Blast from the past – Christmas special
Unsurprisingly, it’s been a while since Stortford have been in action on Christmas Day. A friendly was scheduled at Buntingford in 1946 but it’s unclear whether it ever took place and you have to go back a further five years when Rhodes Avenue hosted Military Police with the visitors leaving with a 5-2 win.
Our last win on the day that was originally celebrated as the Birth of the Sun by Pagens and was subsequently “borrowed” by Christians came in 1936 when Hatfield Broad Oak visited Rhodes Avenue and made the brief journey home having lost 4-1,
Since the start of World War I (records are unclear before then), Stortford have only played two competitive game on Christmas Day. 1926 saw Blues make the trip to Dunmow for a Stansted & District League game and Patmore hit a hat-trick in a 7-2 win. Hayward, Bass, Thurley, and Miller were on target for a Stortford team that lined up as follows: Akers, Wright, K Bennett, H Bennett, Chapman, Raybould, Hayward, Bass, Patmore, Thurley, Miller.
Three years earlier Blues travelled to Cheshunt (not the current club) to face their reserve team in a Herts County League game, and they went down 5-2 despite goals from Hayward and Freeborn.
Professional football always used to play on Christmas Day, with teams often playing home and away against the same opposition, with the return on Boxing Day. The last complete Football League programme on December 25 took place in 1957. There were matches in 1959 between Blackburn Rovers and Blackpool in Division One and Coventry City and Wrexham in Division Three – and, in the last match of all, Blackpool beat Blackburn 4-2 in a Division One fixture at Bloomfield Road in 1965.
Of course the most famous Christmas Day football match took place in 1914 when a truce was called in the War. More about it here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/history/world-war-one/11310353/The-truth-about-the-Christmas-Day-football-match.html
Of course if Wizard had their way (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZoxQ4Ul_DME) I’d be celebrating my 17,531st birthday today (put the calculators away) and we wouldn’t have football as no one plays on Christmas Day any more. So be careful what you wish for.
Have a merry Christmas, let’s hope it’s a dry one and we hope to see you all at Chelmsford on Monday.