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Summer football is too hot for me...

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Chris Jardine | 16:17 UK time, Thursday, 14 January 2010

I hope you are all well and are gently easing yourselves back to normal life after the festive season.

We were without a competitive game at the weekend due to the Scottish Cup, although the weather would have put paid to our fixture at Forfar regardless.

Unfortunately Annan, along with Dumbarton (and countless other clubs for that matter) were unable to get use of the magnificent indoor facility that is Toryglen, so it was the gym hall for us once again but this time at Annan Academy.

It would be very easy for the players to get fed up with the way things have gone in the last month but to be fair to Harry Cairney and Derek Townsley they have kept the sessions fresh, which has meant that our training has been good fun while continuing with the hard work.

The recent weather that has brought parts of the country to a standstill has once again brought up issues that we're all too familiar with; summer football/winter break and all-weather facilities.

I'll start off with the latter and admit that I was not familiar with the facilities at Toryglen until recently. The clamour for the use of this flagship centre has been well documented in the press recently and questions are being raised as to why there aren't more of these places in Scotland.

Just like most things in life, I'm sure this all comes down to money but these are the only kind of facilities able to cope with severe weather and provide playing time for clubs not lucky enough to have undersoil heating.

snow595.jpgI work as a gym instructor for the local council and we have several facilities in Dumfries that have outdoor "all-weather" facilities. You can't get access to these facilities for love nor money during the months between October and April.

They are predominantly used by football groups of all ages and also cater for tennis, hockey and more recently rugby.

Despite the pitches in this region being all-weather, the pitches in my particular facility have been closed since the week before Christmas. After waking up to more snow this morning you can bet your boots that we'll be closed for a little while longer.

The summer football/winter break argument has been rumbling on for a long, long time now.

Maybe someone will correct me but I certainly can't remember as many games, and at the top level as well, being called off in such a short period of time.

Amazingly, a lot of the pitches have actually been playable but have still been cancelled due to the worry regarding the safety of supporters travelling to and from the games.

We've had games called off at stadiums such as Anfield and The City of Manchester Stadium for this very reason.

Talking from a footballer's point of view, I would much rather a winter break than a change to summer football.

In all honesty I really don't mind playing in the conditions that we do, with the exception of wind, but I have never enjoyed playing in the heat.

Maybe it's because it always reminds me of pre-season training. I don't know but it's not for me.

Sure, it might only be for a month of the football season but can we really rely on the weather in our country and say that we would have far less games cancelled if we changed to a March-November season?

Although it's not going to happen while I'm still playing, I wouldn't be too happy giving up on my summer holidays either! It might be okay when you're earning thousands of pounds per week and can fly to the sun at anytime of the year.

It's a different story when you have to work for a living, as does your partner. We don't get too much sun down here in Dumfries and when it comes we want to enjoy it.

Now, some of that may sound a little selfish but I did say that I was talking from a footballer's point of view.

Looking at it from the other side of the coin, and I will be a football supporter once I hang up my boots, I would maybe be in favour of summer football, but most definitely of bringing back the winter break.

It's an expensive time of the year we've just passed and the extra cost for supporters to attend matches could maybe be done without. The football isn't the prettiest in Scotland at the best of times and in the winter weather it's probably even worse.

A winter break gives everyone a little breather and you hopefully come to miss it after a few weeks away. The thirst for the game returns and you're raring to go come the middle of January.

There's obviously a lot to discuss at the top level of football in our country and these are obviously just opinions on my part. Finances are always the top consideration and then you have fixture congestion as well as football supporters to consider.

When there is a World Cup or a European Championship to be played what would happen for example? There's a lot to consider where both these subjects are concerned and I'm sure it'll be on many agendas after the month we've just had.


  • Comment number 1.

    The problem with a winter break is when do you have it? This season December was terrible but January is slowly improving. Next year it could be very different. In fact you could argue many clubs have had a "winter break" since they have not played for several weeks. I fear the clash between summer football and major International tournaments is not something Scotland will have to worry about for quite some time.

  • Comment number 2.

    Eircom league starts mid march and finishes in November- a few games might get called off early on but its rare- not difficult to sort out if the will to do it was there- doubt TV would go with it

  • Comment number 3.

    The German season shuts down for a month after Dec 20, this seems like a good idea, although we could wait a week for the popular Boxing Day fixtures.
    German sides go further in Europe than ours do and they qualify for every major tournament. If they can manage the scheduling, why can't we?

  • Comment number 4.

    As a football supporter, I would hate to see the season moved to the summer. Keep it as it is, and let the football club decide if a game gets called off not the Police.

    I really don't understand how they can call it off on the grounds that it's not safe for supporters?

    What do the police think them supporters do instead of attending their game after it's been called off? Wrap up at home in bed and not leave the house. With Hull V Chelsea called off I went to the pub instead, which was just as dangerous as going to the game. As did a lot of other people who would normally be attending the game. I didn't see any accidents on my way to the pub or my way back home.

    Calling off games because it's not safe for supporters is quite simply pathetic. The Police need to get a grip, we're not idiots we know how to deal with a bit of snow.

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