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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  • Spitting mad

    Wayne Rooney faces a possible assault charge, according to The Sun, after he was accused of spitting at a paparazzi photographer.

    The Manchester United forward was involved in an altercation after leaving a restaurant in central London and was interviewed under caution by police - not arrested. He is thought to deny the allegation.

    Out in the real world, spitting at someone is considered common assault - if pavements could press charges - but on the pitch the worst you can expect is a red card and your own chant.

    Take El-Hadji Diouf. He was fined for spitting at a Celtic fan while at

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  • It’s a rich man’s world

    Chancellor Alistair Darling lays out his first budget later today, and while the concerns of everyday working families are all well and good, the real question is - how will it affect the average Premier League footballer's bank balance?

    CAR TAXES

    This is the point where Early Doors squeezes into its faded jeans, slips a Meat Loaf CD into the stereo and makes a mobile phone call while speeding down the motorway.

    An expected £2,000 tax on the showroom price of the most gas-guzzling cars is bad news for anyone hoping to cruise around in a Lamborghini Murcielago, which emits a colossal 500g of

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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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • It’s war

    "A war machine built by spending lots of money."

    What was Claudio Ranieri talking about yesterday? The US army? Paul
    McCartney's legal team? Secret
    government plans to equip nationalised banks with nuclear launch pads? Or Max
    Clifford's publicity empire, built one
    cancer-stricken 13-year-old father at a time?

    No, of course not, he was talking about Chelsea. Even if the days when Roman
    Abramovich was world football's
    biggest spender seem like a quaint anachronism, the tinker man is never slow to
    reflect on his misfortune in getting sacked at the height of the splurging years,
    having just

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