Early Doors

Land of the dinosaurs

Early Doors

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Early Doors hoped to wake up this morning to a winter
wonderland, and eight-foot snow drifts making its attendance at work about as likely
as Fergie and Nemanja Vidic going on a camping holiday together.

But instead, it got a miserable smattering of the white
stuff, and its path to work was painstaking but passable. And as the snow falls
ever harder outside, ED knows it could be some weeks before it returns to the
bosom of its family.

To compound ED's
misery, a bout of absenteeism means there is real work to be done, not just
self-indulgent blogging. All of which is a roundabout way of saying today's ED is shorter than usual. But it doesn't matter. You're
not at work anyway.

- - -

Bolton are expected to appoint
Owen Coyle as their manager today, but Early Doors thinks the Trotters have
gone for the wrong man.

Had they been more decisive and sacked Gary Megson a couple
of weeks earlier, they could have appointed a man whose early movements in the
transfer market suggest he is perfect for City.

A man who, despite having almost unlimited resources at his
disposal, is set to make Patrick Vieira his first signing, and has failed in a
bid to bring Juan Sebastian Veron back to England.

ED is talking, of course, about Roberto
Mancini, who seems intent on bringing a taste of Christmas Past to Manchester City.

What does he think this is, 1996? There used to be a time when
a side comprised entirely of Parma
rejects in their mid-30s could no longer do the business in the Best League In
The World.

When Fredi Bobic could rock up on loan at the Reebok and
keep them in the top flight, when Ivan Campo, Youri Djorkaeff and Jay Jay
Okocha defied the march of time to run rings around younger, fitter
adversaries.

We thought those days were over, but the financially mighty
have been crippled by debt of their own making. Big stars are abandoning England faster
than a slimline Hannah Waterman ditching the odd-looking bloke off Strictly
Come Dancing.

Teams can no longer attract marquee names, and the only
option is a return to the days when the Premier League was a retirement home
for foreign stars in their dotage.

ED is excited about this, if only because it re-raises the
prospect of Ronaldo MK I coming to these shores.

Even Taribo West - the 35 going on 45 former Derby man - must be
considering a Premier League comeback.

It would be unfair to say Mancini is only interested in
bringing former greats to the club. Veron was never great.

Vieira, on the other hand, is a different kettle of two-footed
challenges, fights with Roy Keane and odd smears of Vick's
Vaporub.

In ED's humble
view, Vieira is the best player of the Premier League era. Arsenal finished in
the top two eight seasons in a row when he was at Highbury; since his departure
in 2005 they have come no better than third.

The consensus is that Vieira's
'legs have gone', which is shorthand for 'he
plays in Italy
now, so we don't rate him'.

But ED believes. He's
only 33, he's a model pro, he's now injury free and he is precisely the kind of leader City
need.

- - -

QUOTE OF THE DAY: Nemanja Vidic: "Everybody in the club knows that I
have a marvellous understanding with my coach Ferguson.Ferguson said that he
didn't talk with the club doctor but
he didn't say that he doesn't believe in my injuries and that we are in a fight.
I am not unhappy at Old Trafford. I am just injured."

POLL OF THE DAY: You may or may not have noticed (probably
the latter) that we are doing a daily football poll these days. Yesterday, 64
per cent of voters reckoned Owen Coyle is making a mistake joining Bolton
.

Today's poll will
be something Vieira-lika. Result tomorrow morning.

FREEBIE OF THE DAY: Sign up for Fantasy Golf and win a trip to Ireland. True,
you'll have to play some golf once
you're there, but three nights at Dundrum
House Hotel in Tipperary
should provide plenty of opportunities to get bladdered on Guinness.

COMING UP: Weather permitting, it's
Arsenal v Bolton this evening. Why not stay in and follow our superb minute-by-minute coverage?

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