowy fields, Luton ... and Palace
You may be full to bursting with Christmas turkey, but that doesn’t mean you can’t squeeze in a bit of football – it’s part of the tradition - we asked some of our writers for some of their Festive Football Favourites...
There is so much to love about festive football - mainly due to how thick and fast the games come.
Ask any Norwich City fan and there is one memory that stands head and shoulders above the rest - the day Delia pulled off the best Christmas present ever.
I still remember the day well - there was no Twitter back then - I didn’t even have a smart phone. So, while I had heard whispers that the deal had been done, the moment I knew it had 100pc happened was that iconic moment Hucks was presented as a Norwich City player. And what a moment that was - topped off with another City win.
But it is the little things that make festive football what it is. Even just the novelty of having 3pm kick-offs on a day that isn’t a Saturday.
And last, but certainly not least, the traditional leftover turkey pasties for half-time - now a Hannant family tradition.
As a youngster Boxing Day always meant football with my dad and over the years it’s brought with it some of my fondest childhood memories.
If it wasn’t Carrow Road, we’d pick a non-league game to head to, normally somewhere like Diss Town, Bury Town, Thetford Town or Stowmarket.
One year in particular springs to mind when cold weather hit hard and meant games were being called off left, right and centre.
We’d listen in on local radio, hear that our chosen match was off so we’d pick somewhere else to go, divert our journey, only for that to then fall foul of the weather.
We were not to be deterred, however, and I can distinctly remember we ended up in deepest, darkest Essex to watch Witham Town FC. They lost 2-0, I believe, but can’t remember who to.
Being a good old country boy it was probably the first time I had left the county!
My festive football memories go back to my first ever game watching my beloved Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane.
The visitors on a chilly December 27 in 1993 were none other than Norwich City - my local team who I had already seen a few times at Carrow Road, but were led away from by London family roots.
Unlike today, Spurs were a bastion of mediocrity back then. Mid-table was our domain, and we were relentless in our pursuit of it.
Despite that, Norwich hadn’t beaten us at the Lane for years, and I was promised a straightforward home win for my first visit to the hallowed stadium.
With a team boasting Nick Barmby, Darren Anderton and, ahem, Jason Dozzell, I was also awaiting some flowing football.
And it came. From Norwich.
Chris Sutton opened the scoring on 27 minutes, and Efan Ekoku put the Yellows 2-0 up 10 minutes later.
Barmby got one back for us, only for Sutton to wrap up a 3-1 win in the last minute, and send me home disillusioned and miserable - a feeling I carried with me as a Spurs fan for the next 10 years.
For football fans up and down the land, the Boxing Day game is as much part of Christmas as mince pies and the Salvation Army band.
I live in Wymondham now but retain my footballing allegiance to Luton Town – whose record on Boxing Day was recently rather uncertain until last year, when we went to Swindon and trounced them 5-0 on their own ground.
Perhaps the Hatters players enjoyed the day a bit too much, as four days later we went to struggling Port Vale and lost 4-0!
Whatever the result, Luton can rely on the fact we have a supporter called Nigel Martin who bears a striking resemblance to Father Christmas himself.
At this time of year he always turns up to matches in appropriate costume, to inevitable chants of “Santa is a Hatter”.
Luton are the most in-form team in Europe at the time of writing, and hopefully we’ll see that continue at Scunthorpe this Boxing Day.
I’ve left mine until last because I have a tendency to Scrooge... although if I mention Boxing Day and Crystal Palace in the same breath you will probably sympathise.
Palace was a place I always hated going during my days covering City. We’d somehow always end up with them on Boxing Day or New Year’s Day and we’d arrive earlier than the team bus, mistakenly believing the traffic would be problematic. Sometimes even the local chippy wasn’t open. Ho hum. The ground, at least then, was awful: dodgy staircase to negotiate to the ’press box’, post-match interviews a nightmare and the managers chatting to us in a kitchen. Glamorous life, eh?
And I give you the team for the 3-1 loss there on Boxing Day, 2008: Marshall, Otsemobor, Doherty, Omozusi, Bertrand, Hoolahan (Russell 83), Pattison (Cort 75), Fotheringham, Clingan, Bell, Lita. Manager: Roeder. Goal: Doherty (exempt from criticism).
Only, what, half a dozen deserved to wear the crest.
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