The History of Christmas Day Football
Book a room
For exclusive offers
Best Price Guarantee Let us know and we'll beat it by 10%
Call us on 0151 459 3383 for Exclusive deals and offers

The History of Christmas Day Football

Christmas Day has been a time for tradition and family for nearly as long as the day has been around. But there was a time when Christmas Day Football was one of the great traditions of the English game.

While the notion may seem alien to football fans now, there was a time when Christmas Day wasn?t complete without watching some of the country?s best players show off their skills on the field.

The First Christmas Day Football Match

While there were small-scale matches played for years before, the very first Football League Christmas Day fixture wasn?t introduced until the second season in 1889. The landmark match was played between Preston North End and Aston Villa, the northern team beat the Midlands team 3-2 and a Christmas tradition was born.

The idea proved popular, especially after the First World War and crowds began to swell to record numbers. The early years of Christmas Day football pulled in some of the biggest crowds of the season, in 1948, more than one million fans gathered to watch all of the Christmas Day football games.

The popularity continued throughout the beginning of the 20th century and into the 1950s.

Dixie Dean?s Christmas Day Football Matches

As Everton?s star player during his heyday, Dixie Dean was certainly not excused from festive duties on the 25th December.

He played in many of the Blues? Christmas Day clashes, including a legendary 5-4 win against the Black Cats in 1926. A match where Dixie himself scored four of the winning goals.

Over the course of his career, Dixie Dean scored 10 goals for Everton on Christmas Day.

Notable Everton Christmas Day Footballing Moments


Before the first Football League match in 1889, Everton played a whole two matches in one day for a Christmas Day football match. In the morning they played against Blackburn Park Road before taking on Ulster FC for an annual exhibition match in the afternoon.

On Christmas Day in 1940, with the Christmas Day football hype in full swing, Everton?s Tommy Lawton took to the field for the Blues on Christmas morning before heading over the water to change shirts and represent Wirral?s Tranmere Rovers.

Christmas Day Football for the Players

With Christmas being a day to spend with family and loved ones, it?s understandable that certain football players weren?t too keen on postponing the turkey to play for the team.

Players were permitted to opt out for religious reasons, with Christmas? history being rooted in religion, but many players expressed their distaste.

Jimmy Greaves, of the England football team and Tottenham Hotpurs, writing in the Daily Express in 1958, said: ?Most of us would like to see an end to Christmas Day football too. It does not draw huge crowds, but it disrupts the home life of every player. No Christmas pudding for the footballer and if there?s an away game like we have at Blackburn this year, no Christmas either.?

Ray Barlow, famous for making more than 400 appearances in the Football League, wrote in Sports Argus in the same year: ?Personally, I don?t know any players who like the idea of a Christmas Day match.?

Christmas Day Football Today

In 1959, English teams played their last Christmas Day Football Match. Blackburn beat Blackpool at home and Coventry beat Wrexham and no more English matches were played on Christmas Day again.

Although there are no longer football matches on Christmas Day, the festive period still offers plenty of opportunity to catch up with your favourite team.

Now, Boxing Day is the prime time for getting your football fix at Christmas, with the Premier League hosting a number of matches to help get you out of the post-Christmas slump.

Dixie Dean?s Everton will be taking on West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns at 3 pm on Boxing Day.

Related news

Blog | 10th June 2019

The Lionesses to Look Out For at the Women’s World Cup

Much has been made of England?s supposed transition from perennial newbies to World Cup favourites. The women?s game is having its moment and England?s team, the Lionesses, are tipped for success at the Women’s World Cup in France. Confident, courageous and ground breakers, the Lionesses...

Blog | 30th May 2019

Opening Date Set for Dixie Dean Hotel in Liverpool

We?re excited to announce that the date is set for the grand Dixie Dean Hotel?opening. Officially taking place on Friday 5th July, everyone is invited to come along and join in the fun! Commemorating the outstanding life and footballing career of Everton legend Dixie Dean,...

Blog | 22nd May 2019

World Football Transfers: The Most Controversial Transfer Deals

With the 2019 summer transfer window well and truly open until 8 August,?we thought we’d take a look back over some of the most controversial football transfers of all time. Many of the greatest clubs in football history have had at least one transfer move...

Blog | 22nd November 2018

The 7 Best Everton Matches Ever

Emblazoned on the ironclad paneling that surrounds Goodison is a maxim that epitomises an array of Everton matches. Nil Satis Nisi Optimum avows that nothing, but unparalleled greatness is good enough. Throughout their 138 turbulent years of existence, Everton have been involved in a slew...

Blog | 9th October 2018

Everton FC: Discover Some Fascinating Goodison Park History

Goodison Park, or The Grand Old Lady as it?s affectionately known, has been the home of the Toffees for more than 120 years. First opened on 24 August 1892, this revered ground was the first major football stadium built in England. From being the first...

Blog | 24th October 2019

The Ultimate Everton Gift Guide

Ah, Christmas. The season of generosity. Whether it’s for your husband, neighbour, sister or secret Santa, you’ll almost certainly have an Everton gift to buy this Christmas. And, if you’re anything like us, you’ll be stampeding through Liverpool One asking yourself whether or not your...

Bar & Restaurant Blog | 8th October 2019

The Dixie Dean Hotel Invites You to a Roaring 1920’s Afternoon Tea

In celebration of the roaring 1920’s, The Dixie Dean Hotel is hosting a 1920?s Afternoon Tea of epic proportion; boasting the type of thriving atmosphere with added elegance for which Jay Gatsby himself would be proud of. We?ve decked out the restaurant so you can...

Blog | 24th September 2019

The Career of Mick Lyons – A Stalwart Evertonian

Here at the Dixie Dean hotel we like to celebrate our club and its heroes. Our restaurant is called No. 9?s in honour of those who have worn the famous shirt and over time we shall highlight some of these players via a series of...



What would you like to book?

We offer luxury rooms and unforgettable dining experiences

Book a room

Book direct for the best price guaranteed

With the Signature Price Promise you won't find our rooms cheaper anywhere else*





Please select the required amount of guests

For groups of 7 or more please contact us on
0151 459 3383