Early Doors

  • Blame it on the bee sting

    Italy captain Fabio Cannavaro's positive test for the banned substance cortisone
    has been blamed on a bee sting.

    Various
    reports actually describe the offending insect as a wasp, a bee and a hornet,
    while the club themselves merely describe Cannavaro's
    complaint as an "insect bite". So the cause of the complaint itself is... well, it's a bit of a hornet's nest.

    The
    36-year-old, who skippered the Azzurri to their 2006 World Cup triumph and won
    the Ballon d'Or in the same, was
    treated after suffering an allergic reaction on August 29, and Juve blame the subsequent positive test on a clerical

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  • What the Ashes teach football

    England's cricketers have secured hero status for the
    second time in four years, while it is 40 years since the nation's
    footballers last won anything worthwhile (sorry Le Tournoi, you don't quite cut it).

    What can the England
    football team learn from this summer's
    Ashes success?

    1 - Play all your matches against Australia,
    South Africa, India, Pakistan,
    Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe
    and a conglomeration of Caribbean nations.

    2 - Make the toss more important. The Oval track virtually
    guaranteed whoever won the toss would win the match, thereby increasing England's chances of glory from

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  • Decision time

    It is decision time across the world. As America goes to the polls to decide which country to blast the hell out of next, sport has reached a more important crossroads.

    It has been a vintage sporting year, thanks to the likes of Lewis Hamilton, Andy Murray and the British Olympic team.

    Only one sport seems to have bucked this positive trend, and Early Doors feels compelled to ask - Is there still a place for football?

    Cricketers now play comedy beer matches in which the winners trousers $20 million (roughly four million pints of whatever you're having), while the losers plummet through a

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  • Is that IT?

    The beginning of a new season allows even the most damaged of goods to start afresh.

    Take Craig Bellamy, who wants to wipe the slate clean and has pledged to cut out the monkey business.

    No more abusive text messages, no more Rocco Mediate impressions, no more mouthing off on TV calling the gaffer a liar.

    Just football, which, once upon a time, he was quite good at. And he made a decent start by scoring twice in a pre-season friendly against Hampton and Richmond last night.

    A reformed Bellamy comes fresh from his summer jaunt to Sierra Leone, spent setting up a charity project and only

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  • Arsenal’s future in safe hands?

    "The future is in safe hands" - Arsene Wenger, November 11 2008

    Yesterday evening, Early Doors escaped its minders for long enough to tunnel out of its cage, hail a local rickshaw and make for the Emirates Stadium.

    There, it saw an Arsenal team with an average age of 13.42 wipe the floor with a full-strength Wigan side.

    It was a remarkable, thrilling spectacle - but Arsenal's Carling Cup team is the reason they will never win anything meaningful again.

    Put simply, the teenagers are so good that they already merit first-team action. And, as he brings them through, Arsene Wenger will continue to

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  • The Chumpions League

    Early Doors can only apologise for its tardiness this morning, which has absolutely, categorically nothing to do with a pretentious, late-night bar in London's trendy Soho. Any such behaviour would be disgustingly clichéd and bracket ED with heinous characters in the ilk of Calum Best, Lindsay Lohan and Rhys Ifans.

    In truth, ED was performing a valuable social service last night. The details shall remain cloudy, because ED hates to talk about its charity work, but it is safe to say worlds were put to rights and blue-sky thinking was to the fore. Moreover, the Chumpions League was nowhere near

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  • Lazy days

    It looks as though two of the laziest players in the game are about to head on up to Manchester.

    Manchester United have finally got those dollar signs ringing up in Tottenham's eyes in their pursuit for Dimitar Berbatov, while Ronaldinho looks likely to sacrifice success in the quest for cash by rocking up at City.

    We've all heard the guff spouted by top players about it being a short career and all that, but with a handful of highly lucrative sponsorship deals, including one with an obscure company that makes photocopiers, Ronnie probably isn't short of a bob or two.

    It's well known that the

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  • While it is far too early to hit the panic button, Manchester City’s 3-2 defeat to Cardiff City was alarming in some respects.

    First there is the injury crisis that saw makeshift defender Javi Garcia struggle at centre-half.

    While you cannot account for injuries sometimes, City are far too reliant on Vincent Kompany, who does pick up the odd injury and has done throughout his career.

    Matija Nastasic is a fine defender but is still young and developing, leaving Joleon Lescott as the only other specialist senior centre-half at the club. Micah Richards is barely even a right-back these days,

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  • This. Is. Football

    How many times have you asked yourself: what am I doing here?

    You might find yourself in the pub bang on noon, washing down the first pint of the day while the taste of toothpaste is still all too fresh, thinking you should be doing something more productive with your Saturday.

    You may have just spent £200 on a round-trip halfway across the country to see your team lose 3-0, spill most of your half-time drink down your sleeve as you barge your way back through the crowd and then not even have your obscenely over-priced train ticket checked en route either to or from your destination.

    Or you

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  • England bore-fest promises unmissable drama

    ED has an appointment at the dentist later this afternoon.

    The idea of making the appointment for today was simple:
    surely nothing could be a more powerful analgesic than the prospect of sitting
    through an evening of meaningless international friendlies.

    In the normal run of events, international friendlies can be
    relied upon to provide 90 minutes of such brain-numbing dullness that the sheer
    tedium of the spectacle acts as a giant off-switch to the human nervous
    system.

    This phenomenon is easily observable no matter where you
    choose to watch the game. Fans in the stands turn into glassy

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