Manchester United manager Louis Van Gaal has questioned the hectic English Premier League schedule over Christmas and bemoaned the time he will need to take away from his family.
Van Gaal, whose full name is Aloysius Paulus Maria (or Aloysius Paul Mary), said: "I have a wife, kids and grandchildren, and I cannot see them at Christmas."
While the United boss later accepted that he needs to adapt to the way of life in the Premier League, his comments are quite refreshing in focusing on his family at this important time of year. Sadly the festive fixture list has become a real barrier to a family Christmas for many involved in football in recent years. While players and other staff do tend to avoid having to play games on Christmas day, they are often required to train on that day in preparation for boxing day fixtures.
Yesterday we touched on the modernisation of saints feast days and how they have lost their real meaning. You can't help but feel the same is happening to Christmas. First it was Christ himself who was erased out of the picture, and now it's the family.