Early Doors

  • Dawn of the deadline

    Tick! Tock! Tick! Tock! There are just eight hours, 22 minutes
    and 51, 50, 49, 48 seconds until the transfer window slams in our face like a
    nightclub door when the bouncer spots Early Doors's trainers.

    Despite being multi-million pound businesses, football clubs
    approach transfer dealings in roughly the same manner as a student revising for
    finals.

    They have two months to get their business done, but end up
    putting it off until one final, frantic, Red Bull-fuelled cramming session.

    Consequently, the final day of the transfer window is a
    mildly amusing spectacle of unseemly scrambling as clubs

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  • Let’s all get excited

    A weekend goal splurge in the Premier
    League has got the juices flowing alright.

    The opening round's impressive tally of 26
    goals was eclipsed by an incredible 35 over the past couple of days - and there
    is still one game still to go.

    Six-nil victories for Arsenal, Chelsea and
    Newcastle helped keep the goal count ticking onwards and upwards, while saying
    much about the Premier League: the results were a fantastic advert for the sheer
    attacking power of English top flight teams and gave an indication of just why the
    Premier League is one of the most entertaining competitions in the world.

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  • Deal or no deal?

    10hrs 22mins and counting...

    Transfer deadline day: the day of the year football
    journalists up and down the country dread.

    Frantic last-minute activity as desperate players and clubs -
    and even more desperate agents - try to wangle late deals before that hypothetical
    window is slammed shut is not conducive to a quiet day at work for some.

    The bigger the names involved, the bigger the speculation and
    the greater the stress incurred. And of course, things are not helped by the
    hype machine on the telly otherwise known as Sky Sports News, who have been
    salivating at the prospect of covering

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  • The road to redemption starts here

    In years to come, people will look back on this week as a pretty eventful one in history.

    Tony Blair has emerged from the shadows to remind everyone that "look, guys, none of this was my fault", fresh efforts to find peace in the Middle East have kicked off and Stephen Hawking has effectively declared war on God.

    But tonight brings with it the event to trump them all - England v Bulgaria!

    The Three Lions kick off their qualification campaign for Euro 2012 at Wembley, but they will be lucky if they do so in a national stadium that is more than half-full.

    UEFA's decision to shift qualifying

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  • Super Nani can’t fly

    Short of sustaining an injury while reaching for the remote (David James), dropping a bottle of salad cream (Dave Beasant) or tripping over a dog (Liam Lawrence), there cannot be many more humiliating ways for a top footballer to rule himself out of action.

    But Portugal winger Nani has managed to find one, after his attempted acrobatics during a training session yesterday ended his hopes of appearing at the World Cup.

    Embarrassingly for Nani, his spectacular effort went horribly wrong and he ended up damaging his collar bone. Talk about an inglorious exit. It wasn't even in a proper match.

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  • Land of the dinosaurs

    Early Doors hoped to wake up this morning to a winter
    wonderland, and eight-foot snow drifts making its attendance at work about as likely
    as Fergie and Nemanja Vidic going on a camping holiday together.

    But instead, it got a miserable smattering of the white
    stuff, and its path to work was painstaking but passable. And as the snow falls
    ever harder outside, ED knows it could be some weeks before it returns to the
    bosom of its family.

    To compound ED's
    misery, a bout of absenteeism means there is real work to be done, not just
    self-indulgent blogging. All of which is a roundabout way of saying

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  • Ashley Cole is so underrated

    Ashley Cole might just be the most underrated player in
    English football. Seriously.

    Early Doors was struck by it as he tore Sunderland to shreds in Saturday's 7-2 win.

    You won't see any
    Chelsea fans
    with his name on the back of their replica shirts, or hear them chanting his
    name (except against Arsenal).

    He only ever receives grudging praise for his performance -
    everybody knows he is good, but you will struggle to find anyone willing to
    admit it.

    He is the only English player who can reasonably claim to be
    the best in the world at his position.

    He is remarkably consistent, and always plays

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  • Team Neville v Team Tevez!

    19:00 ED PREDICTS! 

    A cloud of Volcanic ash will settle over Europe in April, grounding all air traffic for days on end, the title race will be done and dusted by teatime on Saturday April 17.

    - - - 

    17:50 FULL-TIME!!

    The great Team Neville v Team Tevez debate is over, and here are the final scores after 536 comments and more than a few spoiled ballot papers:

    Team Neville 198-169 Team Tevez 

    After starting quickly, Team Tevez faded in what United fans hope will be an omen for tonight.

    Will the Manchester derby go the same way? Log on from 20:00 UK time for minute-by-minute comments.

    Thanks to

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  • May the least bad team win

    Yesterday's
    Guardian featured a piece discussing the weakness of both teams competing for
    the Ashes.

    It was headlined: 'May the less bad team win'.

    ED has shown its appreciation by pinching the title to describe this season's
    Premier League race (but substituting 'least' for 'less', pedantry fans).

    Xabi Alonso's imminent departure from Liverpool
    to Real Madrid
    means that all four of the main contenders go into the present
    campaign in a weaker position than last year.

    While the slide
    may not be as drastic as Australia's from 2005 to 2009, you feel the champions will be
    the team who deteriorate

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  • The gift that keeps on giving

    Early Doors is not going to accuse Steven Gerrard of deliberately throwing a match - not until video evidence of a News of the World sting emerges, anyway.

    The Liverpool captain's poor back pass led to Didier Drogba's opener as Chelsea won 2-0 at Anfield, tightening their grip on the title.

    The man the tabloids still insist on calling 'Gerro', even though no sane person in the real world does so, did his utmost to help the Blues towards winning the league, and stopping Manchester United overtaking their record haul of league championships in the process.

    The back pass was eerily similar to

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