Early Doors takes a nostalgic and sherry-fuelled look back at the year's big stories through the medium of recycled posts. ED returns on January 4.
December 1: Bono backs Ireland's World Cup bid
ED's take: Ireland's flagging campaign to go to the World Cup got the political shot in the arm it so desperately needed yesterday when it received the backing of Dublin's greatest son.
A man who heals the sick, protects the children, cures the lepers and gives succour to the poor. An inspiration and a figure of hope to the world's downtrodden and a financial lifeline to makers of crap sunglasses.
Yes - and Early Doors is genuflecting as it types this - Bono himself has lent his backing to the risible and ill-thought-out Irish appeal to become the 33rd team at South Africa 2010.
The FIFA president revealed the request yesterday morning, although he could not help smirking and adding "yes, really" as he did so. When Sepp Blatter thinks you're ridiculous, it could be time to rethink your strategy.
Bono thinks he can turn FIFA around? He should stick to the easy stuff, like eradicating AIDS from Africa. As the joke goes, what's the difference between Bono and God? God doesn't walk around Dublin pretending he's Bono.
December 4: The World Cup draw
ED's take: This evening, the world will be glued to its TV set to watch a long, drawn-out selection of numbers, chosen in a potentially life-changing but ultimately random manner.
Is it just ED, or does the World Cup draw resemble Deal or No Deal rather too closely for comfort?
Much as the popular tea-time entertainment show is dressed up in pseudo-scientific riddles to make it appear more than the televisual scratchcard it is, so a string of dignitaries have been enlisted to add substance to a draw that could obviously have been made on FIFA suit Jerome Valcke's laptop and revealed to the world via a tersely-worded press release.
Considering his ability to give meaning to the meaningless, and to inject equal measures of superstition and mawkishness, wouldn't Noel Edmonds be a better host than Charlize Theron?
He could do all the usual schtick, suggesting the group composition was not determined by a simple mathematical process, but by cosmic rays in his paisley shirt. He could even get the banker involved. Wouldn't it be great if the phone rang just before Pot 4 was drawn and a mysterious figure 'offered' Italy boss Marcello Lippi Serbia?
December 11: Apropos of very little some clever footballers
ED's take: - Queen of the South midfielder Ryan McCann, for whom the absence of a TV proved a catapult into German philosophy. McCann said: "As daft as it sounds, I never even had a telly in my flat - and you don't know how much you miss it until you don't have one. When it's not there you end up reading a lot of Nietzsche and things like that."
- Frank Lampard dispelled the myth that public schoolboys are all spoilt, feckless wasters by passing 12 GCSEs, including an A* in Latin, when at Brentwood School. And earlier this year it was reported he has an IQ above 150 - enough to qualify for Mensa and higher than Carol Vorderman's IQ which, judging by her performance on Never Mind the Buzzcocks this week, may well be in single figures.
- Matthew Lawrence turned professional in 21, having completed a degree in American Literature at Hartwick College in the US. He went on to write a column in the Daily Mirror, featuring literary gems such as: "Bleach, bleach, bleach, where for art thou??"
- Clarke Carlisle won a TV show called Britain's Brainiest Footballer in 2002, although the fact he beat Alan Brazil in the final rather calls into question the legitimacy of the title. Nothing phoney about Neil MacKenzie, formerly of Notts County, who went on Countdown in 2008 and won five shows on the trot, before eventually losing in the quarter-finals.
- Jean Tigana, who used to smatter his team talks with bons mots from the greats of French literature when at Fulham. One player, on seeing Tigana reading a book by Marcel Proust, reportedly exclaimed: "Proust? I thought he was a Formula One driver."
December 15: Cesc Fabregas is called up to the Catalan national team
ED's take: While a trip to Barcelona to jog round the Camp Nou for an hour or so is probably no more stressful than a Christmas shopping trip to Brent Cross, ED is not sure he should really be taking part.
There is a clue in Fabregas's quote: "Going to Spain and playing for the Catalan team." That's right. Whisper it near George Orwell fans, but Catalonia is not really a country.
Now, ED has no intention of stepping into a row about Spanish politics, centralisation versus independence and the supposed crushing of regional identities by General Franco.
Whether or not Catalonia ought to be a country, it isn't. There is no amount of 'Catalonia is not Spain' flags Barcelona fans can bring to the Camp Nou that will convince ED otherwise.
Catalonia does not have a seat at the United Nations, you can't travel the world with a Catalan passport, and it is not shaded a different colour from Spain in atlases (well, maybe really, really pig-headed ones).
ED knows it is possible to be both a proud Spaniard and a proud Catalan, but you could use the same logic to argue for a national team of Yorkshire, Liverpool or even - perish the thought! - Wales.
December 21: Roberto Mancini gets the Manchester City job
ED's take: So far, discussion of Mancini has been embarrassingly parochial.
Never mind that he spent seven years managing three of Italy's biggest clubs (Fiorentina, Lazio and Internazionale) - what has been the focus of the radio talk shows? The month he spent at Leicester City in 2001.
Former Leicester boss Peter Taylor was summoned on to Five Live's influential Sportsweek programme to give his recollections of Mancini, and you could hear the cogs in his brain whirring as he searched for a single recollection of the Italian's brief stay in the East Midlands.
The best Taylor could do was to say he was "charming", while Henry Winter related an anecdote about him scoring a brilliant goal in training. Consider yourselves fully clued up.