While plenty of soccer fans know there is an abundance of Boxing Day football to watch, few know where the tradition actually comes from. Boxing Day is one of the most popular days of the EPL calendar. The tradition dates back to 1860, when the world’s two oldest soccer clubs, Sheffield FC and Hallam FC, faced off on December 26. The two Yorkshire teams not only played the first ever Boxing Day football fixture, but the clubs also played the first recorded derby.
In the 1880s, as soccer grew in Britain and the number of clubs increased, matches on Boxing Day became even more common place. In fact, teams also played on Christmas Day. The tradition of playing on both days died out, however. In the 1950s, people began to become less interested in Christmas Day matches. In 1965, the final Christmas Day match was played. The game was contested between Blackpool and Blackburn Rovers.
Boxing Day soccer has changed little since the 1960s and it is still regarded as one of the best times, if not the best, for fans to see a match live. It brings families together and with relatives visiting, it is a chance for families to see a game. Or it is a chance to escape the in-laws.
Just like in years past, this Boxing Day will see bumper numbers in attendance. Fans will join in with the feast of soccer and for 90 minutes, forget about their team’s table position, and enjoy a day at the stadium. This year some of the top fixtures to watch are Liverpool vs Newcastle, Leicester City v Man City, and Spurs v AFC Bournemouth.