On the final day of 2008, I want to send out a huge thank you to you, the readers, for supporting EPL Talk in what has been our best and most successful year ever. Your support and your comments are much appreciated (EPL Talk has now amassed more than 13,000 comments). There’s no way to thank every reader personally but I do want to mention a special thank you to Lonnie (LS), Atlanta Pompey, Lou (eplnfl), Bishopville Red, Double Pivot and DaveMo for contributing the most number of comments in ’08.
As far as articles, EPL Talk now has more than 2,500 of them. Massive thanks go to the team of writers at EPL Talk in 2008 which include Michael James (200 articles), Lonnie (68), Paul Bestall (58), Johnathan Starling (49), Tyler Duffy (49), Sam Dalton (34), Jeff Hash (22), Kartik Krishnaiyer (22), Chris Rivers (14), Josh Pedley (12), Andrew Moshoian, Andrew Morris, Christopher Nee, Dominic Mather, Ferd, Ian Cahir, Jake Hall, James Harris, Jonny Carter, Karthik Balasubramanian, Michael Barany, Phil McThomas, Richard Whittall and Tony Allen. I couldn’t have done it without all of your help.
The year 2008 started well for me after I traveled to Baltimore for the annual NSCAA Convention where I interviewed Steve McClaren and Gerard Houllier for the EPL Talk Podcast. But it all went downhill from there after returning home and being rushed to the hospital, where I stayed for six weeks and had two surgeries to remove blood clots from both of my legs.
Special thanks must go to Chris Oakley, author of the excellent Some People Are On The Pitch blog, who graciously compiled a Best Of episode for the EPL Talk Podcast while I was still in hospital — and to Kartik Krishnaiyer who produced the episode featuring an interview with Paul Gardner (from my NSCAA trip) and Martin Rogers from Yahoo.
After being in the hospital on bed rest for six weeks, I returned home unable to walk and still in immense pain. But thanks to the support of my wife (and goodwill phone calls from Japan courtesy of the Tokyo Toffeeman), I was able to return to full health within a couple of weeks and I’m now 100% healthy again.
The strangest thing for me was that when I finally returned to full health during the beginning of April, it felt like I had missed out on a quarter of 2008. In many ways, I had. During the three different hospitals I stayed at while I was infirmed for six weeks, one of them had Fox Soccer Channel so I was able to watch one live match. The rest of the time I was able to find the scores online.
May, in terms of the Premier League, was a massive month so I was fortunate to witness the wonderful end to the season as well as the Champions League victory for Manchester United. For personal reasons, I was also ecstatic that my team – Swansea City – had gotten promoted from Division One to the Championship.