Early Doors

Boring, boring Rangers

Early Doors

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At the risk of becoming less popular around Ibrox than Artur Boruc's 'God bless the Pope' t-shirt, Early Doors must confess it doesn't really want Rangers to win the UEFA Cup final.

Put simply, Leo Messi hit the nail on the head when he described their style as "anti-football". Put even more simply, they are tremendously boring.

It's not that they have done anything wrong - they are a limited squad who have made the most of their abilities - it's just that they shouldn't really expect too many neutrals to don plastic Union Jack hats and cheer them on.

The way they so brazenly played for two nil-nil draws in the semi-final against Fiorentina was reminiscent of the Steaua Bucharest and Red Star Belgrade sides that won the European Cup in 1986 and 1991.

Those teams set out for, and got, goalless draws before winning on penalties. Yet, being swarthy Eastern European types, they were roundly slagged off instead of praised for their gutsiness.

Click here for more details on just how dull Walter Smith's side have been.

Mind you, Zenit St Petersburg are hardly the most sympathetic club in the world, having only ever fielded white players because, as coach Dick Advocaat states matter-of-factly: "The fans don't like black players."

Good point, Dick. God forbid that sport might act as an agent of social change. And maybe the best way to eradicate racism from Spanish football is to get rid of all black players as well.

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After seeing him net an extra-time screamer against Crystal Palace last night, Early Doors is drooling at the possibility of seeing Bristol City's Lee Trundle in the Premier League.

Despite possessing enough skills to make him a favourite with Soccer AM viewers (although he allegedly sent in most of the showboating clips himself), the 31-year-old has spent his career kicking around the lower leagues.

Clearly, he is far too good to have a list of former clubs reading: Stalybridge Celtic, Southport, Bamber Bridge, Rhyl, Wrexham and Swansea City.

Better still, Trundle is a bit of a loose cannon. He was engaged to (former?) Atomic Kitten Liz McClarnon and once signed a contract that included image rights and his own clothing range. Oddly, the LT10 brand never took off.

He might be most famous for holding aloft a flag bearing the words "F*** off Cardiff" - in the Millennium Stadium of all places - after Swansea beat Carlisle in the Football League Trophy final in 2006.

This is the kind of maverick genius that needs to be playing top flight football.

ED looks forward to seeing his "Shove it up your arse, London" banner if City are victorious at Wembley in the playoff final.

Meanwhile, Robins boss Gary Johnson showed touching naivety when asked if his players would enjoy their victory with a quiet drink.

"I don't think they dare, I wouldn't even say they could or they couldn't," said the former Latvia boss.

"You can enjoy yourself in the right way, can't you? If you go out and get blotto then you are not going to be ready in 10 days time in my opinion."

Disappointingly for Johnson, Bristol is not Riga, which means the right way to enjoy yourself usually involves 12 pints of cider, a dodgy kebab and a scuffle with some roughnecks at the docks.

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QUOTES OF THE DAY: Robbie Fowler points the finger at David James for Liverpool's cream suits at the 1996 FA Cup final: "It was David James's fault. It was his idea but have you seen the size of him? He's bigger than everyone else so nobody questioned him. At the time he was an Armani model and said he knew somebody who could get us some really smart suits."

James's response: "I wasn't a Spice Boy, I was too old. The Spice Boys were a collective group who were all under 24, so I was omitted from that heading."

TODAY'S SIGN THAT FOOTBALLERS HAVE MORE MONEY THAN SENSE: Olivier Kapo gave Birmingham apprentice James McPike his £30,000 Mercedes as a thank you for cleaning his boots, then threw in a year's insurance when the cheeky sprog said he couldn't afford it.

PROOF THAT NOT ALL FOREIGN FOOTBALLERS WANT TO PLAY IN LONDON: Alex Hleb says he wants to leave Arsenal because London is too noisy. "I'm not a big city man, I need my retreat, that's why I am often in Germany," he said.

FOREIGN VIEW: George W. Bush has revealed he quit playing golf out of respect for the families of Americans killed in the war in Iraq. "I don't want some mom whose son may have recently died to see the Commander-in-Chief playing golf," he said. Now watch this drive...

TALKING POINT: Amid all the excitement over the inaugural Doorsie awards yesterday, geelte posed a troubling question: "I heard recently that, on average, Alex Ferguson receives two turds in the post each week. What I want to know is, who's sending the other one?"

Today - Do you want Rangers to win tonight? If so, how do you sleep at night?

COMING UP: Fergie might not be the only one receiving excrement in the post after all today's Rangers-bashing. Follow their fortunes tonight with our completely neutral minute-by-minute UEFA Cup final coverage from 7.45pm. Or, if you like football, you might prefer the second leg of Hull City v Watford.

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