The Premier League has finally introduced a winter break in the middle of the league season, after years of watching Italy, Spain, Germany and France have a break over the winter period.
Despite the fact the country is coming off the back of an all-English Europa League and Champions League final season, with Chelsea and Liverpool reigning victorious, this break has been put in place for English teams to perform better in Europe’s knockout phase.
As the pause in the season is different to those across Europe – feeling more like an international break than a ‘winter break’ – it has received mixed reviews in its inaugural season due to the fact that the league is split in half during this process and the timing.
We went out onto the streets of Liverpool to find out what the locals thought of the introduction of the winter break and how they believe the format has worked.
“I think they’ve gone about it (the winter break) the wrong way.” Said John from Netherton.
“They should just have one break, and that’s it, rather than the way they’ve cut it in two.” The 68-year-old said.
We also spoke to Phil from Leeds, who agreed with this viewpoint.
“To be honest, I don’t understand it because some teams started earlier with the winter break, and some teams have started late. I know it’s hard on the players in the Premiership, but years ago they used to play 70, 80 games a season.” The 53-year-old said.
“There was no break – there was nothing. When Liverpool won the league, they used 13 players and they played about 70 games that year or something.
“They should have a break, I’m not saying they shouldn’t, but they should all do it together.”
Not everyone was a fan of the pause however, as 76-year-old Ken explained.
“I think they get quite well looked after, don’t you?” Said the Litherland native.
“They’re not like most of the ordinary workers who, whether it’s rain, hail, snow or whatever, they get out and do their job.”
Patrick and Emma from Dublin also agreed.
“That (the winter break) is nonsense.” The 56-year-old told us.
“They’re making a team play in the middle of it. We don’t get a winter break, take a break at Christmas.”
“Just get on with it, get it over and done!” Said the 53-year-old Emma.
Everton’s Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Tom Davies enjoying their winter excursions in New York City.
The timing of the break was the bigger issue for some people however, as Tom explained.
“I think they should do it over Christmas.” Said the 22-year-old from Crosby.
“If you look at leagues like the Bundesliga or the Italian league, they get Christmas off. But they expect English teams to go through and still perform in the Champions League when they (other leagues) get a break.
“You see players like (Jadon) Sancho, he was in Dubai over Christmas whilst Liverpool had like nine games in 20 days or something like that. It should all be equal in Europe.”
71-year-old Daniel also agreed that the timing was the main reservation with the break.
“It would’ve been better near Christmas and New Year because now they’re into the league again.”
“If they get into a bit of momentum – like Everton have now – it might disrupt them and they’ll probably get beat the next game back.”
Dortmund and England superstar Jadon Sancho in Dubai on the same day Liverpool played against Sheffield United in the Premier League.
It’s clear the break’s intention was considered as fairly positive, but the timing and its structure left a lot to be desired amongst the people we spoke to.
You can listen to the audio script here.
Photos credited to David Hawgood and Kane Brooker under CC License.