|Bow before our magnificence.|
With December's traffic numbers for The Offside coming out just a few days ago, it turns out The Liverpool Offside* managed to snag top spot for the third month in a row. Being December, the overall numbers were down a touch given various holidays and the unexpected winter break that saw the club going two weeks without a match, but apparently our five Australian readers were still willing to stop by occasionally, for which you have our thanks. We don't always get things right, but we do try to not abuse too badly this position of great power and influence that has rightly been bestowed upon us.
Elsewhere, we're the first hit when you search for "Liverpool blog" in the US, and the second hit when you do the same in the UK. It's probably safe to say that we are now, officially, the shit. What exactly that means, and just when it turns into a vacation home on the Riviera, is something we're still trying to figure out. One thing it probably does mean is that we should get right on a series of giant flashing banners that scream, "Number one Liverpool blog on the internet," because that seems a vaguely justifiable and not at all full-of-ourselves statement. But it would need more exclamation points. And flashing. That seems like something we should get our team of minions on right away.
We have a team of minions, right?
Anywho, with Roy Hodgson's recent departure, December feels a million years ago now, but even with that two week break over Christmas there were some interesting heres and theres, comings and goings, what-fors and what-have-yous for both the club and this blog as the year came to a close. The story of December, then:
* The month started with a generally uninspiring draw against Steaua Bucharest, but things weren't all bad as it secured Liverpool's Europa advance [click]
Though for Noel, the bigger question was whether the Joe Cole deal would go down as an even bigger flop at Liverpool than the oft derided Robbie Keane fiasco. Given another month and a half of nothing displays and niggling injuries, things haven't gotten any better for England's Lionel Messi [click]
* The Utrecht match was followed by a positive display against Houllier's lifeless Villa in the league [click]
Though it was around then that people really started to notice just how bad a run of form Kuyt was in, one that has unfortunately continued right into January [click]
And even with a few good results fresh in the memory, it was hard not to wonder about Hodgson's refusal to use his substitutes early enough for them to have any real impact [click]
* Good results or not, everybody seemed to fully assume that it would all go horribly wrong sooner or later this time around, and things went horribly wrong against Newcastle [click]
After which we discovered Roy Hodgson's schoolboy tactics for facing Newcastle [click]
...and also got what will perhaps be the single most lasting image of his tenure: the face rub [click]
* Then, with advancement in the Europa League wrapped up, the club gave free tickets to kids for the final home match, letting the next generation see one of the most dire displays at Anfield in recent history as the club shuffled its way to a ridiculously uninspiring nil-nil draw against Utrecht [click]
And on the back of that, the club ran right into an unexpected two week break, starting with the postponement of the Fulham match [click]
* When the games finally started to get back on track with a December 29 match against Wolves, things didn't go too well [click]
Which led to speculation that Hodgson's departure was immanent as real fears of relegation began to creep in [click]
Elsewhere, there were also a couple of Tuesdays With Roy entries, but with that series being wrapped now, the final installment seems a better place to head if one wants to look back on that running bit.
Well, that was fun. After a fashion. Here's to the glorious day when we finally nab ourselves that long dreamed of alcohol sponsor. In the meantime, God bless Australia, the land of the free.
*The Liverpool Offside is a subsidiary of Gobias Industries, a division of Chem-Grow, an Allen Crayne acquision, part of the Squimm Group.