Pre-Christmas team parties are as much an English soccer tradition as the post-Christmas rush of games and they almost get as much coverage.
This year's biggest story involves a team party that did not take place, or so thought its manager. Almost a week after Harry Redknapp
would not hold a team party this year, it was learned 16 players had without Redknapp's knowledge headed to Dublin for a night of party three days earlier ...
"I am not happy and it will
be dealt with, and dealt with severely, on Monday," Redknapp said of the Dublin trip. "I was shocked when I heard about it. I didn't have a clue they were going and they were told not to do it.
They didn't ask my permission and they will have to take the consequences of that, which they will do. Other teams let their players have parties - Bolton were in Ireland having a party, Manchester
United have had problems as well. I just didn't want my players having one.
"I don't see why parties should happen in today's football -- they're more trouble than they're worth. Most
people can go out, get drunk, fall over and be stupid but as a footballer you can't do that. People are always waiting to catch you out by taking your photo or doing whatever. I don't sympathize
with players. Being sensible is part and parcel of being a footballer and you're well paid for it. I'm a football manager - I wouldn't go out and get drunk, falling around and pulling some old
slag. I'm not that stupid. Even if you wanted to do it, somebody would catch you out."
Redknapp is particularly sensitive to the issue of excess partying, having already fined Ledley King
and David Bentley for drunken outbursts this fall.