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All I want for Christmas

Crystal Palace - Norwich 2-0
Sheffield United - Crystal Palace 3-1
Rotherham - Crystal Palace 1-3

Santa Claus is not from Rotherham or Portsmouth, it is a hard real world out there in the Nationwide, no gifts are given, otherwise you would be playing against Warbury all the time.

However it is still an exciting time. The big fat snowman is coming to town. And not just my father but also Santa Claus is about to make his yearly journey. Christmas is almost like a game of football: we always wait these joyful events to colour otherwise so dull winter.

The essence of Christmas is that if you have been a good boy you will get more gifts. I have never been really gifted in anything but hopefully Santa will remember me this time. Because good I have been: I have unselfishly let other players play better than I have. I have also let other players score more goals and get better ratings. I have even let them look better on and off the pitch. These I consider really good and kind acts and I am really looking forward to Santa rewarding me. So I am waiting to get a lot of gifts, may be the ones I was never given for football.

To help his task I have made a wish list. It has been awhile since I have done it last time, but I feel that Santa has to know also a quiet voice from the Nationwide. Obviously I would like to wish that I was the best player in the world and that Palace would win every game, but even though Santa is good he isn’t a magician. However I am sure he is into football. So here are some wishes that I think he can provide.

Dear Santa, I wish for this Christmas that more of my passes would go to an own player in the future. It would make me and the whole of the SE 6 happier. I wish also for a new hamstring muscle, since the old one starts to be worn out. Furthermore I think I don’t deserve any more injuries. I wish for better linesmen to Worthington Cup games. I will also put down to my wish list that SKY sports won’t collapse like the ITV digital did which left many of my fellow professionals unemployed. I wish that the football season would be good, fair and exciting.

And dear Santa, if your elves are like the reporters from the News of the World and they have delivered a bad report about me, please give me at least a red matchbox car, promotion with Palace and let Finland to qualify to the next European Championships. Thanks Santa.

I won’t be there though to collect my presents but I have left big stockings for my presents. Meanwhile I am training football. I actually think our manager doesn’t believe in Santa because he has scheduled training for Christmas day. The real reason might also be the match fixtures, those have never heard of any public holidays.

When you think of it, us footballers are actually a part of peoples holiday. It is an English tradition that head of the family, usually resembling of Rudolf the Rednose at the time, will lead the whole of the family to the Boxing Day game. In England people seem to believe more in their own team than to Father Christmas.

Where I come from everything is different, after all Santa Claus is from Finnish Lapland. And no, he is not my father. For me Christmas used to be quite an un-athletic time of the year. Family, food and Father Christmas, those were three of the four f:s that even football couldn’t beat. I had a long preparation to Christmas holidays including things like Christmas calendar, decorating the house and X:mas tree, buying presents and making a lot of food, plus going to church. Christmas is a religious holiday after all.

However here in the first division the holiest thing during Christmas is that the referee is going to blow the whistle again. Between Santa and the New Year the points won or lost can prove to be vital come the end of the season. So this means footballers Christmas has to be different here.

I think I actually might spend Christmas by renting couple of movies from Blockbusters and ordering Chinese take-away. There is no time or will for other celebration, it is more important to prepare for the next match. So instead of having chocolate in the X:mas calendar I have protein bars. No Christmas tree or these annoyingly too many times heard “Jingle bells” -songs. And I have forgotten a long time ago about a fat turkey, it is more important to intake carbohydrate from pasta. I don’t have my family around, hardly any presents, just a good concentration for facing Portsmouth away.

The good side of being busy footballer during Christmas is to have a good excuse and self-conscience not to send Christmas cards to anyone or to buy any presents. It is a freaking nightmare to do any shopping in December. There are flying elbows and tackles on the Oxford Street and all streets are as crowded as at West Broms penalty box.

So overall my Christmas has changed a lot from the past but I am still looking forward for it. I have even made my wish list again. Moreover I am definitely not complaining. As a kid I used to go training alone in a snow during Christmas. I dreamed, even wished from Santa, to become a professional football player. So I am not sad or moaning to spend my Christmas playing football. Santa fulfilled my wish so that is why I know he is real. And now I have wished again. And the best part is that I don’t need to post my wish list, because as we all know even Santa Claus reads The Times.

This time I recommend:

1. Wish list
- Santa has to know -

2. Going to church
- It can give you a piece of mind at these busy times -

3. Living by four F:s
- All as important as football -

I do not recommend:

1. Oxford Street
- It is a dangerous human jungle out there -

2. Old X:mas songs
- I have heard Jingle Bells at least 100 times too often, only during this Christmas -

3. One True Voice
- It would rather see them as No Voice -

“ Look your closest relationships and you see yourself “


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