The busy Christmas period is one of Karl Robinson’s favourite football traditions, even if he is called a Scrooge by his wife.
For fans of all clubs, the festive season is one of great importance - games in quick succession, with plenty of points at stake before the New Year.
For the players, it’s a busy time too, but very much a time for work rather than letting themselves go for a couple of weeks.
Robinson has traditionally offered his players Christmas Day off, and will do so again this year but says the festive period is one that is more business than pleasure for him nowadays.
He said: “I get called Scrooge by the wife, which is a bit harsh because I used to love Christmas! Christmas isn’t the same once you’re in this industry. Now, in this job, I have to take it with a pinch of salt.
“We’re working hard two days before, because Christmas Day is a day for the family. Traditionally, I’ve always done it. I feel if we can give the players a day with their family, they owe me one a day later! We’re normally pretty good on Boxing Day.
“They’ll still have to train. We’ve got GPS systems to we know exactly what the players are doing, right down to how many times their feet touch the floor.
“But they’ll be in for the majority of the Christmas period. The fixture list is extremely busy. Every keeps telling me they’re excited about getting time off for Christmas - well, we’re your entertainment!”
Something that has been regularly touted in English football is the idea of a winter break.
However, Robinson believes that with everyone in the same boat, playing games in quick succession, it would make little difference other than to the England national team.
“I think if we had a winter break, I’m not sure we’d do it over Christmas but in January,” he said.
“I like the end of May and June too much, I like going away on holiday. It’s not like I can sit in my back garden in January and sunbathe! I’d only get bored!
“I am in favour of playing over Christmas. Having been brought up with that - Boxing Day games, New Years Day games - the calendar wouldn’t look right without them.
“It’s amazing that the Premier League complain about it, when they’ve only got 20 teams! Try having 24 and coming in to the first round of all the cups and the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy with a squad of 18!
“If they’re saying it has a detrimental effect on their performances, it must do on ours at this level too.
“In terms of the national team, I think there should be a winter break in World Cup and European Championship years because it could have a massive impact on how we play.”