Postponements mean Christmas doesn’t feel the same this year, says Leeds United Women captain Catherine Hamill

Christmas is the best time – football every day.

By Catherine Hamill
Tuesday, 28th December 2021, 6:00 am

There’s always matches on in our house over the festive period. Footie on a Tuesday afternoon? Why not. It could be any team, and the telly’ll be on.

It didn’t feel the same this year, with so many Boxing Day games called off. Manchester City v Leicester City looked a great game, with Leicester coming close to making an amazing comeback, so it’s a shame that match wasn’t on TV.

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It’s hard to get in, these days. I haven’t been to Elland Road much in recent years. For a while, I was working Saturdays which counted me out of most fixtures and, by the time I’d left that job, more and more people were setting their focus on Leeds – even my friends that aren’t interested in football.

The last game I went to was the Whites’ 1-1 draw with Villa back in April 2019.

I watched from the West Stand, and it was a dramatic one – quite a few arguments, including Patrick Bamford and Anwar El Ghazi.

I had given some pre-match analysis on LUTV before kick-off. My old Leeds team-mate Rebecca Hunt and I were on media duties that day. I remember feeling relieved watching the first half, having done my bit, as Becca was up next at half-time!

Catherine Hamill in action for Leeds United Women at Wolves. Pic: LUFC.

It was nerve-wracking, as it was the first time I had done anything like that, and I’m used to playing football, not speaking about it.

I did my homework, and talked a bit about the teams’ form and what the game meant for each side, who were both chasing promotion. I remember that Villa had won 10 games in a row since their captain Jack Grealish had returned from a long injury. You must have to really love football to be a pundit. You’ve got to keep tabs on every club, every player.

There’s so much to look into, with 20 teams in the Premier League, at least 15 players to think about for each, including subs coming on and off.

You’d want to feel confident, and it takes a lot of research to sound like you know what you’re talking about.

Rebecca Hunt on the ball for Leeds United Women against Bradford City at Valley Parade. Pic: LUFC.

Though I’ve not been involved with LUTV for a while due to Covid, it is good that you get these opportunities with Leeds United Women. It’s not just a case of playing football, you get the chance to experience different things. It was a great experience for me - I felt good doing it, it was fun, and interesting to see another part of the game.

Appearing on LUTV allowed me to see if sports media is something I’d be up for taking further. I’m not sure I’ll be in a rush to do it again any time soon, though. Perhaps I’d be better at presenting than analysis. You give me the questions, I’ll ask the experts!

Fingers crossed the Burnley game will still be on next week. I’ll be meeting up with my dad and brother beforehand, if so, we’ll walk to the stadium together, then hopefully it’ll be three points for Leeds – a great little day out to kick off 2022.

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Tempers flare after Mateusz Klich's goal during Leeds United's 1-1 draw with Aston Villa at Elland Road in April 2019. Pic: Tony Johnson.