I forgot to mention that George Michael’s “Last Christmas” has clearly made it into the regular rotation of classic Christmas songs despite being a (relatively) recent original song.
It's not Christmas in Germany before a group of ultras starts singing Wham's Last Christmas in the away end.— DW Sports (@dw_sports) December 21, 2020
Mainz fans from 2018, via @fums_magazin pic.twitter.com/S7Q9egb2fy
Ramble of the Day
I always think of today as a sort of conclusion to the year for the Hoddle — a clustered fixture list to close the year and each of our inconsistent and unpredictable holiday schedules mean we’re all bouncing in and out of here. As a result, I’d like to use this occasion to congratulate all of us for just about making it to the end of 2020!
I don’t just mean that in the slightly comedic way, in reference to how this year has been particularly awful in big and small ways. I also mean it genuinely, in reference to how this year has been particularly awful in big and small ways. Survival should not be the whole game when it comes to living life, but that felt like the endgame in 2020. Any other good thing, small or big, is a complete bonus.
We’ve all gone through our own string of unique challenges, too. I only plan to speak for myself, but I imagine I’m not alone in my feelings. I have spent most of this year oscillating between a sense of calm and a sense of dread, feeling as many things in between as possible and sometimes at unpredictable moments. (Maybe I just couldn’t predict them, but from the outside it was predictable enough.) I could go on for a long time about the soul crushing moments, though I’ll spare you (in part because plenty of it is not 2020 specific).
That’s not to say I have been miserable the entire time; I guess I’ll take a slightly optimistic tone here, and I promise I won’t do a free write about whether or not I’m secretly an optimist. I’ve spent quality times with people I love, and continue to find random things that bring me any level of joy. I decided on my favorite superhero, MAWA Man, and developed a respect for Vivca A. Fox’s Lifetime oeuvre. I learned that particle is the palatable word for saliva. I also learned to value some simple treasures, like the company of those who I see all the time in my little bubble and those I eagerly await seeing again.
I’ve done my best to trudge along this year, and the Hoddle has been part of that experience, even despite some (probably natural) burnout. It is probably my longest standing routine outside of the extremely ordinary, keeping me engaged in more ways than one. In the end, it’s nice not just to have the space to do something, but interact with all of you and to be part of this meeting place for many.
Anyway, this is a long-winded way of saying I enjoy your company, and I’m glad you’re here. I truly hope you have all found your combination of ways to manage, or that you’re on the way to finding them.
tl;dr: 2020 was hard, but thanks for being around and I hope you’re all doing as well as you can be.
Stay informed, read this: Jennifer Schuessler on two women who have been uncovering the history of Black residents in a formerly isolated area in New Jersey for The New York Times
Links of the Day
Napoli won its appeal against the decision to award Juventus the win for a match that could not be played because of travel restrictions.
Lionel Messi broke the all-time record for goals scored by a player for a single club with his 644th Barcelona goal, overtaking Pelé’s record with Santos.
FIFA sent a complaint to the Zurich prosecutor accusing former president Sepp Blatter of criminal mismanagement.
DC United’s Danita Johnson will become the first Black president of an MLS club after being hired as the club’s new president of business operations.
David Squires covers the Premier League during Christmas in his latest cartoon.
A longer read: Ed Aarons on the influence the website Transfermarkt has developed amongst some of Europe’s top football clubs for The Guardian