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The Sebastian Brown column: Spare a thought for Christmas workers

AFC Wimbledon goalkeeper Seb Brown brings you his second column for Total Football...

(Mid) season’s greetings

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year” declared Andy Williams.

For many people Christmas is a time to relax with family, enjoy too much festive food and wine and relax from the stress and pressures of work.

However some are required to work at Christmas, particularly on the day itself. Think of the guys and girls who serve your seasonal dinner if you eat in a restaurant and the people who prepare it, our superb emergency services and also the amazing servicemen and women protecting our welfare in far flung corners of the globe.

The festive period is a notably busy time in the football calendar, in Britain anyway, while our European counterparts are sitting in front of the fire singing carols the British football season hits its busiest patch. It can be a nervewracking time for teams and supporters alike.

There was, of course, the longstanding stigma attached to being bottom of the Premier League at Christmas, which was finally broken West Brom in 2004/5.

Taking shape

By this time teams, players and managers have had time to assess where they are doing well, what they need to be better and potentially where they need to strengthen come the January sales. The league is starting to take shape and teams can be cut adrift.

A bad run over Christmas can completely change a season. Therefore it is a tough time for players. Whilst everyone else is getting into the spirit with a few glasses of mulled wine, players will be deep in preparation for the Boxing day fixture, which means no alcohol and early nights.

Seasonal over-indulgence is common, whether it’s an extra Yorkshire pudding or a few more roast potatoes, though footballers need to exercise every sinew of self control.

No gorging on Roses after dinner then! Some managers decide to have their players train on Christmas Day, an experience I had at Brentford under Scott Fitzgerald.

We trained early, an 8:30am start, this gave the guys with children the chance to have the earlier hours with their kids, but also meant that after what is known in the industry as a ‘quick hour’ of training everyone could be away by 9:30 and have the rest of the day to enjoy the occasion.

Fortunately I’ve not had to do it since, though I’m sure there will come another time.

Necessary part of preparations

We are playing Oxford United at home on Boxing Day this year. The kick-off has been moved to 12:15 for the Sky cameras.

Therefore as part of our preparation we will be staying in a hotel on Christmas evening, from 8pm onwards. As frustrating as it is that I can’t be at home for the whole of Christmas Day, it is a necessary part of our preparation as a team.

I feel particularly for the lads with kids. Similar situations will be seen in hotels up and down the country I have no doubt.

The excitement of playing live on the Sky cameras again, and to a nation who won’t have seen live football for around three days or so means it’s a little easier to bear for us Wimbledon boys.

So when you are tucking into your cold turkey sandwiches and Christmas ale at 8pm on the 25th just take a moment to think of everyone who isn’t able to share in the festivities.

Whether it is those who aren’t well enough to be at home for Christmas or those who have to work so you can enjoy your traditional Christmas.

I hope everyone has a lovely Christmas and have an extra Yorkshire pudding for me!

Like the article? Anything you’d like to know more about? Contact me on Twitter (@sebbrown1) or by email at sebbrowncolumn@hotmail.co.uk


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