It’s that time of year already – when Santa attempts to navigate his way down our chimneys and deliver the contents of our Christmas wishlists to those of us who’ve been good, whilst delivering lumps of coal to all the 5-a-side outlaws, bandits and hackers out there.
But judging by the physique of Santa, he doesn’t play much 5-a-side himself (and why would he – the challenges of rounding up players at the north pole are logistically a nightmare). So, if you’ve got a special someone that you’re buying for who loves their football, you’ll need to take matters into your own hands and stock the presents yourself.
To help, we’ve put together a list of things that we think you can’t go wrong with. This post is intended to give you ideas, but please be aware that many of the links (when you click on the pictures) are affiliate links and will benefit the site, without costing you more, if you make a purchase using them.
For the player who feels the cold:
A wooly hat. Yes, you can play 5-a-side wearing a wooly hat so how about this little number here to adorn your giftee’s head? They’ll also get lots of wear out of it when they’re not playing football. This little number we picked out isn’t cheap at £25, but is a standout design.
Balls for Christmas
Nike Tiempo Football – £7.68 – A perennial conundrum is why so few people actually think of taking a ball, surely the key component of the game, to football. A few times we’ve turned up to casual games and nobody at all has brought one! Why not buy them a football so they have no excuses? Or at this price get them two. The design is simple but smart and the quality is very good for the price. We bought and reviewed ours in April and they’re still going strong. (also, the size 3 in one of the bright, vibrant colours is a superb gift if you’re buying for a football mad kid).
Soccer Tough / Soccer Brain – £12.60 each – Dan Abrahams, who we scooped an interview with, has written two great books to help players and coaches with football psychology. So, if you’re buying for a player or coach that is serious about improving, consider soccer tough (for the player) or soccer brain (for the coach) – both have 5* ratings on Amazon.
Fabrice Muamba: I’m Still Standing – £9.09 – Fabrice Muamba ‘died’ on the football field when his heart stopped beating for an incredible 78 minutes. Miraculously, he survived and then wrote this book. It’s an easy read, charting his quite amazing journey from being a kid in war-torn Congo to full professional with Arsenal. An inspiring tale on many levels – we reviewed it here. 5 star rated on Amazon.
The Gaffer: The Trials and Tribulations of a Football Manager – £11.55 – The book that claims to tell you what being a manager is really like. I met Neil and he was good enough to sign me a copy of this. Think you’ve got problems trying to organize 5-a-side? Feel better about your plight reading about the quite bizarre shenanigans that Neil Warnock had to deal with when he was Crystal Palace and then QPR boss. It’s also got some good philosophy on management from one of football’s most consistent managers.
FIFA 14 – About £30 – this was released in November and, although there has been some grumbling that it isn’t quite as good as FIFA 13, you probably can’t go wrong with this as a gift for anyone who loves their PlayStation or Xbox (or anyone lucky enough to be getting the new versions of those consoles for Christmas).
Football Manager – £18.00 – the ultimate life absorber. One minute you’re enjoying unwrapping gifts with your loved ones; 24 hours and no sleep later you’re tearfully interrupting the family’s boxing day tv viewing to announce that you’ve finally taken Aston Villa to champions league qualification – an emotional moment indeed. Hours of fun guaranteed. The reviews on Amazon, it must be said, are slightly underwhelming this year though. Also available on iPad / Android making it a great gift for anyone getting a tablet this Christmas.
The Class of ’92 – £13 – Newly released for this Christmas, it’s a documentary charting the rise of the famous Manchester United boys: David Beckham, Nicky Butt, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Phil and Gary Neville. A hit with any Manchester United fan who wants to distract their self from the current plight of the team. Also, a nice conundrum working out how they’d play and who would be on the bench if they had a 5-a-side team.
Escape to Victory – £3 – A classic stocking filler and feel good movie starring the improbable combination of Sylvester Stallone, Michael Caine, and Pele all trying to escape from a Nazi jail by means of a football match against their captors. Pele is magnificent, Caine provides the acting gloss and Stallone fails to properly convince between the sticks as the goalkeeper.
*If you do click on any of the links on this page and end up making a purchase then this blog gets a modest referral fee. The Gaffer isn’t Tiny Tim Cratchit and he doesn’t want your Turkey this Christmas, but if you want to click any of them then your purchase won’t cost you any more than it otherwise would – and the fee will go towards the running of the site, with our thanks.