Early Doors

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Early Doors

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It is the moment you have all been waiting for, when Early Doors looks back on another season of idiocy, vanity and downright ineptitude and picks its worst of the worst.

That's right - it's the second annual Doorsie awards!!

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Worst signing

Jimmy Bullard (Hull City)

Everybody's favourite shaggy-haired midfielder was hailed as a bargain when Hull signed him in January. Within 45 minutes on the pitch, Bullard was ruled out for the rest of the season with the latest in a succession of knee injuries. Now the Tigers are on the hook for £50,000-a-week for four years. Yikes.

Robbie Keane (Liverpool)

Described his £19 million switch from Tottenham to Liverpool as "a dream come true". Until Rafa Benitez started playing him out of position then dropped him. After scoring seven times in 28 games, he returned to Spurs for roughly half the price Liverpool paid six months earlier. Still better than David Ngog, though.

Fabricio Coloccini (Newcastle)

The crowning glory of Tony Jimenez and Dennis Wise's reign of terror at St James'. The pair persuaded Mike Ashley to part with £10m for the Argentinian, who came to personify everything shambolic about the Toon's relegation campaign. It said something about their lack of depth that he stayed in the team until the bitter end.

And the winner is... FABRICIO COLOCCINI!!

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Worst obscenity

Joe Kinnear

"Which one is Simon Bird? You're a c***." And with this opening gambit, Kinnear embarked on a veritable swearing odyssey, cursing 52 times in five minutes. "Absolutely f***ing out of order. If you do it again, I am telling you you can f*** off and go to another ground. I will not come and stand for that f***ing crap. No f***ing way, lies. F***, you're saying I turned up and they f***ed off."

Didier Drogba

Everybody swears on the football pitch (well, maybe not Kaka), but few people turn to a TV camera, fix the public at home with a wild-eyed stare and declare the referee "a f***ing disgrace". Magnificently indignant.

Jefferson Louis

The perils of being a touchline reporter: Wrexham striker Louis was collared by Setanta when he came off for Wrexham in a live game. Asked why he was substituted, Louis offered: "Because I was a bit f***ed," then ignored the reporter's demand for an apology.

And the winner is.... JOE KINNEAR!! 

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Worst superstition

Jermain Defoe

Earlier this season, Defoe explained a particular severe haircut thus: "I had to, I only ever seem to get injured when I have longer hair." His natural opposite is former Argentina midfielder Fernando Redondo, who was left out of the 1998 World Cup because he refused to cut his long hair.

Kolo Toure

The Ivorian always likes to be the last player out on the pitch. Even when team-mate William Gallas is undergoing treatment on an injury. Arsenal consequently started the second half of their Champions League game at home to Roma with nine men. Toure was booked, presumably for being an idiot.

John Terry

Always uses the same urinal in the Chelsea dressing room, and will hang around waiting for the berth to become free rather than use another one. ED does not know whether he applies the same logic when deciding which area of a nightclub dancefloor to relieve himself on.

And the winner is.... KOLO TOURE!!

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Worst arrest

Ashley Cole

The Chelsea man was cuffed outside an exclusive London nightclub and fined for drunk and disorderly behaviour - while Mrs Cole was climbing Mount Kilimanjaro for charity. The Sun claimed they had evidence of Cole chatting to a mystery blonde that Chelsea's lawyers persuaded them not to publish. In an unrelated story, Cole posed for a photo with former GMTV presenter Fiona Phillips earlier in the evening,

Ledley King

ED needs to tread carefully here because the Tottenham skipper is still out on bail after being arrested on suspicion of assault. What seems certain is that King was, yet again, legless outside a tacky nightclub. Even Harry Redknapp, who enjoyed a glass of wine or two with dinner in his time, was forced to condemn the repeat-offending defender.

Steven Gerrard

Again, a pesky court case makes it harder for ED to poke fun. Gerrard has had an assault charge dropped and has pleaded not guilty of affray. It is believed (although very much not proven) that an altercation with a DJ came about at the Lounge Inn in Southport when the Liverpool skipper asked for some Phil Collins tunes.

And the winner is... LEDLEY KING!!

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Worst prediction

Rafa Benitez

"(Robbie Keane is) one of the very best players you can see in the Premier League, he's a player who is settled down, a good professional, a good mentality, so every manager would be very happy to have Keane in his squad. We knew he was a good player for us, we were trying to sign him and the player is here so we're really pleased. Everybody knows Robbie is very clever so he can play alongside Torres or Kuyt or the other strikers."

Peter Kenyon

"(Luiz Felipe Scolari will stay) for longer than the Christmas period or for 2010. Why are we surprised that a guy who managed successfully at international level, that moving to league level is a bit of a change? That was one of our considerations. What you are looking for is core competence and core values, that this guy can do the job. And you know what: he will. To achieve what we want to achieve, we can't just keep changing managers every year. That does not work."

Early Doors

Pre-season predictions: Champions - Chelsea; Fourth place - Liverpool; Relegation - Stoke City, West Bromwich, Blackburn Rovers; Sack race winner - Mark Hughes; Golden boot - Robin van Persie. In fact the only one ED got right was this: Amount of respect shown to officials - None.

And the winner is... PETER KENYON!!

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Biggest 'Bloody United' moment

This award recognises those moments when neutral fans were struck by the sickening realisation that, whatever signs of weakness they showed, Manchester United were still going to win the league.

Federico Macheda's goal v Aston Villa

United look to be heading for a third straight defeat before scrambling an equaliser. Then, in the 93rd minute, some 17-year-old Italian who nobody has ever heard of scores a goal of exquisite composure and technique to seal a spectacular victory.

Howard Webb's penalty award v Tottenham

Two-nil down against Spurs, United are in big trouble until Michael Carrick races into the box, forcing Heurelho Gomes to palm the ball away. Only Webb awards a penalty, duly converted by Cristiano Ronaldo, and the champions romp to a 5-2 win.

Carlos Tevez's goal v Wigan Athletic

Tevez has spent the entire season either whining about not being in the team or doing a very poor impression of his performances from last year. Then he scores a sensational back-flick to equalise at Wigan. Michael Carrick's inevitable winner follows five minutes from time.


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Worst motivational speaker

Phil Brown

The whole 'new Mourinho' thing, the silly mouthpiece and the ludicrously deep tan were fine when Hull were winning. But when the wheels came off, they really came off. Two wins in 29 games were punctuated by a very public rollocking on the pitch at half-time when 4-0 down to Manchester City. Finished the season by saying he had a dressing room full of 'Championship players'.

Steve Bruce

For his Amr Zaki rant, on Wigan's official website: "I just feel it's time that we went public on just what a nightmare he has been to deal with. I can honestly say that in all my time in football I have never worked with someone as unprofessional." And that includes Lee Sharpe. In fairness to Bruce, he did have a point.

Harry Redknapp

After a Darren Bent miss versus Portsmouth: "My missus could have scored it."

After a Roman Pavlyuchenko strop: "I don't like that. The fans pay their money to watch and when a player runs down the tunnel it's disrespectful."

On David Bentley: "David is obviously going to think, 'Hang on, I'm not in the team even when Aaron Lennon's not fit and maybe it's time I moved on."

On most of his team: "They put the club in it, it is up to them to get us out of it. It looks like a certain kind of player right through (the squad). There is plenty of flair. But we are in a relegation scrap and we need some men and some characters to get us out of it. We've got some but not enough."

After the Carling Cup final defeat: "I have to be honest, we were not that confident with our penalty takers really."

And the winner is.... HARRY REDKNAPP!!

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Worst future prospects

Hull City

Twenty points in nine games were followed by 15 in 29. That tells ED one thing - Derby's record low point total could be in danger. 

Michael Owen

The facts are these: Michael Owen is 29, horribly injury prone, finished the season with a run of one goal in 17 games and is paid £100,000-a-week. ED predicts a summer of rejecting pay-as-you-play deals worth a third of his current wages, followed by Owen grudgingly signing for Sunderland.

Joey Barton

Well, if Owen has problems, what about Barton? Injuries and a spell in jail mean it is a long time since Barton played well, and his falling out with Alan Shearer suggests he is sadly not the reformed character he would like to be. Newcastle want shot of their £60,000-a-week liability but is anybody crazy enough to roll the dice?

And the winner is... MICHAEL OWEN!!

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Lifetime achievement award

These awards normally represent the ultimate backhanded compliment. They say: "You used to be good, but now you're close to death, so here's something for the mantelpiece."

So, in that spirit, this year's award goes to FOOTBALL IN THE NORTH-EAST!!

This season we have learned from months of fawning media coverage that North-East football fans are much more passionate than those anywhere else in the country, and the teams they support are much, much worse.

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