Early Doors

  • Europe stands up to rampant Mancs

    It's funny, given their fearsome starts to the season, how frequently the phrase 'The Two Manchester Clubs' is suddenly being said and written all over the place.

    You had better get used to it, because it is here to stay. Until a catchier term is coined by someone smarter than Early Doors, we may as well put the first letters in capitals for added emphasis.

    Anyway, after laying waste to all before them domestically, The Two Manchester Clubs were both given a reminder last night that they won't always have things their own way.

    Wednesday evening saw both United and City begin their Champions

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  • Hats off to Arsenal

    Napoleon once famously called England "a nation of shopkeepers", but one of the country's elite football clubs is doing its best to smash that reputation by fighting the good fight against the dastardly local businesses who appear intent on cruelly undermining corporate giants with their insidious plans for trademark infringement.

    Yes, Arsenal have rightly sought fit to take legal action against a shop brazenly using the club's name and creating a "risk of confusion" with the Gunners' own global brand.

    Oh, wait, what's that? This shop is actually called Arsenale, which is both spelt and

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  • Rooney Rule well worth exploring

    Until this week, Early Doors thought the Rooney Rule was the law of economics that dictated a packet of cigarettes was worth £200. However, it turns out it is actually a proposition that could transform the fate of black managers in England.

    Named after Dan Rooney, the owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers, and introduced in 2003, the Rooney Rule is in effect in the NFL and dictates that when interviewing for a vacant coach position, a team must speak to at least one black candidate.

    Civil rights lawyer Cyrus Mehri drafted the law and, invited by PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor, he met with the

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  • England should not worry about Bale

    Wales rock up at Wembley this evening to face England in their Euro 2012 Group G qualifier and, in all honesty, it doesn't look good for them.

    Wales have not beaten England since 1984, back in the days of the Home Nations Cup. Then again, they had not beaten anyone at all for nine matches, stretching back to a 5-1 win over Luxembourg 13 months ago, before they did England a solid by beating Montenegro 2-1 on Saturday. And everyone beats Luxembourg.   

    Still, England have not exactly made England a fortress since returning from their dismal showing in South Africa last year, winning none of

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  • Few home comforts for England

    On the front cover of the match programme for England's Euro 2012 qualifier against Wales at Wembley last night - before you open up to see the list of the nation's 'honours', of which Le Tournoi is the only trophy away from British soil -  was a picture of Scott Parker.

    The Football Writer's Footballer of the Year and new Spurs recruit spoke in his lead interview about the importance of the result, his pride in playing for his country and how vital the home crowd were for England.

    Sadly for England fans, the brand of energy and dynamism that Parker brings to the team was confined to the bench

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  • Cheaper than Andy Carroll

    It's nearly over.

    After the longest transfer saga in football history,
    Barcelona are about to get the player they want for the price they want.

    A look through the Eurosport-Yahoo! archives suggests the
    first serious mention of Fabregas returning to Barca was in 2007 - we have been
    dealing with this nonsense for four years.

    Despite the fact that Barcelona did not so much woo Fabregas
    as jump on him and start dry-humping his leg, Arsenal failed to extract a
    premium for their much-coveted captain.

    The whole thing defies logic - the more publicly you state
    your desire to sign a player, the more

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  • Football takes a back seat

    You know the country is in a bad state when a group of love
    rats, night-club brawlers and assorted unsavoury characters is called upon to
    show moral leadership.

    Early Doors refers not to the government's COBRA committee, which meets this morning, but to the England squad, who
    appealed for calm in a statement after the friendly against the Netherlands was
    called off.

    ED can only guess what is going on in the tiny minds of
    those laying waste to our urban landscape, but it is almost certainly not:
    "Well, I was going to break into Curry's and help myself to a flatscreen
    telly, but now Andy Carroll

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  • Welcome back, football

    It has become trendy to greet the start of the football with a sense of weariness.

    Is it that time again? It only seems like yesterday since Player X scored Goal Y to win Tournament Z. It's football 24/7, 365 days a year. Whatever happened to the close season, eh?

    ED was reminded of this yesterday in the immediate, sexy aftermath of a deeply soulful Luther Vandross cut on Steve Wright's Sunday Love Songs. No, really.

    Perhaps seeking to diffuse the licentious atmosphere created by Vandross's yearning vocal, our host harrumphed: "It's the middle of summer and I find myself asking 'are you

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  • Welcome to the Champions League

    As introductions to the Champions League go, Manchester City's is thrillingly tricky.

    After a glittering ceremony on Thursday evening, debates raged as to whether Roberto Mancini's side had been placed in a Group of Death alongside Bayern Munich, Villarreal and Napoli, but Group A was clearly the toughest drawn in the salubrious surrounds of Monaco, and to ED's mind that at least makes it a Group of Possible Demise.

    In fact, it is the first time that teams from England, Italy, Spain and Germany - Europe's top four leagues - have been represented in the same group at this stage. Welcome to the

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