Early Doors

  • Trial of the century

    Football's trial
    of the century continues today when Steven Gerrard gives evidence at Liverpool crown court.

    Gerrard, who denies a charge of affray, may be asked to
    expand on evidence he gave to police in which he admitted hitting nightclub DJ
    but said he lashed out in self-defence.

    It is all fairly unseemly stuff which, without wanting to
    sound too much like Germaine Greer, illustrates perfectly just how stupid men
    are.

    The fact that a small quarrel about music can end up with
    one man losing a tooth and another on trial should be reason enough for the
    entire male gender to be sent to its room

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  • Yellow peril

    Newcastle United's
    new away kit went on sale yesterday to the sort of acclaim normally reserved
    for the opening of a new lay-by on the A607 or the refurbishment of a KFC.

    When a new kit goes on sale, hundreds of supporters
    customarily queue up to get exploited mercilessly by their club's merchandising machine.

    Liverpool's club shop was swamped earlier this summer when
    the new kit came out, despite opening at five to midnight.

    Geordies are famously passionate, and Sky Sports News
    viewers will realise they need no second bidding to mill around outside St
    James' Park of a weekday morning.

    So how

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  • More sauce, sir?

    Sea Bass Sashimi; Slow-roasted Blythburgh Pork Belly with Parmesan-fried Courgettes; Scandinavian Iced Berries with Hot White Chocolate Sauce; English Cheese Board; all washed down with a spicy Barolo.

    This cornucopia of culinary delights is yours for £200 and a three-month stint on the waiting list at Soho eaterie The Ivy, located just around the corner from the Football Association's plush headquarters in central London.

    Early Doors posits the theory (unsupported by any actual evidence, of course) that the FA Disciplinary Committee finally got their feet under the restaurant's prestigious

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  • Time to cut and run

    Of all the spectacular and unbelievable weekends in the history St James' Park, the one we've just seen surely ranks up there as the most outrageous of them all.

    Those who were glued to this here website on Friday night instead of chugging down bright neon-coloured alcopops at the local meat market or other were rewarded with the breaking news of Newcastle owner Mike Ashley opening talks with Kevin Keegan over a return to the Toon hot-seat, only for the prospect of the Messiah's third coming to be scuppered soon afterwards.

    That move was Ashley's last-ditch attempt to avoid the mass protests

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  • Bushed

    Early Doors is a realistic sort who knows when to admit defeat.

    Football obviously cannot compete with the sustained drama and entertainment of yesterday's Wimbledon final. It just can't.

    Tennis is mostly rubbish, but when Nadal and Federer started trading blows on centre court, Early Doors joined Middle England in a mouth-foaming, name-chanting frenzy.

    Then the match finished, Nadal exchanged sweaty hugs with the Spanish royal family, Federer put on his ridiculous embroidered cardigan and ED remembered why it likes football.

    And for anyone who complains that the football season never ends,

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  • Wee man for West Ham?

    We may not see a week as downright barmy as the last one for a long time, but there is still plenty of scope for fun to be had.

    The simple equation of international week + two managerial vacancies = plenty of speculation and conjecture to get stuck into.

    It might not quite be a power-crazed oil magnate bursting onto the scene and throwing his money around like Michael Jackson's shopping trip with Martin Bashir, but the prospect of Gianfranco Zola becoming the next West Ham manager is still guaranteed to rock the house.

    The loveable horseface has emerged as the top candidate on the Hammers'

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  • Big hair blues

    Dion Dublin provided a
    moment of real tactical insight during the Everton-Villa game when he revealed that his shiny
    bald head was not just for show.

    Dublin
    blamed Everton midfielder Marouane 'Screech' Fellaini's voluminous afro for a weak first-half
    header, reasoning that the cushioning effect of all that hair took power
    off the ball.

    Having spent about half a second of its childhood watching
    Ruud Gullit power home a glorious header for Holland in the Euro '88 final,
    Early Doors would like to disagree - but as the only example it can
    think of was 20 years ago Dublin might be on to something.

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  • I’m only happy when it rains

    After a weekend of hilarity brought on by a few showers scattered about here and there, ED counts its blessings that football isn't played through the summer.

    It's all very well admiring the ground staff's handiwork before kick-off, with hushed mutterings of awe about the pitch looking like a carpet, as though playing football on a shagpile would be a good thing.

    But the aesthetic qualities of a baize-like field and the technical passing play that would come with it are nothing compared to the all-out slapstick-fest brought on when it chucks it down.

    There aren't many better sights in the game

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  • Loew is the drug

    As Joachim Loew looked on from his corporate skybox high in the St Jakob-Park stands, he must have feared it would become a glass case of emotions.

    Having been banished to the stands for... well, nobody knows exactly what for... against Austria, Loew had to watch his hitherto plodding Germany side against the swashbuckling Portuguese from afar.

    The elegant coach had to just sit there, just an un-knotted bowtie away from being the doppelganger of Bryan Ferry, and wear a face like the Roxy Music man after he had just found out his son had stormed parliament in order to smash the system, yah.

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  • The end for Liverpool?

    These are dark times for Liverpool Football Club and their long-suffering, hopelessly devoted, hopelessly romantic band of supporters.

    Without a trophy to celebrate in three years, Liverpool fans are now faced with the possibility their storied club could disappear from the face of the earth altogether.

    The news came just days after the most successful club in top-flight history missed out on Gareth Barry - who went to a club with more ambition in Manchester City.

    It comes on the back of a Premier League season that saw Liverpool stumble like a startled goat from the summit and hand bitter

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