When was the last time football matches in Britain were played on Christmas Day?
“When was the last time football matches in Britain were played on Christmas Day?” asked Kevin Liepins in 2005.
It’s not as far back as you might think, Kevin. As David Ross’s website scottishleague points out, best ideas about canada goose parka on pinterest in Scotland, the last scheduled round of league fixtures was for canada goose coat 1000 calorie a day meal plan Saturday December 25, 1976. However, a combination of reluctance to play bright blue canada goose jacket and poor weather reduced the card. No Scottish top division matches were played, and these were shifted to Friday 24, Sunday 26 and Monday 27.
Of the two games that were played on Christmas Day itself, Clydebank and St Mirren drew 2-2 in a top-of-the-table first division clash and Alloa beat Cowdenbeath 2-1 at home in the second division. In addition, Dundee’s official history lists them as winning 1-0 away to Montrose on Christmas Day – but another source suggests that this match was in fact played on Monday 27th.
The last time a full set of Christmas Day fixtures was played in Scotland was in 1971. Celtic beat Hearts 3-2 at home, Dundee United beat Dunfermline by the same score at Tannadice, and Kilmarnock overcame Morton 4-2 at Rugby Park. Other results that day were: Airdrie 1-1 Clyde, East Fife 1-1 Motherwell, Falkirk 0-3 Aberdeen, Hibs 0-1 Rangers, Partick 0-1 Ayr, and St Johnstone 0-0 Dundee.
Meanwhile, the last games played on Christmas Day in England were in 1959, when Blackburn beat Blackpool 1-0 at home in the old first division and Coventry beat Wrexham 5-3 in the third.
THE BOXING DAY GOAL BONANZA
“I vaguely remember waking up on Boxing Day morning a couple of years ago (with a massive hangover) and seeing a caption on Football Focus with an old list of Boxing Day fixtures and an awful lot of goals. Was it something to do with the DTs or did this really happen?” wondered Ken Davro in 2000.
On December 26 1963, an amazing 66 goals were scored in the old First Division, leaving some teams wishing there had been a repeat of the previous season’s Big Freeze (which had wiped out nearly all the football between Boxing Day and March). Here are the classifieds:
Blackpool 1-5 Chelsea, Burnley 6-1 Man Utd, Fulham 10-1 Ipswich, Leicester 2-0 Everton, Liverpool 6-1 Stoke, Nottingham Forest 3-3 Sheff Utd, WBA 4-4 Tottenham, Sheff Wed 3-0 Bolton, Wolves 3-3 Aston Villa, West buy a canada goose jacket online Ham 2-8 Blackburn.
If that wasn’t weird enough, the results two days later – when many of the teams played the “return leg” – beggar belief. West Ham, who had lost 8-2 at home to canada goose coat 1000 bulbs garland Blackburn, won 3-1 at Ewood buy canada goose jacket online cheap Park. Manchester United, fresh from a 6-1 thrashing at Burnley, turned the tables at Old Trafford with a 5-1 win. And poor Ipswich, who had clearly been on the Christmas Day pop, avenged their 10-1 defeat by Fulham with a 4-2 victory over the Cottagers at Portman Road. Much good the two points did them, mind you: they finished bottom.
TOP AT XMAS = TOP AT THE END OF THE SEASON?
“Does the team in first place at Christmas usually go on to win the Premier League?” posed Lara Matthews can i wash my canada goose jacket last year. “And do the teams in the relegation zone usually still go down?”
Holding top spot on December 25 is more often a curse than a blessing. Only six times – Manchester United (1993-94, 2000-01 and 2006-07), Blackburn (1994-95) and Chelsea (2004-05 and 2005-06) – has a team gone on to win can you wash a canada goose parka the title after being top at Christmas. And Jose Mourinho will doubtless have noted that United themselves have twice surrendered a Yuletide lead – to Arsenal, in both 1997-98 and 2003-04.
At the other end of the table, West Brom are the only team to canada goose coat 1000 calorie escape relegation after being bottom of the Premiership at Christmas (in 2004-05). But second-from-bottom sides have only been relegated seven times in 15 seasons (Leicester 1994-95, Watford 1999-00, Leicester 2001-02, Leeds 2003-04, Southampton 2004-05, Birmingham 2005-06 and Charlton 2006-07), while third-from-bottom teams have gone down only six times out of 15 (Middlesbrough 1996-97, Blackburn 1998-99, Coventry 2000-01, Derby 2001-02, West Brom 2002-03, Crystal Palace 2004-05).
And, as Association of Football Statisticians’ archives show, teams currently wallowing in mid-table shouldn’t count their chickens. In 1992-93, Middlesbrough plunged from 12th at Christmas to 21st by the close, while Sheffield were 16th at this time last season. But for a really spectacular nosedive, Sunderland’s last-place finish with 19 points in 2002-03 will take some beating – they buy canada goose jacket australia had tucked into their turkey in 17th with 17 points.
Can you help?
“After hearing Fabio Capello has an art collection worth £10m, are there any other footballers or managers with more valuable artistic accumulations?” wonders Jon Rawnsull.
“Have Newell’s Old Boys ever played Young Boys of Berne?” asks Noel Baker. “And are there any similarly apposite encounters between other teams?”
Email your questions and answers to email@example.com.
The Knowledge is off on holiday, but will be back on January 8 to reveal how James Richardson Spensley gave football to Italy. Happy Christmas!
· This article was amended on Thursday May 8, 2008 to credit more canadagoosesalesus the source of the answer to the question: “When was the last time football matches in Britain were played on Christmas Day?”