Boxing Day football memories: Sportsmail remembers the festive fun from past years
21:00 GMT, 24 December 2012
10:12 GMT, 25 December 2012
While most of Europe sits back and enjoys a winter break, the English football season cranks up into overdrive over the festive period. Here, Sportsmail reflects on Boxing Day brilliance from the past.
Christmas cheer: Boxing Day traditionally throws up some classic encounters
Crystal Palace 2 Brighton 0, 1986
Alan Mullery was returning to Selhurst Park with his beloved Brighton – two years after he was fired as Palace manager.
This time he couldn't turn the south coast club's fortunes around and they ran into an upwardly mobile Palace team managed by Steve Coppell at the age of just 31.
The Eagles, playing in their legendary red and blue sash strip – this one produced by Hummel – went ahead through winger Alan Irvine, who is now David Moyes' academy director at Everton.
In front of just over 8,000 supporters Palace scored a second through former Aylesbury striker Phil Barber.
Sheffield Wednesday 3 Manchester United 3, 1992
Two of the best teams in the country produced a Boxing Day classic with 37,000 inside Hillsborough.
Boxing on Boxing Day: Manchester United and Sheffield Wednesday played out a thriller in 1992
A David Hirst-inspired Wednesday were three up by half-time but United fought back with Cantona, whose legend was in its infancy, grabbing the equaliser six minutes from time.
United went on to win the Premier League and Wednesday suffered double cup final heartache to Arsenal.
Everton 2 Man United 6, Boxing Day 1977
An Everton team going for the title were favourites at home to a United side languishing in 14th place in the First Division table – even more so because Paddy Roche was deputising in goal for the injured Alex Stepney.
It was asking too much for Roche to keep a clean sheet, and Martin Dobson and Bob Latchford scored for Gordon Lee’s side. But goals from Lou Macari (2), Steve Coppell, Jimmy Greenhoff, Gordon Hill and Sammy McIlroy gave United a comprehensive win in front of nearly 50,000 at Goodison and a Boxing Day to remember.
Liverpool 5 West Brom 0, 2004
Boxing Day is curious with regards football. There is always a crackle in the atmosphere at games and the mood is generally good but despite racking my brains, I'm struggling to remember one humdinger of a game that stands out above everything else.
Captain marvel: Steven Gerrard was on the scoresheet as Liverpool ran riot in 2004
Saying that, Boxing Day 2004 was pretty good. Harchibald won the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton, Kicking obliged half an hour later in the King George and Liverpool then demolished West Brom in the evening kick-off, winning 5-0 with Jon Arne Riise nearly ripping the net apart with one thunderbolt.
Lincoln City 1-2 Grimsby Town, 2011
One of the genuinely good things about playing in the Blue Square Premier has been the emphasis on holding local derbies over the festive period.
It’s a fantastic way to increase attendances and attention while people are at home with their families over Christmas, which is why the programme is dominated by derbies again in 2012.
Grimsby's 2-1 win at Lincoln last year was a highlight (although not quite as sweet as the 3-1 in the ‘return leg’ on New Year’s Day): let’s have the same again this time around, please.
Birmingham City 3 Aston Villa 0, 1982
Looking at the record books, it was 24 hours after Boxing Day, but I think every Birmingham City supporter worth his salt remembers what took place in 1982 in the Second City derby.
Aston Villa were, after all, the reigning European Champions. Birmingham City were rooted to the foot of the old First Division.
However, that didn't stop over 40,000 supporters packing out the ground, including 6-7,000 Villa fans housed in the Tilton Road End of the ground. It made for a cracking atmosphere.
Goals from Noel Blake, the late Ian Handysides and a scrambled effort from Mick Ferguson unexpectedly lifted the Blues from the foot of the table.
Birmingham City had taught the reigning European Champions a lesson. It's not a sentence they hear too often at St Andrew's…
Blackburn 2 Aston Villa 1, 1998
Brash, cocky, utterly confident, John Gregory brought second-placed Aston Villa to Blackburn on Boxing Day 1998.
Upsetting the odds: Blackburn turned the tables on John Gregory's Aston Villa in 1998
Struggling Rovers had just
sacked Roy Hodgson and recruited Brian Kidd, who had made a decent start
although the appointment would turn out to be disastrous.
the time I was working in the north-west and Blackburn were one of 'my'
teams. In a season of unmitigating lows, this was a rare high.
Gallacher and Tim Sherwood got the goals in a 2-1 win, aided by the
sending-off of Michael Oakes. Riccardo Scimeca scored for Villa.
memory Gregory was superbly entertaining in the post-match press
conference. And one year later, I had moved to the Midlands and Villa
had become one of 'my' teams. Strange world.
Coventry 0 Crystal Palace 2, 2007
This is a bit of an obscure one, but it sticks in my mind because it was my first Boxing Day game as a working journalist.
It wasn't memorable, Palace cruising to a 2-0 win at the Ricoh Arena thanks to goals from Clinton Morrison and Paul Ifill.
Handily, I was covering the Eagles for a local newspaper which means post-match player interviews were a hell of a lot easier to come by. A pretty Merry Christmas all round.
Stoke City 0 Manchester United 1, 2008
A personal rather than professional memory for me, given I have yet to work a Boxing Day fixture.
Argy bargy: Carlos Tevez was the hero in the closing stages for Manchester United at Stoke
The Britannia Stadium on 2008 was the setting and another stubborn performance from Stoke the context. United had just returned from winning the Club World Cup in Japan and were showing signs of jet-lag, with the score 0-0 into the final ten minutes.
No hangovers from Christmas indulgence in the stands though, with the atmosphere in both home and away sections particularly lively. A reminder of football’s raw pleasure.
When it seemed United would let two points slip, Carlos Tevez struck to send visiting bodies sprawling. A vital win on the way to a record-equalling 18th title.
hard to be specific but part of my love of English football stems from
Boxing Days visits with my Dad to any one of the grounds in the
north-west close to where I grew up.
Ewood Park, Turf Moor, Goodison, Anfield and Maine Road all got a visit
at one stage or another over the years. Turn up, pay on the gate, stand
(on tiptoes) on the terrace and go home again. Not quite as easy these