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Stop adding to menu of games or fans and players will be stuffed.

Byline: SPORTS VIEW FRIDAY Michael Gannon

THE belly is bursting, the belt buckle has given up the ghost and you're wondering if it's acceptable to roll in to the office wearing the stretchy hoose joggies that haven't seen a washing machine since 2011.

Christmas is a wonderful time of year but we all know there can be too much of a good thing.

It won't stop us, right enough.

From the moment the first hatch in the advent calendar is ripped open most of us lose our marbles while piling on the pounds.

Somehow the wee magnet on the fridge isn't just for keeping the door shut. It's a tractor beam, dragging us towards all the goodies that are meant to last right up to the bells and beyond.

Fat chance.

But while we're stuffing our chops there's something else we love to gorge on at this time of year. We attack the festive football campaign like one of the wean's selection boxes. We can't get enough of it.

The games are coming so thick and fast on the telly the couch is buckling under the strain.

It may wonderful time But we need to take a step back and put down the Crunchie bar. It's too much.

Not for us lot who lap it up but the poor sods who are being asked to flog themselves senseless.

Christmas might be a wonderful time of year - but not if you are a footballer in this country.

As enjoyable a feast it might be for armchair fans the December fixture list is frankly ridiculous and it's leaving teams looking completely clapped out.

Celtic Park and Ibrox in particular are looking like the set of M*A*S*H. No wonder. They've both played 35 matches already this season and this month has left both squads in bits, with still three games to go.

Connor Goldson fell over at Easter Road the other night and it was nothing to do with the slight slap on the chops from Flo Kamberi - the big man keeled over due to exhaustion.

It's the same over at Celtic. The Parkhead medical department has been under as much strain as the NHS after a winter flu outbreak.

Aberdeen are another side with nine games in December and it's left their squad being held together with gaffa tape and Blu Tack.

It's not just the players who are feeling the strain. The armchair mob might be loving it but just look around the grounds of late.

Hibs slashed the Old Firm allocations for Easter Road in the last week to give tickets to their own punters only for none of them to turn up.

There has to be a reason. There's been empty spaces at Parkhead and Ibrox as well and after five home games in a month the gaps have appeared at Pittodrie.

People don't have endless pots of money and when clubs are charging nearly 30 quid a whip for briefs it's no wonder punters are having to match tough choices with Santa needing his wedge in advance.

No one is arguing against having a winter shutdown but it's a bit of a crackpot notion when we are having to condense two months of football into four weeks to get it.

The players need a break because they are getting a break. That's messed-up logic in every way.

There has to be a better way of plotting a campaign without battering the players along with the wallets. The SPFL claim it's the impossible job compiling a fixture list but everyone else seems to manage it.

The Germans, who always seem to have cool names for stuff, call it the Winterpause, while France, Spain, Italy and Holland have a break without much fuss.

They might not have teams competing in Euro qualifiers during Wimbledon but they have huge amounts of players at World Cups and European Championship and kick off their campaigns well after we do.

So why is it such a struggle for us to get our calendar right? The UK's love of Christmas football doesn't help but we don't need to sacrifice the Boxing Day or New Year cards.

We can still have those games. Just don't have the brutal run towards because the players - and hardcore fans - have had a bellyful.

It may be a wonderful time of the year - but not if you are a footballer
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Dec 21, 2018
Words:733
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