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One man’s White Christmas joy is another’s football disaster

Posted on 24 December 2009 | 1:12pm

Both partner and daughter have woken to utter ‘oh no’ as they have seen the mild rain failing, helping to melt the lying snow, and dent the chances of a White Christmas.

He has a lot to answer for does Bing Crosby. All that dreaming of a White Christmas, infecting everyone else’s dreams and desires for December 25. I sometimes think it must be easier in Australia, where there’s no chance.

I felt a bit of a heel not remotely sharing their concern at the rain, and the disappearing snow. I kept stumm, of course, being a caring partner and father and all that, but truth be told I woke up relieved to see the change in weather. You can have all the White Christmases you want, but to non-God doers like me, Boxing Day football is every bit as much part of the holiday as anything that happens the day before.

So while Fiona and Grace bemoaned the lack of white stuff falling from the sky, I was on the phone to my usual sources in Burnley, who were delivering the bad news that there had been fresh snow overnight – I keep saying to Fiona we should move north … she’d have woken up happy up there today …  but they were busy clearing it all from car parks and approach roads.

Of course being a hotshot Premier League club, the pitch itself is not a problem, what with hotshot undersoil heating, but they have to make the surrounding area safe. Elf’n’safety, cor blimey, as Dave Cameron would say.

So all through tomorrow, fingers will be crossed in the hope that the news will filter south that the game is on, and yet another ludicrously long journey north can be embarked upon. Then two days later we’re at Everton, and the five-day weather forecast suggests it will be a balmy 4 degrees Celsius in Liverpool, so I’ve gone ahead and booked the rail tickets.

By then Fiona will have forgotten all about the non-white Christmas and will instead be well into that other Christmas ritual … complaining about bin collection (lack of). Unless by then she is stuck on the current council moan – justified may I say – that parking for Boxing Day (ie the day after Christmas Day) is not free because Boxing Day this year is Monday 28th not Saturday 26th. I keep telling her … her life would be so much easier if she had football. Monday 28th is Everton away. Saturday 26th is Bolton at home, and what do you expect from a Lib Dem-Tory coalition?

To those who couldn’t be bothered to vote at the last council elections … this is your fault. Don’t blame me, I voted Labour. Have a nice Christmas, unless you play for Bolton or Everton.

  • Em

    Careful! Bing Crosby was mobbed up to the hilt. Personally, I think “White Christmas” rules.

    As for your desire for a muddy Christmas (what else could it at this point), why not have both a white Christmas AND a football match? I still don’t understand this “safety” thing. Is this a European thing? I thought football players and their fans were more hardy than the aesthetes of European salons. North American football is played in snow. Isn’t rugby also played in snow? Alastair, you’re gonna have to find a sport with people made of tougher stuff than that.

    Merry, merry.

  • Gemma Milton

    Time for a winter break for football? It is ok for the top clubs with their undersoil heating but lower league and non league clubs have mayhew caused by a bit of bad weather.

  • Carla Marshall

    Reckon Bing will outlast Noddy Holder?

  • Terry Holton

    Highlight of the Christmas period so far was the offduty cop pulling a gun because someone hit his car with a snowball. Highlight of the year Obama’s election, but he needs all the help he can get having a country full of crazies to run

  • Alan Quinn

    The weather claimed the football for my club today too. FC United of Manchester had a nice local away fixture v Ashton United but we’ll have to hope that the thaw can save our next fixture v Osset Town.
    At this game which takes place at Gigg Lane, Bury on New Year’s Day we’re having our annual “big coat day” where we collect unwanted clothes for the homeless. This is from the official FC United site;
    Big Guys Back Bigger Coats Day – Make Your New Year’s Revolution

    “Fresh from winning the award for Best Supporting Actor at the British Independent Film Awards for his part as an FC United fan in Looking For Eric, comedian John Henshaw has given his backing to Big Coat Day on New Year’s Day.

    FC United supporters are being asked to bring spare winter clothing for the homeless and needy to the Ossett Town fixture at Gigg Lane next Friday.

    Henshaw’s Looking For Eric drinking partner and fellow comic, Justin Moorhouse is also supporting the day. He said: “Being a man who has always needed a big coat, I appreciate the need for big coats and I hope everyone gets behind the collection.”

    Withington MP, John Leech and Bury South MP, Ivan Lewis will be in attendance too.

    Last year, the impact of the cold winter months on the North West took someone’s life every half hour. General Manager, Andy Walsh believes shocking statistics like that prove why the campaign is so important.

    He said: “Big Coat Day may have started as a bit of fun to show we had reached our first Christmas and it still is fun. But it is also an important statement showing that our supporters continue to care for all our community.”

    Further support has come from the Unison branches in Salford and Bury, Jobcentre Plus staff teams, the homeless organisation, Mustard Tree, which serves 6,000 homeless in Greater Manchester, the Salvation Army, refugee groups, the Boaz Trust and Eagle’s Wing, as well as Labour and Conservative councillors representing Bury wards.

    North West Health organisation, Our Life is also backing the event as our Bolton Primary Care Trust. And, having invited members of the co-operative movement to attend the day, we can also look forward to staff from Co-operatives UK, The Co-operative Pharmacy, the Co-operative Group, Salford Community Leisure, The Co-operative College and Co-operatives North West being in the stands.

    In 2007 we moved mountains of coats and created a four and a half ton mountain outside Gigg Lane. Don’t forget to bring spare winter clothing for the collection in the stadium forecourt by the Salvation Army and Boaz Trust.”

    So there you have it… a sort of Labour/LibDem/Tory coalition, all for a good cause…

  • olli issakainen

    I do God, but football is the second best thing during the Christmas period. I have been to Burnley only once (in 1995 v. Sunderland), but I guess nothing beats a sold-out Turf Moor (21,761 today) in atmosphere.
    While watching the game between Birmingham and Chelsea live on our TV, I also checked the BBC´s Live Text on Burnley v. Bolton (this match is on our TV later this evening). I have nothing but admiration for all the Burnley players and believe 100% that we will stay in the
    PL. But the truth is that some of our players lack pace and power needed at this level. So we need to sign CB, CM,
    RW and two CFs.

    Ps. We, of course, have had a White Christmas here in eastern Finland as Finland (along with Iceland) is the most northern country in the world.

  • Peter Blasdale

    Hi
    Happy Xmas and all the very best to you for the new year.
    Were you at Caius college and did you know a guy called Pete Blasdale, and did we sing Yesterday in the JCR???

    If so HI, how the bloody hell are you??
    Pete.