Christmas Sports Facts

Christmas Sports Facts

A big thanks to all our local teams and clubs for keeping everyone entertained in 2021, we wish them all a restful Christmas and successful 2022.

In the meantime, here’s some end of year, weird and wacky, Christmas Day sports facts.

  1. Football used to be played on Christmas Day. With no Morecombe and Wise reruns to watch, fans turned up in their thousands. Over 9,000 ditched the turkey and tinsel to watch the first Xmas Day league fixture in 1889, when Preston beat Aston Villa 3 – 2.


  1. England cricketers Marcus Trescothick, Simon Jones and Alistair Cook were all born on Christmas Day.


  1. Think your team has a busy Xmas fixture list? In 1888 Everton played two games on Christmas Day (beating Blackburn 3 – 2, before thrashing Ulster FC 3 – 0). Then managed a goalless draw against Bootle on Boxing Day. All 3 games were held at Everton’s pre-Goodison home, Anfield.


  1. In the US, both American Football and Basketball matches are played on Christmas Day. The National Hockey League played Christmas Day games up until 1971.


  1. On Christmas Day 1940, Brighton & Hove Albion FC arrived at Norwich with just 5 players. They asked for volunteers from the crowd to make up their 11 and promptly lost 18-0. Ouch!


  1. Christmas Day cricket? Yes! Australia vs West Indies, (1951) Australia vs India (1967), India vs Australia (1969), India vs England (1972) and India vs Pakistan (1979) were all played on Christmas Day.


  1. In 1541 Henry VIII banned all sport on Christmas Day. Although he’d loved sport in his youth, in later years not only did he ban Christmas Day sports, he banned football altogether! Conversely, he was the first man to own a pair of shoes just for football, the first ever football boots.


  1. Clapton Orient FC were given a barrel of beer by their manager before their Christmas day game in 1931. Which they drank before staggering out to be beaten 2 – 1 by Bournemouth. However, they sobered up enough to win the return Boxing Day fixture 1 – 0.


  1. In 1647 Oliver Cromwell, banned all Christmas sports. Being the cheery chap he was, he also banned Christmas completely (although some historians credit this to the Long Parliament). Bah humbug!


  1. Until 1925, Arsenal weren’t allowed to play Christmas Day matches. Highbury was built on land owned by St John’s College of Divinity who refused to allow games to be played on religious holidays.


  1. Perhaps the most famous Christmas Day sporting event of them all, in 1914 during WWI, German and English troops met up in no man’s land in Flanders on December the 25th where they exchanged gifts and played football. The German’s probably won on penalties.


  1. Thrust SSC, driven by Andy Green might have raced to a staggering 763.035mph in 1997 for his land-speed record but that’s nothing! In 2018 US scientists calculated that to visit every home in the world in 24 hours, Father C drops by 822 homes a second, meaning a top speed of 650 miles a second! Ho-ho-woah!!

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By Kye Harman

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