Early Doors

Adebayor got off lightly

Early Doors

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Early Doors was one of the few who attempted any sort of
defence of Emmanuel Adebayor
after his mad moment (sorry, moments) against

However, even ED thinks he got off lightly in escaping a ban
for his bonkers goal celebration.

The FA cited "extremely provocative abuse" from
the away fans at Manchester
City in their decision
merely to fine Adebayor and give him a suspended, er, suspension.

ED said in its initial reaction: "Just because Adebayor
lost his self-control, it doesn't
excuse the Arsenal fans that did the same thing."

If that is true, which it is, then the opposite must also
apply. Adebayor has a duty to keep his head irrespective of the spleen vented
in his direction.

Any racist abuse aimed at Adebayor was unacceptable
and the perpetrators should be tracked down and punished - as with the
Tottenham fans prosecuted over their treatment of Sol Campbell.

However, the actions of a minority do not give a player
carte blanche to do whatever he wants.

City fans will point out that Gary Neville was not banned
for his celebration after United's
96th-minute winner in the Manchester
derby, but that is to oversimplify things: not every offence is as bad as every

Neville momentarily overreacted to Michael Owen's goal before having the good sense to check
himself; he shimmied back to the United bench rather comically pretending to
warm up. It was unwise and worth a warning.

celebration was obviously premeditated, and he had roughly 15 seconds as he
sprinted the length of the pitch to realise he was about to do something

It took video evidence and a few watches to establish
exactly what Neville had done wrong; it was instantly obvious that Adebayor's act was outrageous.

Clearly it is easier for Carlos Tevez to be magnanimous when
scoring against West Ham than it is for Adebayor against Arsenal.

But Gooners would point out that West Ham fans like Tevez because
he never gave less than 100 per cent, whereas Adebayor spent most of last
season expending less energy than an environmentally-friendly lightbulb, then
burned his bridges in emphatic style when he left. (''The way the fans behaved towards me was
not nice at all ... it's not my
fault that Milan, Barcelona or Real Madrid wanted to sign me.")

Anyway, if this FA decision increases Arsenal's sense of grievance ahead of Adebayor's return to the Emirates in April, that's fine by ED.

- - -

Early Doors doesn't
watch soap operas. Not because they are too trashy (witness the staggering
amount of reality TV ED watches) but because it gets its fill of mindless
prattling while sitting in front of Sky Sports News all day.

It's got it all -
drama! A yellow breaking news bar telling us anything from "Blackburn midfielder Keith Andrews agrees one-year contract
extension" to "Paul Sturrock news conference coming up."

Suspense! Witness the teasing way they throw to commercials:
"Does Berti Vogts have a new job in football? We reveal all after the
break." Imagine how weird it would be if the answer were no...

Violence! Well, not literally, but there is certainly a
feeling of slight murderousness every time that odious corporate mouthpiece Jim
White pops up on screen.

A disproportionate sense of its own importance! Just as
soaps appear to exist in a separate universe outside of which nothing exists,
so Sky Sports News is equally lacking in a sense of perspective. When Mike
Wedderburn tells you last night's
Elite League speedway clash between Poole and Coventry, for those 45 seconds it is the most
important thing in the history of mankind. Nothing else matters.

And now... romance! Until recently, the channel has been a
little too cautious to authorise any more than a bit of awkward flirting, but
yesterday a love story came to light from the unlikely source of rugby league
loudmouth Mike 'Stevo' Stevenson. Apropos of nothing, Stevenson revealed
that hosts Sam Matterface and Natalie Sawyer had just got engaged. Cue stunned
silence and red faces all round. ED fully expects the evil Sky machine to fire
one or both presenters for failing to clear their relationship with HR.

- - -

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "Me and my family are from Samoa
and I've got a lot of family there
that got caught in the tsunami. A lot of people are going through a hard time."
It's fair to say Tim Cahill's canoe goal celebration went down better than the
handcuffs one.

coach Raymond Domenech has offered to help striker Karim Benzema after the
player's 'unacceptable' admission that he had not felt like giving his best
in last month's match against Serbia.

The Real Madrid player told a news conference
last Sunday that he did not "really feel like playing, really feel like giving
(my) best" when he came off the bench with five minutes left in the World
Cup qualifier which ended in a 1-1 draw.

"I do not condemn anyone on a
sentence," Domenech said after he named Benzema in his 24-man squad to
face the Faroe Islands and Austria
in their next World Cup qualifiers.

"It is not good to say (what he said).
You can think this way a little bit but you cannot say it. It is unacceptable but
I remain optimistic.

"I think he wants to do well. I want to
offer a helping hand, even when someone is wrong and that is the case."

refusal to condemn Benzema on a sentence is at odds with his harsh treatment of
David Trezeguet and Robert Pires - the coach appears to have condemned the
latter not on a sentence, but on a star sign.

COMING UP: A smorgasbord of live football scores today, to
wit: Schalke v Frankfurt,
Vitesse v Sparta Rotterdam,
Academica v Maritimo,
Trabzonspor v Gaziantepspor, Romanian, Italian, French, Polish
and U20 World Cup action.

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