AFC Wimbledon stars Stacy Long and Jack Midson have given an insight into the life of a professional footballer over the Christmas holidays.
The Dons are in the middle of a dogfight to stay in League Two and they face two crucial games at home to Northampton Town (Boxing Day) and Oxford United (Saturday).
So there can be no stuffing your face with turkey and chocolate, or having too much to drink, on Christmas Day.
However, more troublesome is the Dons’ New Year’s Day 360-mile round trip to Torquay United – so there can be no New Year’s Eve champagne or party poppers at midnight.
Midson said: “It is part and parcel of the life of a professional footballer. I’m in bed by 10.30 on New Year’s Eve, I can always watch the highlights on television the next day, and have to make sure I don’t over-indulge on Christmas Day.
“Normally Christmas Day involves a run out somewhere to keep the body ticking over.
“It sounds obvious, but if we indulged in Christmas and the new year celebrations like everyone else, then we would not have any chance come the matches.”
He added: “No one wants to let their team-mates down, so every is in the same boat.”
Midfielder Long, who joined the Dons in the summer, says he has grown accustomed to the subdued holiday period.
“We never really enjoy New Year’s Eve, but we get used to it. Being a professional footballer is a job, and we’re very lucky to have a job that we all enjoy, even though it has a big impact on Christmas,” he said.
“My family know what I have to do and, probably most importantly, the fans would not appreciate us turning out with hangovers and getting thrashed by a more professional side.”
He added: “Be a footballer is, contrary to what many people think, not the most sociable of careers.”
Midson said: “I am sure when my football career is over I shall be enjoying the festivities, but for the time being, and this year in particular, the only thing I want for Christmas is some good results.”