Hey Look! The Socceroos are in Newcastle.

Hamish Neal previews the 2015 Asian Cup Semi-Finals, which get underway tonight at Stadium Australia in Sydney. With over half a million fans having clicked through the turnstiles so far to watch the action in person, and the recent China v Australia Quarter Final being watched by more viewers than there are people in Australia, you better believe the Semi Finals are a big deal!

Weekend Reading: Deflategate, the Worst Question in Sports and Cambridge United

Some great reading to get your teeth into over the Australia Day long weekend.

[Cambridge United have just held Man U to a 0-0 draw at Abbey – replay at Old Trafford.]

Almanac Podcasts : Breakfast With The Goodfellas

As the 2015 Asian Cup reaches its exciting climax, the Goodfellas – Vaughan ‘Dr Cruel’ Menlove and ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Baker – convene for some breakfast and soccer talk from the legendary Turtle Café in Elwood. This week includes a thank you to the legendary Roy Hay and gives a lot of love to Tim Cahill, The Rock, Zeno Tzatsaris, Joskun Aziz and Athas Hyrsoulakis. As Triple/Double J turns 40, the lads take a trip down memory lane and recall some of the life-altering music the J’s introduced into their lives like Nirvana, Jeff Buckley, the Rollins Band and Spiderbait. GORN, GET IN!

Footy Fiction on 3RRR

Tony Wilson is enjoying a stint back on 3RRR’s Multi-Storied. Yesterday he was joined by authors Nicole Hayes (The Whole of my World) and Catherine Harris (The Family Men) to discuss how footy is reflected in fiction. A great listen.

2015 Asian Cup: Spanning the Cup “Nobody Believes in Us…”

Hamish Neal provides your ‘what-you-need-to-know’ one-stop-shop for tonight and Friday evening’s 2015 Asian Cup Quarter Finals. You’re welcome.

Worlds of Football III Conference 20-22 January at Vic Uni

This conference may be of interest to readers.

A last goodbye, for a Tiger

Dugald Jellie went to the funeral of Tiger fan Carolyn Gaunt. Here is his story.

[Dugald is a very talented writer with a tremendous respect and affection for people. He has a keen ear and eye and a lovely sense of perspective on things – even if he is Tiger-mad. His stories are published on his website tigertigerburningbright.com.au which has a strong Tiger following. This year he will also be publishing stories here at the Almanac. So it’s a big welcome from me – JTH]

Call For Writers: The 2015 Australian Open Tennis

The 2015 Australian Open tennis Grand Slam begins on Monday, January 19th. As Stanislav Wawrinka gets set to defend his 2014 Mens singles crown and Serena Williams chases her sixth Womens singles title, we want your tennis contributions!

The Footy Almanac Podcast: Breakfast With the Goodfellas – 2015 Asian Cup Preview

As the 2015 Asian Cup kicks off (pun intended) The Goodfellas – Vaughan ‘Dr Cruel’ Menlove and ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Baker grab a coffee or two and preview what should be some great soccer on offer for sports fans through January.

Almanac Summer Reading: The Accident at Tashi Lapso Pass

Beginning tomorrow, we bring you Louise Currie’s enthralling recollection of a disastrous trek through Tashi Lapso, in Kathmandu.

Poetry: The High Mark

Bruce Dawe’s meditation on the speccie.

Cricket Froth: Knowing When to Declare

Ahead of the start of today’s fourth Test in Sydney, the team at Cricket Froth put Steve Smith’s Melbourne declaration in context. While the Aussies secured the Border-Gavankar trophy, there’s still plenty to play for at the SCG.

American Football, NFL Week 17 – Dallas @ Washington:

Stone Cold Steve Baker is sick of hearing the words “program” and “team culture” in post-game sport-speak (across a raft of codes). But when it comes to the impact of Rolando McClain on the Dallas Cowboys defense, there are no two words that sum up the difference between playing football in January or thinking about the draft and pre-season training between Christmas and New Year’s.

Lou: The Talent Pool

Lou with some thoughts on the depth of the Australian talent pool. [Includes a rare admission from Lou that he got something wrong – Ed]

Lou: A veteran’s perspective?

Lou, as we know, likes a chat. He has spent years with his customers. He knows them well. Some have been talking to him about keeping things in perspective.

Cyclone Tracy Exhibition in Darwin

News of a photographic exhibition has reached us thanks to one of our Darwin correspondents, Joc Ledwidge.

The Goodfellas Footy Almanac World Game Podcast: December 31st

From Fitzrovia in St Kilda Dr Cruel (Vaughan Menlove) and Stone Cold Steve Baker grab some brekky and look at all of the New Year’s Day action in the A-League and the English Premier League.

Lou: What are they saying about the last day of the MCG Test in the shop?

Lou is back from counting his Christmas dollars, and tells us what the cricket chat is in the shop this morning. Conclusion: Steve Smith and advisors have forgotten I.M. Chappell.

Another Almanac Milestone Has Arrived

Today (Monday Dec 29) the Almanac will receive its 3,000,000th visit – around lunch-time.

I have a copy of Sean Gorman’s Legends to go to the person who turns the clock over. It will take a bit of guess work but will go to the comment nearest to the time it ticked over.

Count at 11.04am: 3,000,000

Christmas in Sapporo

Some images of downtown Sapporo, Japan from Yoshi. Merry Christmas everyone!