Domestic football is, across much of Europe, on its winter break over Christmastime.
But not only does England continue to stage matches, it does so at a frenetic pace! Premier League clubs, indeed, play four matches between 23 December and 2 January, with some doing 360 minutes’ graft in as little as ten days!
The above picture was taken during late December 2009. It shows Santa Claus making magic happen with a football rather than on a sleigh, providing half-time entertainment during a match between West Ham United and Chelsea.
Hammers manager Gianfranco Zola was plotting the defeat of the team he dazzled for as a player between 1997 and 2003, and the little Italian was entrusting the help of former Blues midfielder Scott Parker. Meanwhile Chelsea’s line-up included Frank Lampard and Joe Cole – both of whom moved to Stamford Bridge from Upton Park after graduating from West Ham’s esteemed youth academy.
An Alessandro Diamanti penalty, moments before Father Christmas's ball-juggling began, put the hosts ahead, but Lampard equalised from the spot for Carlo Ancelotti’s visitors. That’s how it finished, meaning neither West Ham or Chelsea went home with the Christmas present they desired from that freezing day in East London.