Boxing day football

Watching football matches on Boxing Day is very much part of the traditions of Christmas in my house.

Over the years, I’ve seen some thrilling games and exciting wins at this time of year. Of course, there have been some years that have been much less enjoyable and the football has taken the edge of what would otherwise have been a lovely holiday.

Since I started going to games, I think my most favourite Boxing day was the 3-2 win at Ipswich Town on 27th December 1982. At the time, it was the most unexpected result. Norwich were struggling in the league and a win at Portman Road seemed a very unlikely outcome.

My ticket from the brilliant 3-2 win at Ipswich in the 82/83 season

On the day, it was a properly entertaining match.

Norwich took the lead from a Peter Mendham header on 24 minutes but Ipswich leveled before half-time. Norwich were back in front again on 65 minutes with a stunning shot from Peter Mendham again. The lead only lasted 3 minutes and it looked like finishing 2-2.

Then, right at the death, Martin O’Neill hit an utterly exquisite 89th minute free-kick into the top corner of the net to win the match.

Complete delight in the away end and it was the first of many occasions I’ve been lucky enough to see Norwich win at Ipswich. It’s still one of my very best trips to Suffolk.

There was a crowd of 29,596 for the match which also saw Mick Channon make his debut for the Canaries. What a great contribution he would go onto to make.

Previous Results over Christmas

Here’s a list of all the Boxing day (or first after Christmas) games since I started watching matches with the Norwich score listed first.

78/78 Ipswich Town (A) 1-1
79/80 Ipswich Town (H) 3-3
80/81 Ipswich Town (A) 0-2
81/82 Luton Town (H) 1-3
82/83 Ipswich Town (A) 3-2
83/84 Ipswich Town (H) 0-0
84/85 Arsenal (H) 1-0
85/86 Charlton Athletic (H) 3-1
86/87 Nottingham Forest (H) 2-1
87/88 Derby County (A) 2-1
88/89 West Ham United (H) 1-0
89/90 Manchester City (A) 0-1
90/91 Manchester United (A) 0-3
91/92 Manchester City (A) 1-2
92/93 Tottenham Hotspur (H) 0-0
93/94 Tottenham Hotspur (A) 3-1
94/95 Tottenham Hotspur (H) 0-2
95/96 Southend United (H) 0-1
96/97 QPR (A) 2-3
97/98 Charlton Athletic (A) 1-2
98/99 QPR (A) 0-2
99/00 QPR (A) 2-1
00/01 QPR (A) 3-2
01/02 Nottingham Forest (A) 0-1
02/03 Brighton & Hove Albion (H) 0-1
03/04 Nottingham Forest (H) 1-0
04/05 Tottenham Hotspur (H) 0-2
05/06 Sheffield United (A) 3-1
06/07 Southend United (H) 0-0
07/08 Charlton Athletic (H) 1-1
08/09 Crystal Palace (A) 1-3
09/10 Millwall (H) 2-0
10/11 Sheffield United (H) 4-2
11/12 Tottenham Hotspur (H) 0-2
12/13 Chelsea (H) 0-1
13/14 Fulham (H) 1-2
14/15 Millwall (H) 6-1
15/16 Tottenham Hotspur (A) 1-3
16/17 Reading (A) 1-3
17/18 Birmingham City (A) 2-0
18/19 Nottingham Forest (H) 3-3
19/20 Aston Villa (A) 0-1
20/21 Watford (A) 0-1
21/22 Arsenal (H) 0-5

My Top 3 Christmas Games

Looking at this list, my top 3 Boxing day games I’ve been to are:

  • That 3-2 win at Ipswich in 82/83
  • A very lively 3-3 draw with Ipswich at Carrow Road in 79/80 with a last minute equalizer for City as Keith Robson deflected a shot from David Jones into the Town net.
  • An enjoyable 3-1 win over a very good Charlton Athletic in 85/86 on our way to winning the old league 2 (now the Championship) title.

My Worst 3 Christmas Games

By contrast, my worst 3 Boxing day games are:

  1. Last season’s utterly miserable 5-0 thrashing by Arsenal
  2. Losing 3-0 at Manchester United in 1989. It was a very long trip to make on Boxing Day and Norwich were comprehensively outplayed.
  3. Losing 1-0 to Southend at home in 1995. It was about that time that it was really clear the Canaries weren’t going to get promoted straight back to the Premier League and the start of an extended stay in the Championship.

Hopefully, this season’s game at Luton will be memorable for all the right reasons.