Early Doors

  • Football good, rugby bad

    There has been something refreshing about the lack of
    hysteria surrounding the summer's
    two international tournaments.

    The Confederations Cup and European U21 Championship have
    been played with the kind of level-headedness Early Doors feared was no longer
    possible.

    Of course every team has wanted to win, but they have played
    under moderate pressure and without the histrionics that routinely accompany
    the bigger competitions.

    You suspect that if Ivory Coast had been involved in
    the Confed Cup, Didier Drogba might have described their exit as 'a darned shame'
    rather than 'a f***ing disgrace'.

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  • Tevez exit tip of the iceberg

    Kia Joorabchian has stepped up his verbal assault on the football world in his quest to find Carlos Tevez a new club.

    It has been a busy 24 hours in Camp Carlitos, with Joorabchian sounding off about plenty to do with his client/hired gun/cash cow.

    For starters, the MSI founder revealed that Tevez's 'cupped ears' goal celebration against Manchester City was not directed at the club's hierarchy, inviting them to listen to the fans who want him to stay so much. Instead, his gesture was directed to a certain journalist who wrote an article claiming Tevez was not worth the £32 million Manchester

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  • FYI, Everton won

    If you are a Liverpool fan
    and watched your team's FA Cup replay against Everton on ITV last night, Early
    Doors has some bad news - you lost.

    Having sat through 117-and-a-half mind-numbing minutes (and
    90 fairly dull ones 10 days earlier), viewers should have been rewarded with
    the drama of Dan Gosling burying a late winner for the Toffees.

    Instead, the channel accidentally cut to an advert break and
    we ended up watching some Tic Tacs playing golf, a car designer fighting clones
    of himself and some bloke called Dan (regrettably not of a Gosling persuasion)
    telling us: "I used to lash out if

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  • Quota farce

    Good news for England fans: as of next season, a plan will be implemented to ensure home-grown players are given a chance to shine in the Premier League, as the national side continues its inexorable road to world domination.

    Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore announced the news: "As of next season clubs will be required to have a squad named of up to 25 players, of which no more than 17 can be over the age of 21 and not home grown."

    That means a club will need to have at least eight home grown players in their first-team squad by the start of next season.

    Fabio Capello must be

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  • Cause celebre

    In child trafficking news today:

    - Rennes accuse Manchester City of illegally signing defender Jeremy Helan,
    claiming: "Manchester
    City must now realise the
    consequences of their attitude in the Helan case as it is even more illegal
    than Kakuta."

    - Ian Wright and six Premier League players are involved in an academy accused
    by the South African FA of "raping" the country of its talent.

    - Manchester United will sue Le Havre
    if they do not stop alleging the Premier League champions paid large sums of
    money to the parents of Paul Pogba.

    - A transfer tribunal rules Everton must pay up to £1

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  • Slight return

    The words 'Artmedia Bratislava' must have been swarming around Tony Mowbray's head before kick-off just as 'Armitage Shanks' sticks in the mind of a Southport reveller the morning after too many Jammy Donut shots.

    Four years ago, previous Celtic boss Gordon Strachan lost his first game in charge of the Bhoys at Slovak side Artmedia.

    While the ex-West Brom boss avoided the 5-0 drubbing that befell Strachan that day, his new side lost 1-0 at home to Dynamo Moscow in their Champions League third qualifying round first leg.

    A day after Schumi's sensational return to F1, and on the eve of Ian

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  • Baggies Hodg-ing their bets

    Just when Chris Hughton was all set to return to management, in swoops Roy Hodgson, who has emerged as favourite for the West Brom job and made yesterday's Armchair Pundit column look spectacularly silly.

    Well, not that silly - it said that Hughton was not the man for a relegation dogfight, and it turns out he isn't.

    Now Hodgson - there's a manager.

    ED loves Uncle Woy. Plunged into an impossible situation at Liverpool, there was no way he could have succeeded with the fans against him and no money to spend.

    Had Hodgson done what Kenny Dalglish has just done, and flogged Fernando Torres to pay

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  • Adeus, amigo grande

    Early Doors isn't normally one for tributes, but the early-morning retirement of Ronaldo Luis Nazario de Lima has left a gaping void in its corrupt soul.

    A matter of hours after thunder-thighed 37-year-old left-back Roberto Carlos prolonged his already overblown career by agreeing to join some random Russian club for a ridiculous amount of money, his roly-poly pal did the decent thing and decided to walk from the game following their team's embarrassing exit from the Copa Libertadores.

    It's hardly a case of quitting while you're ahead - fat Ron's best days were a good decade ago - but there

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  • ‘Little brother’ fights back

    In the build-up to the most eye-catching tie of the Champions League last-16 draw, some in the European media had taken to calling Arsenal 'Barcelona's little brother'.

    The implication was that the styles of both sides are cut from the same cloth but that the Catalan giants were the big boys, always capable of holding the Gunners at arm's length.

    Samir Nasri even acknowledged the backhanded compliment before the game, telling French television: "After the Barcelona game, I hope we won't be called 'Barca's little brother' anymore but 'Barca's cousins'. It will show that we have grown."

    Well,

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  • Can Crawley cause an FA Cup miracle?

    Crawley Town travel to Old Trafford to take on the might of Manchester
    United and - as manager Steve Evans has proclaimed - "miracles do
    happen!"

    There are few bosses with the self-confidence and assurance of Evans, who
    vaguely implied that his side had a chance by noting that "the only non-league
    club capable of beating Manchester United is Crawley Town".

    Convinced? Maybe not, but the festively plump Bobby Davro lookalike has to
    be praised for refusing to roll out the usual pre-glamour tie platitudes from a
    lower-league manager, instead adopting a bullish approach more befitting of
    Jose

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