Early Doors

  • Complacent Cole deserves boos

    Early Doors never thought it would see anybody leap to Ashley Cole's defence.

    This is a man who embodies everything odious about the modern game. Who left his boyhood club to chase money; who became the face (or the back) of anti-respect when he turned away from a referee; who played the field despite landing a pop star wife; who published a remarkably self-pitying autobiography that sold only 4000 copies.

    Now he is cast as a victim after England fans booed him for his calamitous pass that led to Kazakhstan's goal on Saturday.

    Words like 'disgraceful', 'mindless' and 'idiots' are bandied about

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  • Defending the Drog

    Didier Drogba faces one of those ubiquitous FA probes over comments made in his autobiography over his red card in the Champions League final.

    Drogba was sent off late in extra time for a girly little slap on Nemanja Vidic, and said that he ought to have gone the whole hog and clocked the Serb seeing as he was going to get his marching orders anyway.

    He wrote: "I have seen the match on video and I believe I should not have been sent off with three minutes to go.

    "If I had punched him, I would have understood. Now I wish I had."

    If that shows anything, it is admirable restraint on Drogba's

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  • Football’s most pointless jobs

    There was a time when Tottenham's new acquisition Les Ferdinand would have been called a coach.

    But football has fallen victim to management speak, and Sir Les is rather pompously described as a 'strikers' consultant'.

    Early Doors explains what those ridiculous job titles really mean.

    Strikers' consultant - Les Ferdinand, Tottenham Hotspur

    It sounds like he should be offering advice to disgruntled postal workers, but apparently that is not the case. Harry Redknapp seems to have taken a shine to pundits on upstart Irish satellite channels, having already brought Tim Sherwood to Spurs.

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  • Steven Gerrard: Yes he can

    Early Doors would like to pay tribute to President-elect Barack Obama by printing the climax of his acceptance speech (at the bottom of this linked page, logically enough).

    After a night of nachos, corndogs, white zinfandel and Jim Beam, a few of the words might be wrong, but this is how ED heard it:

    This football season has had many firsts and many stories that will be told for generations. One thing that is on Early Doors's mind this morning is a man who plies his trade at Anfield.

    He's a lot like the millions of others who stood in line to argue with a referee except for one thing - Steven

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  • Justice for Ronaldo!

    Cristiano Ronaldo will stop at nothing to hog the headlines - even rank

    Manchester United's victory at neighbours City might have been remembered
    for the football had Ronaldo not been sent off for his two-fisted batting of a

    And Early Doors has photographic evidence, published on the right, that
    proves the move was in fact premeditated and he had spent the week perfecting
    it in training.

    Just what was he thinking? As
    ever, we need look no further than United's oracle Sir Alex Ferguson for an
    explanation: "He was trying to protect himself from the ball hitting his


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  • Double detention

    Fabio Capello has been accused of treating England players like naughty third formers, introducing Tom Brown's schooldays-esque rules like no tuck before bed, no texting during supper and addressing players by their surnames.

    The England Form Master is getting mightily cheesed off at all his pupils skiving off their extra-curricular activity, aided and abetted by their parent clubs.

    Just yesterday, he received the following note in his pigeon-hole:

    Dear Mr Capello,


    Please excuse Stevie from PE on Wednesday. He is coming down with mumps, is afraid of flying and has lost his passport so will

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  • Vive le Gallas!

    Early Doors is not one to sit on the fence. We absolutely love the French. Without them the Premier League would be a dull, cliché-laden insult to our intelligence, and Arsenal would be a Championship side managed by Bruce Rioch.

    It all began with Eric 'Ooh Aah' Cantona, who bizarrely landed on our shores in the colours of Leeds United. But Cantona was a genius. A quick hop into bed with her off Men Behaving Badly (allegedly), who happened to be Lee Chapman's wife, and he was off to Manchester United. Gabriel Heinze, listen and learn.

    Then there was the moment Cantona attacked a fan at

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  • Audience participation

    The FA are searching around their Soho Square offices for a sufficiently weighty tome to throw at Didier Drogba after he chucked a coin at Burnley fans last night.

    Early Doors would suggest a hardback Roget's Thesaurus or, failing that, one of the self-indulgent late Harry Potter books where JK Rowling goes off on tangents for 100 pages at a time in the literary equivalent of a 14-minute guitar solo.

    Drogba need not fear any more than a slap on the wrist, however. After all, it was the Burnley fans who started it.

    Still, far be it from Early Doors to turn down the chance to dust off a list of

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  • Moneychest-er City

    According to research conducted by dusty academic types, a downturn in the economic cycle invariably leads to people spending more money on entertainment (stretch, yawn, sleep).

    For evidence of this you need look no further than the soaraway success of AC/DC's new album, 'Black Ice'. Number one in 29 countries and counting, the veteran rockers are doing rather nicely from this global recession with their rasping one-trick shtick.

    Call it escapism; call it rock'n'roll therapy; call it a schoolboy fetish - whatever you call it, this trend for spending frivolously when there is barely enough to

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  • English football needs Antonio Cassano

    It is a source of profound, searing regret that Antonio Cassano turned down Manchester City in 2007 and chose instead to join Sampdoria.

    Put simply, the man is a loon, and rejecting City might be the only sensible thing he has ever done.

    The mere thought of Cassano and Joey Barton in the same dressing room is enough to bring ED out in a hot flush.

    The 26-year-old could start an argument in an empty room, and his arrival in the Premier League would be the most entertaining thing to happen to football since Steve McClaren's Dutch accent.

    A copy of his autobiography and a good Italian dictionary

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