The day for going cold turkey
Monday 26 December 1994
I don't have a particularly large family and neither does my wife, but on Christmas Day it feels like half the population of north-east Surrey has come to my house to talk about previous Christmases, people they knew who had died at Christmas and about how people who don't celebrate Christmas must feel left out. I hate it. Just give me my presents and leave on the tinsel-covered horse you came in on.
Of course they don't leave. There has to be an argument over which channel's broadcast of the Queen's Speech we watch before anyone can go. For the majority of what's meant to be a day of celebration, I sit there looking forward to Boxing Day and going to see Wimbledon play.
I always go to the Boxing Day game. I don't get to as many away games as I would like these days, but I haven't missed a Boxing Day game since 1978. Usually, thanks to an understanding computer (one that understands that most football fans don't want to travel up and down England's fine motorway system when they have a hangover and would be instantly sick at the merest mention of the words "mince'' and "pie'') most of the Boxing Day fixtures are reasonably local affairs - today's fixtures include Crystal Palace v QPR, Coventry v Forest, Manchester City v Blackburn - at worst, you have to drive 50 miles.
But this season has seen an ominous shift away from the fan-friendly fixture with a number of Premiership games bringing together teams from opposite ends of the country (Chelsea v Manchester United for example) and several kicking off at noon.
"Oi, FA, noooo! You may well be the governing body of the world's most popular game, but that doesn't mean that you have to make us get up at eight o'clock in the morning to go and see it being played by professionals when we, and indeed they, would rat
h er be at home with the wife and kiddies.''
Normally, I quite enjoy travelling to away games. Bumping into fellow supporters gives you a sort of sense of belonging, born of brief motorway service station camaraderie, but I take exception at being expected to drive to Southampton this morning for amidday kick-off.
What's the big idea? Would a three o'clock kick-off mean that there would be more alcohol-sodden people in the ground than usual? No it wouldn't. A three o'clock kick-off would mean that we had three more hours for the effects of the previous evening to wear off. (I don't feel any sympathy for the players. For the money some of them earn I'd give up Christmas altogether).
My favourite part of Boxing Day football is half-time. I love looking round the ground trying to spot who's brought cold turkey sandwiches wrapped in silver foil. Last year one of my Main Stand compatriots at Selhurst Park bought such a huge bird for Christmas he was still eating cold turkey sandwiches at the beginning of this season.
So, if you're reading this at a match, or you're going to a game later on today, have a scan around the ground at half-time for the Bacofoil Brethren. It might be more fun than the game, Ipswich fans.
n Kevin Borras is a contributor to the Onion Bag magazine.
Latest in Sport
Radamel Falcao exclusive: Forward says joining Manchester United is a 'dream come true'
Arsenal are 'short of greatness' - so take a gamble in the transfer market, urges Terry Venables
Arsenal transfer news: Ray Parlour urges Arsene Wenger to make late move for Edinson Cavani
WWE Raw preview: Will John Cena continue to defy the threat of Brock Lesnar?
Petr Cech transfer latest: Chelsea goalkeeper posts cryptic tweet amid exit talk
- 1 Al Pacino on suffering from depression: 'It can last and it's terrifying'
- 2 Half of young women unable to ‘locate vagina’ and 65% find it difficult to say the word
- 3 Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb
- 4 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 5 Mexican woman becomes world’s 'oldest person' at 127
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Ashya King: Parents of five-year-old boy refused permission to visit him in hospital and denied bail at Spanish court
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
When elitism grips the top of British society to this extent, there is only one answer: abolish private schools
Ashya King: 'Cruel NHS has not given us the treatment we need', says father of five-year-old with brain tumour who fled to Spain
£30000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organ...
£35000 - £38000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glob...
£50 - £70 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you a Teaching Assistant...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: Randstad Education Ltd are seeking KS...