The January Sales

It wasn’t so long ago that the Christmas programme was one of the highlights of the football season. An insane bunching of fixtures would be squashed into a three or four day period, leaving managers complaining about their players becoming exhausted and players complaining about not getting to spend the festive period with their families. It’s difficult to say whether the decision to axe the festive football programme was a conscious one or whether it was borne out through through the vagaries of the calendar (the FA Cup Third Round is being played about as early as any in recent years), but it certainly has meant that the press has had to look elsewhere for their jollies over the last couple of weeks or so. Fortunately, there have been a couple of other stories to keep them ticking over. Steven Gerrard’s contretemps in a Southport bar have given the tabloids plenty to salivate over, whilst the broadsheets have been poring over the forthcoming January transfer window. It is, indeed possible, that the transfer window has now taken over from what is left of the Christmas programme as the main news story for the end of December and the start of January. It used to feel as if booze-filled hacks played a game which involved pulling a player’s name, a football club and a stock phrase from a hat to...

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