As I melt in the heat of some actual sunshine from a day that epitomizes a typical English summer, and with Euro 2012 fever melting like the ice cube in my gin Pimms lemonade, it only makes sense to talk about one thing – a winter break.
Discussing winter won’t bring my ice cube back or cool me down (having left quite the ‘impression’ on this pub stool), but many fans think that if players were given some time off last winter, it could have helped improve the hearty, but lacklustre, performances England fans had to endure from their players out in Poland and Ukraine.
In the usual fashion, this often bandied around debate rears its annual ugly after teams either begin to falter from their lofty pedestals or players generally start to look, and play, like Wayne Rooney – tired.
England’s Quarter-final exit was all too familiar, they went down with a fight, but the truth was they had no gas in the tank.
Are players being overworked and underpaid or is the notion of a winter break merely a talking point worthy of covering up England’s faltering squad a slow news day? How does this argument even come up at this time of year when we’re all feeling a bit beer gardeny…
Who is really to blame for all of this inappropriate holiday merriment? None other than our own national team. Not only can they (Wayne Rooney) be blamed for giving meaning to the term ‘Brits Abroad’, endearing us to nations all over the world, but their premature expected exit from this season’s Euros has spurred this summer’s debate.
There are some who think that a winter break could improve the performance of these players. I like to prove those people wrong.
There is no break long enough that could see a team with Jordan Henderson and Stewart Downing lift anything beyond their baggage onto the team bus.
There is also of course the logic that if a winter break did in fact benefit players of a national team such as those proud Lions, surely it would benefit every national team represented in the Premier League.
So where does that leave England? Early prediction would be: expected heroes Wayne Rooney to underperform and England to face an exit in the quarter-finals on penalties to <insert team here>.
This is also all on the assumption that players would be using the time to some degree of responsibility. They would maintain a level of fitness that would actually benefit the second half of the season and not be caught outside Chinawhite’s with their trousers around their ankles after consuming Sam Allardyce’s weight in alcohol.
There’s also the small matter of when the games that are congested throughout our holly jolly holidays would be played. Is the intent to extend the season further into the summer leaving the players with almost no break ahead of the following season’s training? Would they somehow be crammed into a busy Easter schedule allowing further whinging?
And despite pointing to other leagues, the fact is, the Christmas fixtures are a long standing tradition of the English game.
And if nothing else, what is England and football without tradition? The Queen, tea time, red phone booths, excellent international relations with France and Germany, sarcasm, and sh!te penalties…are all part of the glorious history of this country.
However, the most important feature of the winter fixtures is giving us all something to do. I mean, there are some that my say that the holidays are a time for giving and spending time with loved ones. I call those people – women.
Going to the pub with your mates and watching football IS in fact spending time with your loved ones, and maybe some not so loved ones. But with a winter break we’d all be forced to wear terrible jumpers and spend time with people you haven’t seen in twelve months making inane small talk.
I want my inane small talk from the same people I see week in and week out who make the same complaints about the same players. It’s what the holidays are all about.