Today is all about you, dear readers, as Early Doors takes a Good Cop, Bad Cop approach to dealing with the general public.
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Hold onto your hats, audience participation fans. Early Doors cordially invites you to join its Fantasy League!
Based on the contention that nice guys always finish last, ED has selected a team with as many 'characters' as possible. And with shallow greed and petulance in serious demand, there is a good smattering of home-grown players.
To join the league, sign up here and use the following details:
Group ID - 8147
Password - earlydoors
EARLY DOORS XI
Shay Given (Newcastle - 1.35) - With Jens Lehmann gone there are very few truly loathsome goalkeepers in the Premier League. If ED had the cash it would have gone for Jose Reina, who was to Spain's Euro 2008 celebrations what David May was to Manchester United's 1999 Champions League. But it will just buy the cheapest player in the game (and a seemingly decent man) and move on.
Ashley Cole (Chelsea - 10.94) - What hasn't been said about Ashley Cole? That he's a lovely chap, for one. Behind closed doors he might be a generous, intelligent, funny, self-aware man, and it's fair to say he has somehow managed to hang onto a pretty good WAG. But as far as public image goes, there's very little to like. On dissent alone he is one of the first names on the teamsheet.
Pascal Chimbonda (Sunderland - 9.77) - Early Doors needs to be careful here, because Chimbonda's signature 'quote' - "It's all about the money" - came via The Sun via a friend via an overheard remark on a night out via the Norwegian branch of the Manchester United Supporters' Club. But the rest of his demeanour would suggest that money is indeed what it is all about. At least he was willing to go to Sunderland.
Emanuel Pogatetz (Middlesbrough - 6.39) - This could be a breakout season for Mad Pog, who has lulled us into a false sense of security with some relatively controlled on-pitch behaviour. But ED remains confident that a deranged beast lurks within and that Pogatetz could have three red cards to his name before October rolls around.
Kevin Prince Boateng (Tottenham - 2.42) - Doesn't play much, and when he does he's not much cop. But the man who calls himself the 'Ghetto Kid' has untapped comedy potential. He has 13 tattoos including: "Two jokers, one is smiling and the other crying. It means laugh now, cry later." As ED will when it realises what a stupid selection this is.
Deco (Chelsea - 5.55) - Most people admire Deco for his touch, technique and dedication to the Beautiful Game. But ask a Celtic fan for their view of the former Porto and Barcelona man and they'll tell you a different story. Goes down easily, pouts, whines and is surely the Premier League's next great hate figure.
Steven Gerrard (Liverpool - 18.10) - Early Doors has gone on about Gerrard's diving in the past, and it also needs a player who might actually score some points. Also, has everyone forgotten about the time a 'misunderstanding' led him to slap in a transfer request and demand a move to Chelsea?
Kieron Dyer (West Ham - 6.13) - The old-school bad boy behaviour of Dyer gets in ahead of Joey Barton, for whom even Early Doors is starting to feel sorry. Thankfully you don't lose Fantasy points for fighting with team-mates, although Dyer's injury record could make this selection short-lived.
El-Hadji Diouf (Sunderland - 10.61) - Here's what Roy Keane said yesterday after signing Diouf from Bolton: "El-Hadji has always been the kind of player opposition teams and supporters love to hate, a thorn in the side, and that's why we're delighted to have him in our squad."
Wayne Rooney (Manchester United - 17.52) - Is he the one English player with any genuine creativity, and the intangible 'glue' that makes Manchester United such a great side? Or is he a chubby underachiever with a tabloid wife whose temperament will stop him from ever fulfilling his potential? Early Doors will let you into a secret: it absolutely loves Rooney.
Michael Owen (Newcastle - 10.59) - Well you have to pair Owen with Rooney just to spice up the card games on the team bus. Despite playing more games for England than Newcastle in his first two seasons at St James's Park, he has informed the club that his £105,000-a-week pay packet is not enough.
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At this point Early Doors will shave its head, pull its eyes halfway out of their sockets, unsheathe its yellow card and go all Pierluigi Collina on its readers' collective posterior thanks to some unsavoury message board conversations.
As an entity that holds its readership in just as much contempt as it does the rest of football, Early Doors doesn't care that much what goes on in the message board, and it certainly doesn't intend to start policing questionable material.
Luckily, there are fine people at Yahoo! that do, and they lurk in an underground lair not unlike the Batcave, waiting for their obscenity sirens to start blaring.
Early Doors isn't suggesting you talk exclusively about football - in fact it can imagine few things duller - but surely we can all agree that 'intimate' piercing locations are a conversation topic too far?
This is the internet. If it's sex chat you want, there are far better places than Early Doors to get it. So let's just keep it clean, eh?
P.S. And no, that frog guy isn't anything to do with Early Doors. Not that ED likes to blow its own trumpet, but surely it's not hard to tell them apart - one uses tortured, pidgin English to bang on about the same old rubbish every day and the other one.... wait for it.... is a cartoon frog!
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QUOTE OF THE DAY: "I was incredibly disappointed when I first heard, not only that Liverpool had been working behind the scenes to bring Robbie to Anfield, but that Robbie himself wanted to go and he submitted a transfer request. I have already made my opinion clear on the nature of this transaction. I don't regard it as a transfer deal - that is something which happens between two clubs when they both agree to trade. This is an enforced sale." Daniel Levy on the Robbie Keane sale.
FOREIGN VIEW: Now Catalan daily Sport thinks Thierry Henry is off to Manchester United. Does it realise that the Daily Star got there first?
TALKING POINT: Your hard-line training regimes:
g_hine: "I would force all the players to leave their Bentleys two miles from the training ground, then run the rest. The bottom 20 percent would be given boot cleaning duty and the top 20 percent would have to dust my office."
zoelucyholder: "I firmly believe if a player is to sit on the bench he should have to build the bench first."
jcpotvin (politics alert): "Clearly the greatest regime in western civilization is the two term run of George W. Bush in the united states. Without the restrictions of morality or law, a football club would be free to rule with an iron fist, while pretending to be friendly, docile and diplomatic through the press. Your club wouldn't simply defeat the other team, they would invade the town, seize all assets and offer it loans at interest they cannot afford."
salakosamuel: "The best to keep footballer fit is a diet of water, locust and wild honey. Water will prevent dehydration; locust is very rich in protein; and honey keeps the blood sugar level high. with that diet, players will be as fast as 'speedy' Gonzalez and as skinny as peter crouch.
Today - Who are you backing for Fantasy Football stardom this season?
- Manchester United