Home Football Top 10 Tips Learned From Footballers’ Christmas Parties

Top 10 Tips Learned From Footballers’ Christmas Parties


Have you got your works Christmas party sorted yet? No? Well, you might want to think about organising something pretty soon. Whether it’s the pub next door, a fancy pants restaurant somewhere swanky or a fun n’ sports-themed outing down at your nearest Rileys, it’s time to get booking!

It doesn’t matter if it’s a couple of drinks, a nice meal or a full-on evening of booze-fuelled festive merriment, whatever you do – be sensible. Only there are plenty of ways you can embarrass yourself at a Christmas party. Just ask footballers. Barely a year goes past without at least one club having a gang of senior players disgrace themselves while celebrating the festivities.

We’ve collected a stockingful of crazy footballer Christmas party anecdotes here. The advice? Basically learn from their mistakes. So if you want your Christmas do to go well and not disgrace yourself, do the opposite of what these daft players did…


1. If You’re Doing Fancy Dress Make Sure You Keep It Inoffensive

Christmas Parties

Fancy dress shindigs can be a lot of fun. But it’s not hard to misjudge the tone and pick a pretty inappropriate outfit. That said, it should be fairly obvious to most people that a Ku Klux Klan get-up should be off the cards. Even though it is tempting due to its relative ease to put together.

One Liverpool player disregarded any thought of political correctness when he swanned into one Christmas party in full white hood and robe, though…

“You can’t come in like that,” said Steve McMahon, the player’s friend and colleague. “John Barnes is in there.” “No, he’s not,” the hooded partygoer replied. “He’s in here,” he said, taking off his hood.

John Barnes there. Footballing god. Rapper extraordinaire. Practical joke kingpin.


2. Make Sure Secret Santa Gifts Are Thoughtful

Christmas Parties

Secret Santa is a nice thing to do. Everyone likes receiving gifts. Except, y’know, like, horrible ones. We’re assuming German international Didi Hamann saw the funny side of receiving Adolf Hitler’s anti-Semetic magnum opus Mein Kampf as a gift from someone at Newcastle one year. Or at least he pretended to, anyway.

Our advice? Just buy your work colleague a nice present. Something they’d like. And not something that espouses the merits of genocide.


3. Play Nice

Christmas Parties

Remember Stig Tofting? The huge barrel-chested ex-Bolton midfielder? Well, he was a bit of a ‘hard man’, wasn’t he? And didn’t much enjoy people messing with him. Even his pals. At a festive do at one club (Denmark’s Aarhus), a fellow player roughhoused with him and tore Stig’s shirt. Within minutes, Tofting had knocked out four teammates in a mass brawl.

Suffice to say, Stig was later sacked (by a very brave manager).


4. Check With Your Boss Before Organising

Christmas Parties

If you organise a Christmas event behind your boss’ back, he will find out. So if your manager prohibits the post-works drinks, better listen. Only when Robbie Keane led a revolution against Harry Redknapp’s ‘no Christmas party’ rule and laid on flights for all his teammates back to his Emerald Isle homeland, word quickly spread. And the gaffer was not pleased. Especially as three days after the £2,000-a-head trip, a listless Spurs would go on to lose 1-0 at home to Wolves…

Cue the hairdryer treatment from ‘arry.



Christmas Parties

Lighting up a cigar inside any venue now is a big no-no, regardless of what time of year it is. As a party faux pas it’s a fairly mild one, though. Especially when you compare it to the rather infamous story about a certain Joey Barton and where he put a cigar during the 2004 Manchester City Christmas party. It was even worse than where President Bill Clinton put one… Barton aimed for a youth player’s eye socket.

As if to make matter worse, 18 year-old Jamie Tandy took the stogy to the face from a fancy dress-clad Barton. Who had the future Burnley midfielder and pretend philosopher come as? The clue’s in the choice of weapon… It was ‘Sir’ Jimmy Savile. Oh dear.


6. Remember Your Toilet Training

Christmas Parties

It was a case of white snow and golden showers during West Ham’s festive knees-up in 2001. Camped out in London’s exclusive Sugar Reef nightclub, the Hammers players dominated the place as the drink flowed. But one player, anonymous Australian bit-part player Hayden Foxe, decided to skip(py) the queue for the gents and take a leak at the bar. Another player vomited at the bar and eventually security and the police escorted the entire squad out.

Foxe was fined two weeks’ wages and later ditched at the end of the season on a Bosman. Merry Christmas indeed.


7. Don’t Beat Up Cars

Christmas Parties

West Ham have form here. Just three years prior to the urban Foxe’s bladder-busting bad behaviour, an altogether more manly incident occurred at the cockney club’s Christmas do. Who was behind it? None other than the club’s then-manliest player, Mr. Neil ‘Razor’ Ruddock. He convinced Trevor Sinclair to join him in a little game he (probably) likes to call ‘a bit of a larf’. We called it the bonus level of Street Fighter 2.

The general gist of things? The two of them attempted to rip up a parked car sans weapons. An attempt that that was all too successful. To two were later arrested but escaped with just fines after police received ‘conflicting evidence’. Presumably the 19 year-old beauty therapist who owned the Mini Cooper said they did damage her car and the solicitors of the obscenely wealthy drunk idiots said that they didn’t


8. Keep Dwarves on the Floor

Christmas Parties

Throw a party. Throw your hands in the air. But don’t throw dwarves. Even if it is Christmas, they’re all dressed up like Snow White’s favourite diamond miners and Vinnie Jones tell you to. That said, everyone did at one Chelsea bash a good few years back now. And precisely because it was Vinnie Jones telling them…

“The idea was to pick up a dwarf and hurl him as far as you could,” says ex-Chelsea striker Tony Cascarino. “I had a go, but I can’t remember how I did. They were heavier than I expected.”

Not okay.



Christmas Parties

We’ve already advised you that the King High Wizard of the KKK isn’t a smart dress-up move. But just in case we didn’t ram home the point strongly enough early, we’ll elaborate. ALL racist outfits are a Christmas party no-no. And that goes for Nazi ones too. Even if SS Officer get-ups can look quite smart.

David ‘Buggsy’ Burrows pitched up to one Liverpool party in one and ‘the lads’ all thought it was ‘great banter’. Well, most of them did, anyway. Israeli international Ronnie Rosenthal was slightly less impressed, we imagine.


10. We Mean It About Gifts Too – BE NICE

Christmas Parties

Hopefully you’ve not got colleagues like Dennis Wise. His gift to Robbie Savage during one festive Leicester City bash caused a certain amount of offence. The team were doing poorly and Wise blamed Savage. So he decided to demonstrate that in the rather abstract form of an offensive Christmas present. A club teddy bear impaled on a, er, ‘marital aid’.

Presenting the gift, Wise apparently said: “Take this, because you’re the only p***k in a Leicester shirt at the moment.”

Savage responded by wiping a load of chocolate over his diminutive ‘friend’. Cue an enormous punch-up between the pair.

If you’re getting bored of the same old Christmas parties year in, year out – change it up. Head down to your nearest Rileys and let us host you. Festive foods, a few drinks and as much pool, snooker, darts and table tennis as you like… Sound good? Book us a slot with here today.

Steve Charnock A freelance writer who writes news stories, features, articles, reviews and lists. But *always* forgets to write his mum a birthday card. Follow him on Twitter or follow him into the pub and buy him a drink.