10th February 1991
The popular image of him is one of a dinosaur but George Graham could be progressive if he tried. Comments in a radio interview expanded on his views on the future of the English game a month earlier.
Graham’s frustration at this time was founded more on frustration and vested interest. Arsenal’s match against Nottingham Forest fell foul of the weather whilst Liverpool emerged victorious from the Merseyside derby to take full advantage and build a three-point advantage at the top of the table.
The proposition received support and opposition. Surprisingly, Graham Taylor, then England manager, supported the plan on the basis that the players risked injuries as the season progressed.
That we’re still talking about a winter break tells you how far the debate progressed. A mid-season interruption seems as likely now as it did then.
Whether the current suggestions by the ECA on the next cycle of the Champions League will change that remains to be seen. Their proposal of a closed shop competition chimes with the ideas that the bigger clubs are putting to the Premier League, e.g. playing matches on a Friday night the weekend before European ties.
Football is changing. Slowly and inexorably but not always for the best. You sense that the biggest changes are yet to come but none of them are going to have as positive an impact on player health as a mid-winter break. That’s asking too much.
click to enlarge