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Jamie Carragher on what Christmas is like for players | Off Script
In the latest Off Script, Jamie Carragher explains what life was like for footballers around the festive period
Last Updated: 19/12/19 12:04pm
What's Christmas Day training like? Do players get booked on purpose to miss Boxing Day? And who bought a bird in a cage for a team-mate at Liverpool?
In the latest Off Script, Jamie Carragher explains what life was like for footballers around the festive period.
Watch the latest Off Script video above - including Carra dressed up as Santa! - or listen to the podcast
What's Christmas Day training like?
For Carra, it all depended on whether your Boxing Day fixture was home or away…
"The worst is when you're away from home on Boxing Day, and what managers would do if you're away from home is train later, maybe 3pm or 4pm on Christmas Day. You'd always train on Christmas Day, that's just the norm.
"If you've got a home game, it was a case of getting in as early as you can, just to do something from 9am to 10am and then go back home. Everyone came in with their new Christmas coats, and all sorts!
"But for the away game, you'd be in a hotel on Christmas night. To be honest, it never really bothered me too much. Sammy Lee would always say to us: 'Your Christmas is the summer' because you get so long off.
"My job on Christmas morning was to basically bin-bag all of the rubbish from home and lash it out at Melwood when I got into training!"
Booking for Boxing Day?
Would players get booked on purpose, knowing they could be suspended for Boxing Day?
"Did it happen? Yeah. Oh yeah.
"I won't name names. But it was always the one to get out of! Boxing Day or New Year's games, so you could have a little bevvy in those days."
Could you have a celebratory drink?
It's all or nothing for Carra: drink for a big night out, or don't drink at all!
"I'd never drink much at Christmas. I don't understand people that have one or two drinks, I've never got my head around it. You're either going out, having a good bevvy, or you're not. I've never drank in the house, ever! I don't get it!
"But a lot of your family couldn't get their heads around it, which I always found was strange. They'd say: 'Oh, have a drink will you! What's the problem, your game is in two days!' because they're thinking of themselves playing Sunday League football!"
The Liverpool Secret Santa!
Carra reveals how Peter Crouch bought Jose Mourinho's book for Rafa Benitez after the Spaniard introduced a Secret Santa at Liverpool for the first time, and also explained how Xabi Alonso bought a feathered bird in a cage for an unnamed team-mate...
"With Secret Santa at Liverpool, Peter Crouch actually bought Jose Mourinho's book for Rafa Benitez. I think there was a bit of an obsession about each other at that time, we played against them so often!
"He also mentioned Xabi Alonso bringing a bird in for one of the players, I can't name names! The Secret Santa was Benitez's idea, and it wasn't something I'd done before!"
The dinner was the problem…
Carra explains how drinking wasn't necessarily the issue around the festive time, but the Christmas dinner, with all the trimmings, posed most of the problems…
"The managers I had put the trust in players - I think they knew nobody was going to go out drinking, but the big thing was the Christmas dinner, the day before the game. It's not something you'd usually have, a huge dinner with all sorts of bits and bobs on it, with a game the next day. It was always about being careful with that, more than anything.
"When I was playing, players were still quite professional, but I'd say 10, 15 years before me, the managers maybe had a bit more of a worry."