Early Doors

  • England learn obvious lessons

    "It had to be him" was the stock reaction to Wayne Rooney opening the scoring in England's 3-1 win over Switzerland in Basel last night.

    It was, we were told, inevitable that he would grab the headlines for his football after those salacious stories about his private life kept the back and front pages busy over the past few days (and continue to do so in some this morning).

    Except it wasn't really, was it? Rooney's opening goal at St Jakob Park was his first for England in a year, and a simple tap-in against the meanest defence in Europe to boot. Early Doors would even go as far as to call it

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  • The worst weekend of the year

    Early Doors doesn't want to start your Friday off on a
    negative, but it will do. This is probably the worst weekend of football all
    season.

    Lest ED get a slap on the wrist for failing to fulfil its 'UK and Ireland'
    remit, it should mention that Ireland,
    Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland all have fairly
    tasty Euro 2012 qualifiers tonight.

    But if you're English, the football landscape looks as empty
    as Manchester City's trophy cabinet.

    First we had to deal with England's matches getting shifted
    forward a day from their usual Saturday/Wednesday slot.

    Now ED is not one of those strange people

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  • Don’t have a cow, man

    "Sometimes you look in a field and you see a cow and you think it's a better cow than the one you've got in your own field. It's a fact, right, and it never really works out that way. It's probably the same cow and it's not as good as your own cow."

    So slow has been the Wayne Rooney story to develop, and so few the public pronouncements on the matter, that Early Doors is going to take the only course of action open to it and over-analyse the above statement, made last night by Sir Alex Ferguson.

    Here are the thoughts that occurred to ED:

    1- Cows? Is that a veiled reference to Rooney's marital

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  • Bigger scandal than England failure

    Following England's ignominious World Cup exit on Sunday (yes, we're still on that one), a real fallow period in terms of reporting on Our Boys has been struck upon.

    With the shamed squad back on terra firma in Blighty, braced for six weeks of accusations of being overpaid wasters from the same fans who will return to pack out Premier League grounds once more when the season kicks off, there is a real news vacuum back here in Sun City.

    The great and the good of the English sporting press are shuffling around the complex like lost children, unsure of what to do with themselves.

    There is only

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  • The Comolli commotion

    Liverpool's appointment of Damien Comolli as their new director of football strategy is an interesting first major move by John Henry.

    One big point of interest is the Frenchman's job title. Would director of football not have been sufficient? Perhaps they were unwilling to announce the creation of a role which does have a certain stigma attached to it in English football.

    Plenty of clubs in Europe have operated with such a person as part of their management team for years, but the appointment of a man between head coach and board has never sat right at clubs in the Premier League.

    Comolli

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  • Tom and George’s Epic Fail

    After seeing the Montenegrin media whoop and holler in the Wembley press box on Tuesday night, it's nice to know that international football is still fun for some people.

    But Early Doors for one can't wait until the Premier League action resumes this weekend.

    Not because the latest round of domestic fixtures brings with it Bolton v Stoke - although that is one fixture Danny Murphy will no doubt follow with interest - but because by 3pm on Saturday the issue of Liverpool ownership should be resolved.

    No more cosy fireside chats with Uncle Tom or watching George flash the Benjamins like he's 50

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  • Not just Rooney looking out for number one

    The reports that Wayne Rooney wants to leave Manchester United continue to rumble on, and everybody has now got their teeth firmly sunk into the story.

    Like the government's spending review, or the continued existence of Jedward, this is one of those issues on which everyone has an opinion.

    And when there are opinions to be bandied about, where better to look than Portman Road? Ever since Roy Keane took over at Ipswich Town, his press conferences have often been less about dispensing the latest Tractor Boys team news and more about him setting the world to rights.

    In fairness, he is only

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  • End of an era for United

    This feels like the end.

    The end of Manchester United's mastery of English football. Wayne Rooney is only one player, but his desire to leave the club is laden with far greater significance.

    These things creep up on you. There was no precise moment at which Liverpool's era of dominance was declared over.

    But one morning they woke up and it was five years since they had won the league. Then 10. Soon it will be 20.

    Arsenal's Invincibles did not stage a farewell gig, but slowly drifted away. Suddenly you looked at the team sheet and there was no Henry, no Pires, no Vieira. In fact, none of the

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  • How will we take this man seriously?

    After a two-day hiatus that felt not so much like World Cup withdrawal as full-on cold turkey, we are finally ready to commence the business end of this jamboree with some Proper Matches.

    Of course, with England not invited to the last-eight party, a new route in via the back door is required. Germany v Argentina certainly fits the bill, allowing us to look on enviously at two of our supposed bitter rivals for the price of one on Saturday.

    So, off to Pretoria to see Argentina then, arriving ridiculously early for what turned out to be an evening training session. Honestly, these latin types.

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  • Germany’s path of righteous vengeance

    Before the quarter-final between Argentina and Germany, it was all about Diego Maradona. After the Albiceleste were drubbed 4-0 in Cape Town, it's all about the Mannschaft.

    Joachim Loew's young and exuberant team were even more devastating at the Green Point Stadium than they were against England in the last round, and with Brazil also out and Spain still far from convincing, the World Cup is suddenly their oyster.

    Even the normally reserved German chancellor Angela Merkel was up and down in her seat as though she had a particularly amorous Silvio Berlusconi behind her. When she went to

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