A recurring theme, though, in the history of sport and recreation has been the persistence of old habits in the timing and styles of play. It is too easy to be blinded by the presence of the new. Not only do the traditional wakes weeks often still exist within the holiday patterns of today, but also - and in spite of the travel agents' efforts to persuade otherwise - there is a continuing endurance in some of the older holiday patterns. Only one-third of all holidays are, in fact, taken abroad, some 15 millions out of 48 millions according to 1987 statistics. 5 Blackpool alone, it is worth remembering, still caters for more bed-nights than the whole of Portugal, and although 20 per cent of the population now go away on holiday at least twice a year, many people take no break away from home at all. 6
The near-monopoly of the winter Saturday afternoon enjoyed by soccer for over half a century induced a complacency among its British administrators which is still hard to disturb. As originators of the game, they kept their distance from the rest of the growing football world. As employers, they kept their players under financial control and governed their conditions in a fashion that few Victorian mill-owners could have improved upon. As providers of entertainment, they paid scant regard to the comfort of their customers - Wembley Stadium and Arsenal's Highbury remain practically the only major stadia not to carry substantial reminders still of their pre-1914 origins.