It is that time in the season which players from my era used to look to with a mixture of excitement and dread - I’m talking about the Easter weekend.
It was by far the busiest period of the football calendar back then.
Easter these days is quite busy with games on Friday and Monday but try putting a fixture on Saturday in there and I think most younger fans would think that was taking things to extreme.
Our older fans will know playing on Friday, Saturday, Monday was normal over Easter, it had always been that way and every club had exactly the same schedule.
When you don’t know any different and just doing what generations of footballers had done before, you just get on with it and I honestly can’t remember too many complaints from any
players from that time, most would rather play than train and you did get a load of days off afterwards.
It seems crazy now though that someone could think playing two games in two days, have a day off, then play another game the next day would be a good idea. No wonder people used to
say Easter was the time titles, promotions and relegation battles were won or lost.
Teams with stronger squads had an obvious advantage, those who didn’t just had to get players out on the pitch, no matter what, even if they were carrying an injury that wasn’t too
A sore knee could be run off, a twisted ankle could be strapped up. ‘Just get out there and do your job, it will build up your character anyway’, you were told.
I’d love to know how many players playing in that third game in four days weren’t 100 per cent fit, patched up and sent out to do a job but to be fair most players were willing and given the
chance we’d all go through it again in a heartbeat.
Sunderland’s current players undoubtedly have an extremely heavy workload this month but as they head into this Easter weekend, it could have been far more gruelling.