Early Doors

Monster Masch-up

Early Doors

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Footballers may well live in their own little bubbles, snugly wrapped up in cotton wool and guarded from reality by a crack team of agents, overly protective managers and highly paid lawyers.

But Early Doors refuses to accept that a basic understanding of current affairs in the real world is an entirely foreign concept to a footballer - after all, they pick up the papers to read about how well they played at the weekend, don't they?

Which makes it all the more unbelievable that last week's hoohaa about players' lack of respect for referees and the post Cole-gate fallout (gags on a postcard to the usual address, please) appears to have entirely passed by Javier Mascherano.

Given the coverage afforded to the subject over the past five days, did Mascherano not realise that his actions at Old Trafford were bordering on the wrong side of ill advised?

Regardless of whether he used foul and abusive language towards Steve Bennett - ED suspects he did not, but now wishes he had at least got his money's worth - the Argentine cannot have been surprised by the outcome.

As it was, he certainly did appear taken aback when Bennett brandished red, making him see the same colour and finally properly lose control on his way off the pitch. It even took a posse of team-mates to prevent him from doing something he may have later regretted (yeah, right, it was one of those classic 'Hold me back lads! Please. Lads? Hold me back, I'm gonna batter him' moments you see not very hard people acting out on pitches across the country week in week out).

Perhaps he's just really thick. Certainly, several of this morning's red tops agree, with the Sun running with the headline 'Dumbest Man on the Planet' on its back page while the Daily Star go for 'Mad Masch' and the Daily Mail 'Monster Masch'.

It's no secret that, as a breed, footballers aren't the sharpest tools in the box - take a quick look at last week's Question of Sport for some prime, juicy evidence (Nigel Reo-Coker could not quite remember who will be co-hosting the summer's Euro 2008 finals with Austria. Are you having a laugh, Nige? You're a professional footballer, for crying out loud).

In fairness to Mascherano, he has rarely displayed such stupidity, although he did once sign for West Ham. But there are definitely more worthy contenders for the title of dumbest man on the planet.

Regardless, Masch now seems set for an FA charge and could be on the receiving end of a five game ban, which will go nicely with his newfound status as public enemy number two (the Ashley Cole thing is still too raw to forget about just yet).

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King Kev finally proved he's still got the capacity to win at the weekend, if only after nine previous failed attempts and against one of the worst teams in the Premier League.

Nevertheless, the good times rolled back onto Tyneside on Saturday night and it would be remiss of ED to let their victory over Fulham go unnoticed.

So why did the result leave ED have a sour taste in its mouth? It's simple really - Mike Ashley's post-match comments.

Apparently the Magpies owner burst into the bar at full-time and shouted to Chris Mort "let's get naked and have a party".

Fat, naked Geordie men are a common sight at St James' Park, but the thought of Ashley partying away in the St James' bar without his customary Newcastle shirt frankly scares ED.

Perhaps Ashley just wanted to enjoy the moment while it lasted, and you can't blame him for that, although there were good omens for the Toon's survival elsewhere too.

After Bad Friday's revelation that Newcastle's fate this season is intertwined with that of struggling Paris St Germain, it came as good news to Magpies fans when the link was broken nearly as easily and quickly as it had been created, PSG slipping to defeat against Lyon while Newcastle were still nursing a sweet victory and nakedness-induced hangover.

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La Liga top scorer Luis Fabiano says he is under pressure from his family to leave Sevilla following an armed robbery at their house in the Spanish city.

"My family are very scared and they don't want to stay in Seville," the Brazilian said. "I'm trying to talk them round but it isn't easy."

Not easy? No kidding. For a man who has already spectacularly displayed his lack of prowess in a fight - the now famous 'drunken windmill attack' on Carlos Diogo - it's easy to see why his wife is lacking faith in his ability to protect the homestead.

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QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND PART ONE: "I'm sweating. Be nice. Don't worry about upsetting me, tell me I'm sweating." Paul Jewell proves Mike Ashley hasn't got exclusive fat and naked rights to provoking repulsive thoughts in ED's mind after the News of the World revealed excerpts from the Derby boss's homemade dirty video.

QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND PART TWO: "I'm my own man. I don't want people to say that I'm a Fergie-type manager or a Hoddle-type manager. Paul Ince is Paul Ince, he's got his own style of management. People thought I was mad when I went to Macclesfield Town. They thought, because I was a big name, I should put my feet up and wait for a big club, but Paul Ince is not like that. Paul Ince, the footballer is gone, this is a new chapter in my life." Like Early Doors, Paul Ince likes to refer to himself in the third person.

NEEDLESS ADVICE OF THE DAY: "Managers must keep private lives private". An interesting insight from Tony Cascarino in the Times today, suggesting that it was actually Paul Jewell who distributed that tape of him at it with the "mystery blonde". Hardly likely.

FOREIGN VIEW: The spectre of hoologanism still looms large in South America, and it reared its ugly head once again in Argentina at the weekend as Racing Club fans, furious after their team had three players sent off in six minutes and a goal disallowed, hurled missiles onto the pitch and forced the match against Estudiantes to be abandoned. And Liverpool fans complain about one red card...

TALKING POINT: Is Javier Mascherano the dumbest man on the planet? Or was he simply the victim of circumstance? Post your comments in the usual manner below.

COMING UP: It may be a Bank Holiday, but there are still a team of worker drones buzzing their way around an updated Team of the Week, Winners and Losers and Around the World in 80 Goals for your perusing pleasure. All three should be with you before midday.

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