The Football League is set to reach a Boxing Day milestone on Saturday, with just 69 goals needed to reach an all-time total of 10,000 Boxing Day Football League goals.
With Boxing Day matches traditionally being a fan favourite, the analysis has been revealed as part of The Football League’s ‘Come home for football’ campaign, encouraging people to go to a match and join what will be over one million supporters that will attend matches in the Sky Bet Football League over Christmas and New Year.
With 35 fixtures due to be played on Boxing Day this year across the Sky Bet Championship, League 1 and League 1, it is likely that one of them will see the 10,000 goal scored – with it then having taken 3,349 Football League Boxing Day fixtures and 127 years to reach that total.
The first ever Boxing Day games were played in 1888 in the inaugural season of The Football League. Bolton Wanderers and Preston North End were the first ever Boxing Day victors with away wins at Derby County and West Bromwich Albion respectively.
In the time since then, Manchester United are the side to have picked up most Boxing Day points having accumulated 137, ahead of Preston North End (118 points), West Bromwich Albion (117), Nottingham Forest (113) and Sheffield United (111).
Four clubs (Tottenham Hotpsur, Birmingham City, Brighton & Hove Albion and Huddersfield Town could reach the 100 point milestone from Boxing Day games which only 17 clubs have done so to date.
Of the current 92 league clubs, Burton Albion and Newport County have a 100% Boxing Day record, while Wycombe Wanderers have the lowest win percentage on Boxing Day, having won just four of 20 Boxing Day games played.
First Ever Boxing Day Games
Derby County 2 (Higgins 2), Bolton Wanderers 3 (Davenport, Milne, Brogan)
Att. 3,500 in the County Ground, Derby
Higgins’ first goal came in the 7th minute, and his second after 20 mins. Brogan and Davenport equalised before halftime.
West Bromwich Albion 0, Preston North End 5 (Jimmy Ross 2, Goodall 2, Gordon)
Att. 7,000 at Stoney Lane, West Bromwich
Goodall’s first goal came after 10 minutes play.
* Includes all Football League & Premier League matches
Boxing Day Stats*
· There have been 3,520 Boxing Day league fixtures played in The Football League and Premier League combined since 1888, with 1,819 home wins, 858 away wins and 843 draws.
· The biggest Boxing Day win was Darwen 12-0 Walsall in 1896
· The highest aggregate score for a Boxing Day game was Tranmere Rovers 13-4 Oldham Athletic in 1935. (Oldham had beaten Tranmere 4-1 at Boundary Park 4-1 on Christmas Day. When asked what he remembered of the 13-4 game, Tommy Williamson said many years later “the pitch was ankle deep in mud, and Lewis Caunce, Oldham’s goalkeeper, played a blinder”)
· The player with the most appearances on Boxing Day is former England international goalkeeper David James, with 19.
· The leading Boxing Day goalscorer with 15 is Harry Johnson (Sheffield United and Mansfield Town).
· 162 hat-tricks (or better) have been scored on the day, with Bunny Bell of Tranmere Rovers scoring 9 in the 13-4 result v Oldham Athletic (1935) and Bert Lister scoring 6 goals for Oldham Athletic v Southport (1962). Oldham’s Colin Whittaker scored a hat-trick in the same game.
· 194 own goals have been scored in Boxing Day fixtures
· More players have been sent off on Boxing Day than any other day in the calendar. A total of 273 players have been sent-off in Boxing Day games. Only two other days in the calendar have recorded more than 100 dismissals, Dec 28th (124) and Jan 1st (104). However, it should be noted many more games are played on Dec 26th.
* Statistics are for both Football League and Premier League matches.
All statistics and analysis provided for The Football League by Tony Brown of ENFA.