To be in England

January 1, 2000

 

 

Ken Masters’

Web Watch

If you know your poetry, or even a little bit of it from your schooldays, you would be forgiven for thinking that ‘To be in England’ we must be thinking of the spring. 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Mikkel Andersen

 I must say that with the weather we have had nationwide already this winter, and looking at the forecasts for what is likely to come spring, however welcome when it comes, would seem to be a bit far away at the moment.

 

In football terms we are still in the first half of the season, just, with plenty to come and much to play for by way of final league position and bragging rights. Lennie Lawrence would often say; “Clubs who finish the season strongly tend to start the next one well. Good form or bad form usually carries on from one season to the next.” That may, or may not, be true but in any event I don’t believe you should give up on anything in life, football included.

 

Christmas and New Year has always been a busy time for football in the UK: Scotland and Northern Ireland as well as in England and Wales. However, we would appear to be very much on our own on this one. Not many games will be played on Boxing Day outside of these islands. There will be the usual, and annual, debate about the merits or otherwise of playing on Boxing Day and on other days at this time of the year.

 

My view is, look at the attendance figures, they are about the best gates of the season at many clubs and a home Boxing Day game is well looked forward to by home supporters especially. Boxing Day is an outdoor day by tradition and many other sports and pastimes take place on this day right across Britain.

 

I was prompted to take a web search around Europe having read Mikkel Andersons take on the situation. Mikkel is widely reported on the web as saying that he likes to keep playing through the winter weeks and does not enjoy the winter break experienced in his own country. He even seems to enjoy games over the festive period. In many other European countries there is at least a Christmas and New Year break if not a longer winter break or even a close season in the far northern and Baltic states.

Let’s start with Denmark, Mikkel’s home country where he could be playing his football if he had not taken it upon himself to ply his trade in England; click on Danish Football to start my search. The league structure is much like our own with a Premier League or Super League having taken the place of the old Danish First Division in the nineties. Just goes to show how trends are spread.

Under the SAS Ligaen or Superliga comes the Viasat Sport Divisionen, bit like our Championship, with East and West 2nd Divisions under that. Then comes three groups of Third Divisions. My view is that if Mikkel was playing in Denmark he would at the very least be playing in the Viasat and probably in the Superliga.

My search shows that fixtures in Denmark were halted on Sunday 5th December and won’t start up again until Sunday 6th March. That represents a winter break of some length by any comparison and I can understand Mikkel’s point of view about wanting to play football continuously. It seems to me that a pre season is a must in the New Year and it will be like starting all over again; more like two mini seasons taken together or back to back. The season in Denmark will finally come to an end with a full fixture list on Sunday 25th May. At the break 19 games have been played and FC Copenhagen leading the way with no less than 16 wins, thee draws and no defeats. With 51 points they are already 19 points ahead of nearest rivals Oldense BK. Given the choice I would want to play too, to keep the momentum going and get the job done. The weather of course dictates so much more in Denmark.

 

The weather dictates very much more so in Norway and the Baltic states such as Finland and Sweden. In Switzerland too football is not really a Winter Sport,, hang up the boots and get the skis out. In Finland the football season came to an end on Oct 23rd, in Sweden on Nov 7th and in Switzerland on Dec 12th with HJK Helsinki, Malmo and Lucerne taking the honours respectively.

Click on to find the breaks in other countries. Netherlands 19th Dec to 21st Jan. France 22nd Dec to 15th Jan. Italy 19th Dec to 6th Jan. Germany 19th Dec to 15th Jan and Austria with another extended break 12th Dec to 12th Feb. Spain and Portugal should be alright you would think but no; Spain 19th Dec to 3rd Jan and Portugal 19th Dec to 9th Jan.

 

So Mikkel has not got to choose from for a coveted game of Football on Boxing Day; only Belgium with games on Boxing Day and then on 29th Dec before they too take a winter break until 22nd Jan. There we are then weather permitting, stand up, sit back and enjoy.

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