Early Doors

  • Romeo Triesman comes unstuck

    Oh come on, get off your high horse.

    Who hasn't told a few tall tales to impress a potential conquest on that all-important third date?

    That time you climbed Mount Kilimanjaro to raise money for scurvy-afflicted goats? Never happened, did it?

    Your Masters in chemical engineering? Neglected to mention you dropped out after four weeks, didn't you?

    And what about the claim that you once fronted 'the best new band in Britain'? The half a dozen blokes you played to in the student bar that one time might beg to differ.

    But embellishment, exaggeration and outright lies are standard fare in the game

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  • Football’s worst-paid players

    Football has changed since Jimmy Hill campaigned successfully for the abolition of the maximum wage (£20 a week) in 1961.

    Or at least, footballers' bank balances have. The average salary for a Premier League player has increased by a factor of around 1,000, making millionaires of even the most limited players (Early Doors is looking at you, Dean Whitehead).

    In truth, ED doesn't have a problem with footballers earning a lot of money. Lots of people are prepared to pay handsomely to watch games, and ED would rather the cash went to the players than the suits.

    Are £100,000-a-week wages any more

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  • Forget Jose, Olly’s the real special one

    A truly special manager lifted a hard earned and highly lucrative trophy on Saturday - and it wasn't that arrogant Portuguese bloke.

    Ian Holloway led his Blackpool team into the Premier League against the odds after they battled past Cardiff in the Championship play-off final, and seeing the Barmy Bristolian lap up his moment at Wembley couldn't help but raise a smile to the normally stony face of Early Doors.

    By contrast, seeing Jose Mourinho celebrate winning the Champions League after Internazionale had beaten Bayern Munich left ED a little cold inside.

    Holloway's rag tag bunch of loanees,

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  • England’s anger management issues

    Glen Johnson's rocket strike to seal a 3-1 friendly win over Mexico was in response to the dressing room fireworks from Fabio Capello at half-time.

    The England boss dished out a rollicking despite his players going into the break leading 2-1.

    Mexico saw plenty of the ball in the first half at Wembley, and it was only their poor finishing and Robert Green's saves that prevented them from leading. Capello demanded more aggression from his players, with Johnson's belter right after the restart followed by a more controlling performance.

    "The manager told us what he thought at half-time - we had

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  • Barry’s ankle is the new metatarsal

    Forget about metatarsals - this summer it's all about ankles. Gareth Barry's ankle to be precise.

    We were supposed to find out if the Manchester City midfielder would be fit to travel to South Africa by today but, with a medical assessment neither ruling him out nor deeming him fully recovered, Fabio Capello will wait until the last possible moment to make a decision over his inclusion.

    The state of Barry's ankle is the England injury saga that has become a prerequisite before any major tournament. It may not quite have the headline appeal of the metatarsal scares of the likes of David

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  • Different tournament, same England

    At least Sunday's performance against Japan helped dampen the frenzy that always seems to accompany England's departure to a major tournament.

    Now, even the most optimistic England fan must know that Fabio Capello's side have absolutely no chance of winning the World Cup.

    Victory over their fellow qualifiers in Graz could not mask a poor display that, like the game against Mexico last week, posed more questions than found answers, and exposed yet more frailties.

    And, unfortunately, it also served to reopen the great Steven Gerrard-Frank Lampard debate once again.

    With just 10 days to the start

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  • How Dirty Leeds saved the Cup

    It was one of the greatest shocks in recent football history, an event that proved you should never write anyone off, and that the Magic of the FA CupTM is still well and truly alive.

    No, not Leeds' win at Old Trafford, but the moment during Alex Ferguson's post-match interview when it looked like he was going to be gracious in defeat.

    Breaking the habit of a lifetime, Fergie paid tribute to Leeds and admitted his side were not good enough.

    He said: "Leeds had far bigger appetite than us. Human beings can always surprise you but we didn't expect that today.

    "I am shocked by the performance

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  • Did Giggs deserve award?

    So rooted in the culture of Manchester United is Ryan Giggs
    that, when he took to the stage to collect the BBC Sports Personality award
    last night, Early Doors expected the following speech:

    "I would have preferred three points against
    Villa."

    At the very least, wanted an explanation of who
    exactly the bloke with the mutton chops sitting next to him was.

    Instead we had an unprepared but not embarrassing recitation
    of platitudes, with Giggs claiming it was "up there" with the many
    other pieces of silverware he has won.

    However, ED suspects it will not have pride of place in the Giggs
    trophy

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  • Why can’t they all go down?

    Franz
    Beckenbauer once said of the Germany
    team: "You could take all of them, put them in a bag and hit them with a stick.
    Whoever got hit
    would deserve it."

    Early Doors
    feels similarly about the Premier League relegation battle, albeit in a less
    ruthlessly Teutonic way.

    Over the
    last two months, we have waited for teams to put together a run of results and
    get out of trouble. With the possible exception of Blackburn,
    nobody has.

    Teams have
    shown themselves to be mentally fragile, physically weak and technically
    substandard as they have proceeded to lose a succession of 'must-win'
    games.

    When

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  • Won’t someone think of the Chilean?

    In all the excitement of a big event, it's easy to overlook certain key details.

    As you run around looking for your passport and double checking your plane tickets before leaving to go on holiday, it's easy to to leave your toothbrush, phone charger and Macaulay Culkin at home.

    In the rush to get the turkey in the oven and presents opened on Christmas Day, you might neglect to go and pick up grandma from the home.

    Or, in your wild scramble to recruit a new manager for your club, how easily can you forget to sack your current one first?

    Fortunately for Real Madrid, the world's media happened

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