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Stanley defender’s double festive celebration
CHRISTMAS Day is often just like any other day for footballers. But for Accrington Stanley’s Michael Liddle it has always been extra special.
For December 25 is cause for double celebration in the defender’s household.
Liddle was born minutes into Christmas Day in 1989.
As a child the day started and ended with birthday celebrations, with Christmas dinner sandwiched in the middle.
Since turning professional, football has come first. But he still makes time to mark both occasions with his family and friends.
“I have a birthday morning and then we go into Christmas with the family, and then we go to my grandma’s for birthday tea at night.
“It’s all planned around my birthday really, so I like Christmas Day,” said Liddle, although he admits that has not always been the case – certainly last year.
“When you’re a scholar you get 10 days off or whatever, so then you’ve got a bit of time and you can go out with your mates.
“But since I’ve turned professional, last year was the first year I’ve been in on Christmas Day, and it was horrible,” he said.
“It was the first year I’d not woken up at home on my birthday.
“I had James Gray instead coming in and wishing me happy birthday. No presents. What good’s a hug?
“By the time we’d trained and I’d got home – to Haydon Bridge in Hexham, which is about a two-hour drive – they’d already finished half of Christmas and I felt out of it a little bit. It was weird but I’m prepared for it now.
“I’d hate the year that I couldn’t get home for Christmas Day though.”
Things have changed since Liddle’s youth, when the day was one long celebration.
There were times, however, when he would have preferred it not to land all on the same day.
“As a kid everyone used to ask why I didn’t have a birthday at a normal time,” said the former Carlisle defender, who will turn 24 this Christmas.
“I tried to talk my ‘mam’ into a second birthday that was separate but she wasn’t having it.
“For years I was like ‘why don’t I have a birthday in the summer?’ because I never had birthday parties when I was younger. It was just a bad time of year. Nobody wants to go anywhere around Christmas when you’re a little kid.
“Then Christmas came and it was unbelievable. But then it’s gone and it’s a year until it happens again. You’ve got to wait ages! And everyone says you get double presents but I don’t think you do.
“You get a lot of cards saying ‘Happy Birthday and Happy Christmas’ with a fiver in, so that’s like £2.50 for each. I am not sure that’s fair to be honest!
“But when everyone comes round to your house in the day the first thing people say is ‘Happy Birthday’.
“I quite enjoy it.”
These days, it’s all about points rather than the presents.
“Since I started playing football I don’t get any time to celebrate,” said Liddle.
“I get about an hour in the morning and then that’s it, birthday over.
“As long as we win. You can’t beat a birthday win.”
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