Early Doors

Getting shirty

Early Doors

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If Premier League players still had to wash their kits would they be so quick to toss them aside?

The weekend before Super, Oh my God it's huge probably bigger than Jesus, Sunday was a relatively quiet one in the top-flight.

As draw specialists Arsenal continue to work in binary numbers allowing Manchester United to move a bit closer towards the title, the main talking point was what do you do with your kit when substituted.

Reading forward Shane Long apologised for throwing his shirt to the ground after being substituted during his team's 2-1 defeat by Liverpool at Anfield.

In an excuse reminiscent of 'my dog ate my French verb table', the player said that his frustration was with Andre Marriner, the referee, rather than Reading manager Steve Coppell.

Meanwhile fellow Irishman Robbie Keane, seeing his number raised for the seventh time in eight matches, threw his tracksuit top on to the floor of the dugout during Tottenham's loss to Manchester City.

But in defence of Keane's colourful exit, it was St Patrick's Day and maybe he was just in a rush to put on his diamond encrusted hoodie on for a big night out at Faces in Ilford.

However the biggest crime against apparel came from Cristiano Ronaldo who can't use being a genius in his defence for giving his shirt to Robbie Savage.

Rams captain Savage, never shy of massaging his ego, as well as his Michael Bolton barnet, claimed: "After the final whistle I said to Ronaldo 'do you want my shirt?' and he said 'OK, have mine. It was nice because people have been saying I'm finished at this level."

Robert, you are finished at this level you play for Derby.

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Kevin Keegan's apocalyptic reign as Newcastle gaffer continues tonight at Birmingham City with the dreaded drop hanging over the ex-permed striker like the Sword of Damocles (or should that be like a baseball bat on the M25 at Reigate Hill).

In 1989 Newcastle were relegated after finishing 20th in the top flight, having failed to win any of their final nine matches.

After 29 matches that season, Newcastle had won seven times.

After 29 matches this season, Newcastle have won seven times.

Relegation - like death but more important - does not respect reputation and unless you support the Big Five you would have tasted it.

That's the Big Five as it used to be in the days of the Big Match when you were granted 12 live games a season on ITV and they had to feature Arsenal, Tottenham, Liverpool, Everton or Manchester United.

If you remember when the Gunners or the Scousers were playing outside the top tier, you are more likely to be on a Saga cruise than reading this, but United were in the Second Division as recently as 1975 while Spurs were amongst the also-rans in 1978.

That is the end of today's history lesson kids for which we will receive a small Government grant.

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SPORTING QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND: "If he doesn't (apologise), then I'm gonna kick three colours of **** out of the little *******, David Coulthard turns the airwaves blue after colliding with Felipe Massa in the Australian Grand Prix.

FOREIGN VIEW: One fan was stabbed and 174 were arrested after fighting among Boca Juniors supporters in the latest outbreak of Argentine violence. The trouble came a day after a Velez Sarsfield fan was shot dead on the way to the stadium and fellow supporters rioted, forcing their team's game at San Lorenzo to be postponed.

TODAY'S TALKING POINT: What's the best strop on a football field you've seen - recount those tales of players sulking spectacularly at being taken off. Anyone who has swapped a shirt with Cristiano Ronaldo or who can scan a ticket stub of Liverpool's last Second Division game in 1962 will receive a Eurosport Yahoo! pen.

COMING UP: Is Jay McEveley still the worst player in the Premier League? A crack squad of algebra specialists are working on Team of the Week as we speak.

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