Early Doors

Year in Review: Barton’s French lesson

We are asking all of our experts to give us their picks of 2012. We also asked Early Doors. We get the feeling ED might not have taken its answers entirely seriously though...

Best Match

The Crown vs John Terry. This was a contest that gripped the nation like no other - providing endless entertainment, suspense and a stream of brilliant quotes. Sample: "My mum dated a guy from Liverpool for a while and the Liverpool fans made up a song that my mum loves Scouse c**k." A courtroom drama like no other, this was truly the Premier League meets John Grisham. Though Terry won his initial fixture, he subsequently suffered a heavy defeat at the hands of the Football Association.

Best Moment

Brendan Rodgers and his envelopes. This was the moment when Liverpool's manager proved that when he does his thinking, he isn't just outside the box - he can't even see it. 'What's a box?' He asks, while mulling over how best to use Suso as an inverted nine-and-a-half. Brenton - as he became known for his David Brent-esque moments in the tour de force that was 'Being: Liverpool' - produced three sealed envelopes in front of his squad and said he had written down the names of three players who would let the team down. It was a masterpiece in motivation as Liverpool won one of their first seven Premier League games.

Funniest Moment

The stunning creation that was Michael Owen's moustache. That is all.

Best Player

Alexander Kerzhakov. Took the Euros by storm and left the continent's best quivering at his glorious feet. His highlight - though it is hard to pick one - came in Russia's group game against Czech Republic when he set a new European Championships record with a huge seven shots off target. Truly this was a historic campaign for the striker.

Biggest Surprise

Joey Barton's mastery of French. Barton has been characterised as a brainless thug but he confounded his critics in November when giving a polished performance of the native language during a press conference in Marseille. Grappling with multiple tenses, dominating the dreaded subjunctive, and displaying a sound grasp of the more convoluted verbs, Barton sounded as though he had lived his whole life on the Cote d'Azur. A 'Learn French With Joseph Barton' DVD is now in the pipeline.

Worst Moment

The crushing realisation that whatever may happen in the rest of ED's career, nothing - absolutely nothing - will come close to being as astonishingly funny as when Ashley Cole called the Football Association a '#BUNCHOFT***S' on Twitter.

Biggest Disappointment

Mario Balotelli. 2011 was Mario's year as he inspired no end of hilarious stories with his wacky shenanigans. A year on, and all has gone quiet. He hasn't set off any fireworks, thrown any darts or ordered any trampolines from John Lewis for ages. Now it's Christmas and there hasn't been a single sighting of him parading round Manchester in a Santa suit dishing out cash. Must do better.

Unsung Hero

Jen Chang. A director of communications should never become the story and Liverpool's operated effectively in the shadows after his appointment this summer. His careful, even-handed pursuit of a parody blogger on Twitter was a model of how to master PR and it was sad to see Chang depart his post for personal reasons. Will be much missed.

Who to look out for in 2013

Peter Herbert and the Society of Black Lawyers. Complete unknowns at the start of 2012, Herbert and his team-mates enjoyed a meteoric rise to prominence in November and could be big players in the coming 12 months. Unafraid to take on teams, referees and governing bodies.