Early Doors

  • Red is the colour

    What is it with academics? These publicly-funded layabouts have the time, the resources and the brainpower to solve all the world's problems, yet end up publishing reports on whether it is better to put milk in your tea before or after the boiling water.

    (For the record, these studies always find it is better either to go milk-first or to get a life.)

    Take the group of boffins at Durham and Plymouth Universities who decided that, rather than applying their copious grey matter to something useful like curing AIDS or clothing Danielle Lloyd, they would look at what colour football strip teams

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  • Go to Hull!

    Early Doors spent yesterday celebrating rumours of a Stone
    Roses reunion like it was 1989, so how very appropriate that Phil 'Brownie' Brown
    should dominate the news agenda this morning.

    Following Hull's
    defeat at Arsenal
    in their FA Cup quarter-final, the young Ian McShane
    lookalike delivered his forthright opinion in a manner completely at odds with
    opposition manager Arsene Wenger.

    "Yep, that's offside," he said abruptly after being shown a
    replay of William Gallas's late winner.

    "Yep, he's offside," he added of Nick Barmby's disallowed
    goal midway through the first half. No ifs, no buts.

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  • You can’t go home again

    Thomas Wolfe's 1940 novel
    'You can't go home again' tells the story of a young writer whose
    semi-autobiographical book based on his small-town upbringing earns him wide
    critical acclaim but alienates him from the people of his hometown.

    When he returns home
    he is surprised to find that those who once had such high hopes for him feel
    betrayed and belittled, and he receives plenty of abuse and several threats on
    his life. The story is an epic lament to the loss of innocence and what we lose in pursuit of our dreams. The song by DJ Shadow of the same name has no words in it, so means nothing.

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  • Giovanni Trap O’Toni

    Early Doors loves nothing more than an unfounded rumour, and has already ordered its 'Giovanni Trap O'Toni' t-shirt.

    The legendary manager is now the unlikely favourite to take over as Republic of Ireland boss following a bombshell from Sky's all-powerful little yellow news ticker.

    Citing mysterious 'Sky Sports News sources' (were these the same sources that said Arsenal were about to buy Jonathan Woodgate?), the ticker said Trap was the front-runner to replace Steve 'Steven' Staunton.

    Almost immediately, the Italian's odds plummeted from 150/1 to around 7/4, despite there being no indication

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  • The least bad of Early Doors

    With Early Doors off on its winter break stealing presents from needy orphans, quaffing Granny Doors's sherry and falling asleep in front of the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special, here is a selection of ED's 'best' moments from 2008.

    On spelling mistakes: 'Early Doors was rather taken by Mohamed Aboutrika's goal celebration after scoring against Sudan. The Egypt playmaker revealed a t-shirt stating: "Sympathize with Gaza". Referee Koffi Codja promptly booked him - suggesting he does not - and Aboutrika was later warned for his politically-motivated actions. But sources close to Early

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  • The backlash starts here

    After Thursday's events at Heathrow, Alan Shearer's characterisation of Newcastle under Kevin Keegan as "kamikaze" was, to say the least, unfortunate.

    The Sun's news and sports departments are obviously not on speaking terms, with the smoking wreckage of a Boeing 777 adorning the front page and the headline "Kamikaze Keegan" on the back.

    Unfortunate timing apart, Shearer's comments were presumably made in blissful ignorance of the facts that Japan resorted to such attacks only when the Second World War was a lost cause, and that the pilots involved tended to die in a massive fireball.

    In an

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  • The final countdown

    Not the chart-topping classic from long haired Swedish rockers Europe, rather the gradual edging closer of the most epoch-defining event of recent times.

    The 1986 number one fantasised about blasting off from Earth for the distant planet of Venus - a feat that, even 22 years later, scientists are still trying to get their heads around - but if all the hype is to be believed, tomorrow's Champions League final will of far more import to mankind than exploring the outer reaches of the solar system.

    Forget Apollo missions and moon landings, Chelsea are playing Manchester United in Moscow! And it

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  • Not pretty at City

    It would be easy to have a pop at Manchester City after their 3-1 home defeat to Fulham on Sunday - so let's do just that.

    City's gutless surrender to a side that had only won once away from home all season has heaped the pressure on manager Mark Hughes, who has presided over a recent run of five defeats in their last six games.

    Nothing says 'You're getting sacked in the morning' like shots of a star player looking sullen on the bench as his team-mates struggle on the pitch, and the Eastlands fans greeted the introduction of Ched Evans ahead of Robinho with chants of "You don't know what

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  • Joy Division

    Has The Times conjured up the crises at Newcastle and Tottenham (and Everton) to tie in with its giveaway of depressing CDs?

    It can hardly be a coincidence that, on a day when Toon and Spurs supporters see their clubs openly mocked on the back pages, The Times is giving away a free Joy Division album, Closer.

    Fans who were at White Hart Lane on Sunday can certainly relate to the opening lines of track one - Atrocity Exhibition: 'Asylums with doors open wide/Where people had paid to see inside/For entertainment they watch his body twist'

    Whatever the truth, it is a triumph of joined-up

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  • Pick of the weak

    Is Harry Redknapp on a one-man mission to field the worst team in the history of cups?

    Last month the Tottenham boss promised to field
    his "weakest possible" side against Manchester United in the FA Cup
    and treated Old Trafford to the delights of Ben Alnwick, Chris Gunter (pictured)
    and Gareth 'Still winless in the
    Premier League' Bale.

    In Donetsk last night,
    Redknapp plumbed even murkier depths as Spurs lost 2-0 to Shakhtar, with
    Fraizer Campbell, Giovani dos Santos,
    Dean Parrett and the incomparable Heurelho Gomes coming in to the mix.

    So presumably Harry will pick a full-strength side at

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