In the not too distant past I’ve been heavily against England introducing a winter break. Th ere’s something about the festive period and Premier League football that makes that time of the year even better than it normally is.
And it always gives me the chance to get out of the missus dragging me around Westfi eld Stratford on Boxing Day as she spends her January pay slip on cut price goods she’s probably already got! And then there’s New Year’s Day, when you’re still drunk from the night before and travelling to Reading to watch the mighty Hammers get spanked 6-0. Does it ever get any better than that?
However, I’m beginning to change my mind. And it’s all because of West Ham. Selfish, I know. Th e old adage that West Ham ‘come down with the Christmas decorations’ is something we can all agree with. Last season in particular, when we followed a top four spot on Christmas Day, with sliding down the table to eventually finish 12th.
Many will have put that down to Sam Allardyce and his tactics, but I would also put it down to the fact a club like West Ham doesn’t have the quality and strength in depth to maintain an early season run of form into the second half of the campaign. Th e reasons why the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City are able to compete consistently throughout the season isn’t just because they’ve got the best players in the league.
It’s also because they’ve got the squad-depth to rotate during the winter months, and therefore reducing their chances of crashing and burning like the rest of us. What a winter break would do, I believe, is create a more even playing field in the Premier League. We would certainly have a huge chance of replicating our early season form aft er the New Year.
The players would be fitter and fresher, and they won’t have had to deal with having to be mentally and physically fit to play five games in 15 days. I would wage a fair few quid that we’d give ourselves a huge chance of finishing in the top six or seven this season if there was a winter break.
Instead we’ll probably finish twelfth again aft er struggling for form in January and February. It’s the West Ham way, isn’t it? I’d much rather spend the January transfer window without any football if it meant witnessing West Ham continue some kind of good form into the second half of the season and finishing the season strongly, perhaps with something to celebrate in May.