No apologies for rolling this article out each year. We love the connection between Christmas and Football and how it can be so good at bringing people together .
We’ve put another tough year behind us, and at times it can seem tough, but to keep things in perspective, spare a thought for those who went before us. In 1914 many were separated, by war, 100’s of miles apart from friends and families with the enemy right in front of them desperate to get passed at any cost. But Christmas and football always brings something special and in 1914 it helped in providing a truce to the fighting with a famous game that should live in our footballing hearts forever.
Starting on Christmas Eve, many German and British troops began to sing Christmas carols to each other across the lines. At the first light of dawn on Christmas Day, some German soldiers emerged from their trenches and approached the Allied lines across no-man’s-land, calling out “Merry Christmas” in their best English.
Understandably at first, the Allied soldiers feared it was a trick, but on seeing the Germans unarmed, they climbed out of their trenches too and shook hands with yesterdays enemy and exchanged presents of cigarettes and plum puddings and sang carols and songs together. Christmas trees were lit around the German trenches, and it was documented that soldiers from opposing sides played a good-natured (DADSvDADS style) game of football. The moment brought people together, all political opinions put aside, just like sport should be.
In reality not everyone stopped fighting during Christmas day, there were still bloody battles going on throughout the period and experiences varied depending on which trench they were fighting in. But there were localised kickabouts between the 2 sides that for
What next? Unfortunately, this would be the last proper truce of the war as generals decided it was too risky to allow the soldiers to mix with the enemy. What followed was 3 more years of brutal fighting before the war was over and the men could spend Christmas at home.
It may have been short lived but for a little while at least these groups of blokes came together, put their differences and troubles aside and played a game they all loved to play, just like us. Sometimes football (and sport) truly can be a truly amazing thing!
Thanks for reading, enjoy the festive period and see you all at your games this week and beyond when you can play!