Early Doors

  • Only change in attitude at FA can rescue England from torment

    If the incoming Football Association chairman Greg Dyke wants to seek out a learned opinion on where the game's governing body is going wrong in relation to developing a mature and coherent attitude towards youth football, and where it stands in the grand scheme of things in contributing to the overall health of the England senior squad, he could do worse than give Martin Tyler a call.

    Tyler remains a commentator without compare in the United Kingdom, but he is not just an empty voice with a microphone.

    As the dust settled on a somewhat shambolic 3-1 defeat by Norway on Saturday evening that

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  • City learn lesson to steal march on rivals

    Before he was given his marching orders from the Etihad Stadium, Roberto Mancini said he wanted Manchester City to be quicker off the mark during this summer's transfer window.

    Like the proverbial faeces off a shovel, City have done exactly that, making manoeuvres on the market even before Mancini himself has been replaced. June is still in its infancy yet the 2012 Premier League champions have already secured the signature of Fernandinho. Flying winger Jesus Navas is set to soon follow, after his club Sevilla earlier in the week said an agreement was in place. Meanwhile, Manchester United

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  • What a waste of money… and talent

    It is easy to pinpoint the moment that Andrei Arshavin's value to Arsenal finally expired: January 20, when he made his final appearance for the club in a Premier League defeat to Chelsea. Arsenal's record signing sat out the rest of the season. He wasn't injured to any significant degree. Just irrelevant.

    What is harder to identify is the moment - if indeed one exists - that Arshavin no longer felt compelled to properly pursue a career as an Arsenal player. Certainly that was how it felt when watching him trundle through games with no apparent urgency or desire, resting his arms on his knees

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  • Isolated Pearce needed support from England

    It's fair to say that Stuart Pearce's stock is not particularly high at the moment.

    The England U21 coach has not been linked with any of the managerial vacancies this summer, or even put among the also-rans, despite the fact that his contract with the FA runs out at the end of June. His career could be set to fall off the proverbial cliff if England's latest campaign does not prove to be a resounding triumph.

    Indeed, it does not appear at all likely that the 51-year-old will be offered a new deal by the FA with both Roy Hodgson and FA chairman David Bernstein declining to provide any

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  • Mourinho is a coup but he has much to do

    A Chelsea supporter wears a shirt bearing a picture of Jose Mourinho, outside Stamford Bridge (Reuters)

    Jose Mourinho returns to Chelsea with England’s football landscape having undergone a remarkable transformation in the past six years.

    Manchester United are still the dominant force, but Manchester City are a more powerful mover in the transfer market than Chelsea ever were, while Arsenal and Tottenham are a couple of key signings (and retentions) away from launching sustained challenges in the uncertainty of the post-Ferguson era.

    The overall level of competitiveness is higher too. While the top English sides have failed to impress in the Champions League over the past few seasons, that is

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  • England can take Hart from Rio recovery

    So who said these international friendlies were sterile, meaningless get-togethers?

    The first thing Early Doors will acknowledge from last night's engrossing 2-2 friendly draw between Brazil and England at the rebuilt Maracana in Rio de Janeiro is that we should all be glad this occasion occurred after a local court threatened to render the rebuilt ground unsafe for such a heady evening.

    The second item ED would like to point out is that these Brazilians are nowhere near the level of the South American giants who carried off the Mexico World Cup in 1970. They are nowhere near even the level of

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  • Why selling the jersey to money lenders is morally wrong

    These are quiet days for Early Doors. Especially at this time of the year when the dying embers of another football season slowly begin to fizzle out.

    When ED is not surrounding itself with valuable summery stuff like the female form, sipping on a few cold Peronis in the sun, playing football with the boys or getting ready for the annual beach holiday to foreign climes, it can be found piecing together these dispatches for its vast and much treasured early morning market.

    These may be quiet times for the world game, but there is a story surging out of the Bolton area that is very much

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  • Britain (and Ireland’s) got no talent

    Coronation Street's resident corner shop owner Dev Alahan, aka method actor Jimmi Harkishin, is growing increasingly suspicious about who burnt down the Rovers Return with wife Sunita already condemned as a dead arsonist in Britain's favourite soap opera.

    But we have to wait until Friday to discover the outcome of Dev's thoughts or where his investigations might lead (spoiler alert...Karl Munro is the guilty man, officer) because of England's 1-1 draw with Republic of Ireland at Wembley Stadium last night that was piped out by ITV1.

    Sunita might be already toast along with the boozer, but she

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  • Monaco signings playing Russian roulette with their careers

    There are few words that have the ability to make a football supporter wince more than hearing a smug suit describe a club as a 'project', but that is exactly what Monaco represents right now - an exercise in throwing cash at established stars with the promise of a yacht, a tax-free salary and a stint in Ligue 1.

    The club are now not just a project, but a "big and interesting project", as opposed to the many small and boring projects available to the world's best footballing talent. This is where it begins to become fun for fans, but even more so for agents.

    Radamel Falcao, we have been

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  • Palace’s £120m just a drop in the ocean

    Crystal Palace: in the money?

    Early Doors is a cynical old goat. That’s why, when it heard the play-off final described as “the £120 million match”, it scoffed.

    The sums, ED assumed, were done by the same people who reckon Manchester United have 659 million fans (including 27 million in South Korea).

    £120m. Just a nonsense figure dreamed up on the assumption that, after Palace’s Wembley win, every man woman and child in Britain would go out and buy a Damien Delaney replica shirt.

    Now, ED isn’t just cynical. It’s also lazy. So there was no chance of it ever bothering to check the numbers out for itself.

    But it did manage

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