Early Doors

  • Revolving Doors: Deadline Day Special

    Transfer Table: All the moves in one easy helping!

    This is how the day's events unfolded.

    00:48: That just about wraps things up for this summer's transfer window. So, no David Villa, Andrei Arshavin or Mario Gomez, but Robinho's move to City will go down as one of the most dramatic transfers in deadline day history. And with Berbatov's move to United confirmed, it's been a day to remember. 

    00:30: There it is! Confirmation that Spurs have reached agreement with Manchester United over the permanent signing of Dimitar Berbatov for a fee of £30.75m. Part of that agreement stipulates

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  • Lost in translation

    Nobody was expecting miracles straight away - that kind of optimism is left to Newcastle fans - but at one point last night, England fans could have been forgiven for thinking Steve McClaren was still in charge.

    First up was the insipid display, which lacked inspiration going forward and boasted a gaffe at the back that brought memories of just why the French love using the nickname 'Calamity James' so much.

    The personnel chosen to take to the field at the Stade de France also harked back to a bygone era, with the inclusion of a certain century-maker making all the headlines.

    Let's get one

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  • Teenage kicks and toilet humour

    "Crash", "Bashed", "Simply the Beast". There was only going to be one man making today's back page headlines - Ashley Cole.

    Perhaps "Dirty Bashtard" might have been more appropriate - his horror tackle very nearly broke Alan Hutton's leg - but as if that alone wasn't bad enough, his reaction in the aftermath was nothing short of appalling.

    Just a day after FA chief Lord Triesman vowed to get tough on pompous, arrogant players who show a lack of respect to referees, Cole took it upon himself to prove just how pompous, arrogant and disrespectful he can be.

    In a metaphorical two-fingered salute

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  • The vicar of Petach Tikva

    If there were any justice in the world, Avram Grant would have been mightily punished for saying he didn't care about the Carling Cup and comparing Everton to an Israeli side who could not afford to buy tea bags.

    But, as corn-rowed Fame Academy loser/next big thing of British soul Lemar once lamented: "You've seen a thousand times, there's not much justice in the world."

    The sporting karma gods were clearly too busy watching the Big Brother nominations to wreak vengeance on Grant as Chelsea strangled the life out of the plucky underdogs with a 1-0 win.

    Judging by his outfit, Grant was counting

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  • Becks in the Pub League

    Three weeks today David Beckham will find out whether he has been named in Fabio Capello's England squad for the friendly against France.

    This week Becks has been saying that he may miss out on the squad named by Signor 'individual strand of hair' due to a lack of match fitness - but frankly that is incidental.

    When Beckham went Stateside last year in pursuit of a big bag of green notes, he must have hoped that more big names would follow him to Major League Soccer.

    But the media frenzy that greeted his signing has not been followed by a string of big names and yesterday the MLS's latest

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  • One-armed bandit

    What does Bryan Robson have in common with a hyperactive toddler at bed time? Neither of them wants to go upstairs.

    Captain Marvel has parted ways with Sheffield United after refusing to be shunted into some desk job at Bramall Lane with the grandiose but meaningless title 'Director of Football'.

    He takes with him his assistant Brian Kidd, for whom life after leaving Manchester United's soon-to-be treble winners in 1998 isn't really panning out the way he hoped.

    Every managerial sacking sees a whole host of collateral damage, as unsuspecting goalkeeping coaches, fitness experts and bib

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  • Defending the indefensible

    Early Doors has a crazy theory - Frank Lampard is the most underrated player in the Premier League.

    Does anyone actually think he is any good, either as a man or as a footballer? Early Doors has always written him off as rubbish, and yet it can't help but notice a big, steaming pile of evidence to the contrary.

    That privileged, public school upbringing, the slightly portly frame and the 20 deflected goals a season just don't make him that appealing.

    When people say he and Steven Gerrard can't play together for England, nobody talks about dropping Stevie G. Fat Frank is always the 'logical'

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  • Pain in the neck

    Good news for binary fans. The rivalry that deals only in zeroes and ones is back to bore the pants off us for the fourth time in as many seasons.

    The results of Liverpool and Chelsea's six Champions League encounters since 2005 read thus: 0-0, 1-0, 0-0, 0-0, 1-0, 0-1. Which is fine if you are an Intel central processing unit; less so if you enjoy the odd goal.

    If you're Jose Mourinho, the sequence is even more nought-heavy, as one of the three precious strikes was not even a goal.

    All we have from 570 minutes of football is efforts from Daniel Agger, Joe Cole, and that infamous Luis Garcia

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  • What’s so great about tap-ins?

    Early Doors awoke this morning as giddy as a six-year-old on
    Christmas day, and flung open its curtains.

    Oh, who is ED kidding, it can't afford curtains. It flung
    open the stapled-together sheets of A4 paper (acquired in a masterpiece of
    white-collar crime) that hang down off the row of ring binders where once there
    was a curtain rail.

    It hoped to see blizzard conditions and huge mounds of white
    powder worthy of a scene from Scarface.

    It wanted snowdrifts so impenetrable that the only logical
    outcome was a duvet day and a vague and entirely insincere promise to do some
    work from home.

    What did

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  • Inter deliver reality check

    If Jose Mourinho joins Real Madrid at the end of the season, his next visit to the Nou Camp will provoke so many pigs' heads to be thrown on to the pitch the place will look like an abattoir's killing floor.

    There will be enough carcasses lobbed in The Translator's direction to make a livestock version of Saving Private Ryan - or a really good stock. Whichever you prefer.

    Mourinho celebrated victory in the latest chapter of his seething feud with Barca in typically restrained fashion, sprinting across the pitch and gesturing wildly at the crowd.

    All it needed was a big flag planted in the

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