HARTLEPOOL United skipper Sam Collins has rubbished the notion of a winter break, instead declaring: “I just love football over Christmas”, writes CRAIG HOPE.
The defender has been raised on the festive footballing traditions of the English game.
Gone are the days when teams played on Christmas Day, but Boxing Day does see a full fixture calendar.
There has long been suggestion, though, of clubs taking an extended break over the holiday period, in keeping with the majority of European leagues.
But for Collins – a proud Yorkshireman who was brought up in a football-mad family – that idea doesn’t sit easy.
“I just love football over Christmas,” said the 34-year-old, with Pools travelling to Oldham today and Sheffield United on New Year’s Eve. “All this rubbish about winter breaks – forget that, I want to play. I don’t want a break, I want to be out there playing.
“I remember as a kid going to games over Christmas with my dad and you might have a new football shirt on – it’s a brilliant time as a young kid and as a supporter and it’s the same as a player, I love it.
“A lot it comes from foreign players who are used to the break abroad. But forget about them, do what we’re used to doing and stick to what we know and love.”
Pools, with one win in eight in League One, will be hoping to enter 2012 following a lucrative festive period.
First up after the turn of the year is the visit of Scunthorpe United on January 2 before Rochdale come to town five days later.
And Collins went on: “The games come thick and fast and if you can get some wins then come January all of a sudden you’re in a strong position.
“And we need them right now.
“We saw last year that a couple of wins shot us right up the table at this time.
“Even though we’ve had a bad run the table tells you it’s still so tight, so we can’t be too disheartened. Hopefully the new year will see a new start for us because we need to pick up.”