Early Doors

  • West Brom boss Mel puts mystery novel ambitions on hold

    West Bromwich Albion's Spanish manager Pepe Mel has had to abandon his hobby of writing mystery novels because all his spare time is taken up learning English.

    Mel, who took over at the English Premier League club last month, published his first book 'The Liar' in October 2011, the tale of a wealthy antiques collector who clashes with the Vatican while hunting for stolen manuscripts.

    However, he arrived in England with little knowledge of the language and takes a one-hour lesson after completing a full day's work at the club's training ground.

    "I have no time (to write), it's impossible," Mel

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  • Leandro Grimi during his spell with Sporting (Reuters)

    River Plate could face a monumental stadium ban after a fan threw a piece of wood and hit Godoy Cruz defender Leandro Grimi as he celebrated scoring the equaliser in his team's 2-1 upset win on Wednesday.

    Godoy Cruz claimed three valuable points in their fight against relegation with a winning goal in added time from Julio Rodriguez when River were down to 10-men after the 68th-minute dismissal for two bookings of Colombian defender Eder Balanta.

    River issued a statement on Thursday condemning the incident and said they were working with

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  • Tottenham fans who spent all day Thursday focused on the evening’s big Europa League knockout first-leg at Dnipro found themselves inexplicably sidetracked by an unexpected distraction once the match kicked off.

    That’s because Dnipro attacker Matheus – already catching a few eyes with his lively runs at the Spurs defence and squad number of 99 – was on the field wearing odd-coloured football boots.

    You often hear of the grief fans give ‘flashy’ players for picking brightly-coloured or otherwise-unusual footwear or accessories for a match day, so you can imagine how this, erm, fashion

    Read More »from Dnipro player wears ridiculous ‘one black, one white’ boots
  • Franck Ribery did not play for Bayern Munich against Arsenal in the Champions League at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday night.

    But the injured French winger didn't need to be part of Pep Guardiola's all-conquering side to know his goalkeeper Manuel Neuer would save Mesut Ozil's penalty early in the match.

    "I said ahead of the penalty that Neuer would save it," said Ribery. "I trusted Neuer and he did it. He is the best goalkeeper around."

    Perhaps Neuer knew all along he would stop Ozil's penalty.

    But not because it was an awful spot-kick, hit straight down the middle and easy for the

    Read More »from Neuer’s Champions League penalty stop from Ozil was 21 years in the making
  • James McArthur wasn't willing to miss the daddy of all matches despite impending fatherhood.

    The Wigan and Scotland midfielder decided to get a television hooked up next to his heavily pregnant wife's bed so he could watch the Champions League match between Arsenal and Bayern Munich on Wednesday night.

    McArthur was so thrilled with his cunning plan, he decided to tweet a picture of his missus in the hospital.

    You can almost hear the Champions League theme tune from the phone on his Twitter account.

    Read More »from Footballer refuses to miss big match with wife about to give birth
  • Who was Arsenal’s Szczesny making offensive gesture at?

    Wojciech Szczesny could now find himself in further hot water with UEFA following his red card against Bayern Munich as he was caught making an offensive gesture as he left the field.

    The Arsenal goalkeeper was shown the red card before half-time in Arsenal's 2-0 defeat at the Emirates Stadium, but it is what he did after bringing down Arjen Robben for a penalty that could see him land a big fine, as you can see above.

    But the question being asked by fans and experts after the match was: who was the gesture aimed at?

    Was Szczesny showing his disgust at Robben for what Arsene Wenger implied

    Read More »from Who was Arsenal’s Szczesny making offensive gesture at?
  • Arsenal defender hurts cute mascot in tunnel before match

    If you were watching the big match between Arsenal and Bayern Munich last night you may well have missed this.

    Arsenal's imposing centre-back Per Mertesacker may be slow on the turn, but he has one hell of a high-five in his locker.

    Without even meaning to pack a punch with his greeting, the giant German ended up hurting a young mascot by simply holding out his hand.

    It was all just fun and games, but the cute mascot ended up shaking his hand in pain after being stung by the contact.

    Relishing the attention, the mascot pulled a face a disgruntled Mesut Ozil would have been proud of as he

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  • Overreaction Theatre: ‘What can Mesut Ozil actually do?’

    It could have been so different. After singlehandedly winning a penalty with a bit of wizardry, Mesut Ozil had the chance to rejuvenate his Arsenal career by slamming home the resulting spot kick against Bayern Munich in the Champions League.

    But the midfielder bottled his big moment, stuttering during his run-up and tamely kicking the ball to Manuel Neuer in the opposition goal. The rest of the game passed him by somewhat - although he actually ranked third in the 'distance covered' statistic - with a sizeable section of the football community on social media, and more traditional forms,

    Read More »from Overreaction Theatre: ‘What can Mesut Ozil actually do?’
  • Fabio Capello is at the centre of an embarrassing blunder in Russia after mistakenly calling up a club's reserve player.

    The former England coach selected the Lokomotiv Moscow reserve Andrey Semenov in naming a 23-man squad to face Armenia on March 5.

    He had intended to call up Semenov's namesake who represents Terek Grozny.

    "I was surprised, to say the least..." revealed the Lokomotiv version of Semenov, who is still only 21 and has never played for the Lokomotiv first team.

    "Well, I have one year's experience playing for Russia's youth team!"

    The Russian football authorities quickly

    Read More »from Russia coach Fabio Capello calls up club’s reserve player by mistake
  • Robbie Savage was never one for considered, cautious judgement. So it came as no great surprise when he completely wrote off Manchester City's chances of staging a recovery against Barcelona.

    Given that City are 2-0 down ahead of a second leg at the Camp Nou, it was perfectly understandable for him to give Manuel Pellegrini's side little chance.

    But what was perhaps shocking was that the BT Sport and BBC Sport man decided to put his career on the line by vowing that he would "stop working" if City end up going through.

    Speaking on BBC Radio Five Live after the match at the Etihad Stadium, the

    Read More »from TV pundit Robbie Savage puts career on the line with rash promise