Monday, 20 December 2010

Them's The Breaks

I've always been dead set against winter breaks, but I'm beginning to warm to them!

This is the second season in a row where it looks like our mid-season will be decimated by the weather, so perhaps we should accept the inevitable and not bother scheduling games when they're not likely to take place.

If clubs were less keen to take the shameful approach AFC Wimbledon took to our postponed game (and I say that with a heavy heart, because I have the same affection for them as many other fans do) then I might bot feel this way, but I'm not desperate to spend the winter hanging on the misleading proclamations of clubs who are willing to make me put my plans on hold and contemplate skidding my way across the country because they don't want to put local fans off from attending a game if, by some miracle, the 1% chance that will go ahead comes off.

Of course, my attitude towards winter breaks int he past has been coloured by a combination of nostalgia and perspective.

The nostalgic part of me enjoys freak football, likes the random nature of a game played with an orange ball on the snow, with the potential for hilarity it brings. Also, my perspective on the issue was always governed by the thought of hypocritical Premiership mega-clubs demanding a break for their poor, shattered players and then taking them all off for a lucrative tour of Qatar for a fortnight when they should be tucked up at home under a blanket, seeing how mawkish Noel Edmonds can be this year!

Being in non-league football offers a different reason not to have a break, which I have to take into account. During e recent cold snap, teams have been arranging friendlies rather than rest their players, because the lack of revenue coming throughout the turnstiles could hit them hard. I get that, but there's no reason why teams couldn't arrange a series of friendlies during a break. Equally, there's no reason why I should attend them, so there's no problem of waiting to see if a game will have the plug pulled on it. Surely friendly is optional and non-attendance won't incur the wrath of the football gods!

So, on balance I think we should have a break after all, and perhaps ditch FA Trophy replays to bot, although I can understand the FA's reluctance to do that as it would compromise their intention to give the tournament an equal footing with the FA Cup. I think something should be done out of respect of the travelling fans who are the lifeblood of the game; sadly, I suspect it won't be done before we play a waiting game over the trip to Barrow though!

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