Batten down the hatches and lock up your kids, The Beast from the East is well and truly upon us.
Whilst in typical British and Irish fashion our response has been one of mass hysteria, sensationalist headlines, and sheer terror at the very sight of snow, the sphere of football has responded to winter in an even more drastic way.
Get out of the country. Shut everything down. Put the world on pause. Put football on pause!
This week saw plans revealed for a winter break in the Premier League, starting in 2020. Every club will be given 13 days without a game during the month of February to rest, recover and regroup.
It will see two weekends slim down to only five Premier matches and the FA Cup fifth round end up being plonked, without a chance for replays, in a midweek slot.
But just how will it affect the centrepiece of British life? Beyond the players’ chance for recovery after the bevvies and banquets of Christmas, beyond preparation for European football and any international fixtures that may be creeping up, beyond all of that technical and boring s**t – how will it affect our weekends of beloved football?
What we must ask ourselves is this: can we take any more bleak days without being able to watch our club play? Think of the international breaks, the Cup rounds you’ve already been knocked out of and, worst of all, the dour misery of summer.
Can we really take any more time without football? Unlikely.
Much like in the face of the big ol’ beast, we’re not really sure how to act when there’s no matches.
Sure, there’ll be the FA Cup midweek and five real games over the weekend, with the rest of English football still playing on as normal, but, with only half the Premier League in action, there’s basically no football at all.
So, let’s stick with that line.
Pubs will brim with dejected looking souls, drowning their hobby-less hearts with anything that has a percentage on the bottle. Spotty teens with dodgy IDs will neck their Smirnoff Ices alongside weary old regulars and their double whiskeys.
Fans will sing tearily in a corner, mournfully mumbling along to their favourite terrace chant; one that’s been cruelly snatched away from them that weekend.
A perverse sense of community spirit triumphing over adversity will begin to emerge until someone remarks on how low the quality of that night’s MOTD will be and the whole establishment will sink back into seeking salvation from the bottom of their glasses.
They say January is the month of misery, just wait till we see February with no football.
However, as the everyday plebs grieve the absence of, for want of a better word, ‘happiness’, the pros at the other end of football will be feeling quite different.
Players will relish the chance to catch up on the Christmas they never quite had and flights abroad will be caught aplenty. To paraphrase the great Cliff Richard – as every self-respecting writer regularly should – they’re all going on a winter holiday.
February will see hoards of footballers jet setting across the globe in the hunt for a slither of sunlight and the chance to let their well-conditioned hair down.
We’ll have the likes of Olivier Giroud, Cesc Fabregas, and Yohan Cabaye oozing class skiing around the Swiss Alps.
Manchester United’s resident bantz brigade will be enjoying their time at the Lanzarote Kids’ Club, having fun with the karaoke and water-parks with the rest of the immature, unamusing and nauseating little brats.
Serial Butlins attendees Jamie Vardy, Sam Allardyce, and Wayne Rooney will all be hitting up the most stylish places they know: Ibiza, Benidorm, and the Gillingham Little Chef. Rooney, of course, offering a drunken taxi service home for any women over the age of 50.
And finally, we’ll almost definitely see the West Brom boys giving it large at whatever sultry city they set their sights on next. The only boozed-up celebrity taxi service to rival Rooney’s, as we all well know, is Gareth Barry’s. Rumour has it he’ll take you anywhere, barring south London, as long as it has a drive-thru.
As the holiday comes to a close, one side of football will be suffering that end-of-summer heartache as they travel back home to good old Blighty, whilst the other side will shake with excitement at the prospect of a full Premier League schedule returning.
Normality will resume and life will settle back into its football-replete status quo. Well, it will for the most of us.
For the hedonists at West Brom and wine lovin’ Sam Allardyce, however, an extended holiday and the real party will just be getting started after an unexpected meet up. Taxi!