Early Doors

Clubs cancelling Christmas

Early Doors

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The Christmas party season has been disappointingly quiet
for ED's tastes.

There is no better vehicle for self-righteous fury than millionaire
footballers staggering around drunk and obnoxious 'in this economic climate'.

How dare these men in their early 20s enjoy one evening out
together, and spend roughly one per cent of their weekly disposable income on
champagne at a time of year when the average office worker is photocopying his
privates and sending lewd texts to Debbie from HR.

In these PR-sensitive times, many clubs are taking the
sensible way out, cancelling the Christmas shindig and visiting a children's
hospital instead - Birmingham knocked their festivities on the head this week.

Much as ED disapproves of anything that curtails
hellraising, it makes sense.

Christmas is a stupid time for footballers go out on the
lash, as it is precisely when they are required to play four games in nine
days, including two within the space of 48 hours on Boxing Day and the 28th.

Surely better to let your hair down at the start of the
season or, as Joe Hart, Adam Johnson or Gareth Barry will tell you, during
international breaks?

Still, you can always rely on Ledley King to liven things

The perma-crocked centre-back is something of a night owl.
An owl, that is, who spends much of his time staggering out of tacky discotheques
in a state of some disrepair.

More on King's penchant for a quiet drink here. Charges
against him were dropped following his arrest last year.

King is pictured in today's papers making his way out of
West End nightspot Movida after Spurs' Christmas party.

The 30-year-old and fellow defender Michael Dawson were
supposedly in a state of some disrepair, although judging by the photos they
may well have just been blinking.

Movida seems like a strange venue for a club that has supposedly
imposed an alcohol ban yet, depressingly, many of their stars left the joint
stone cold sober - coincidence that the abstemious players included Gareth
Bale, Rafael van der Vaart and Luka Modric, Spurs's three best players this
season? Perhaps not.

It has been a tough week for King, who on Wednesday was
banned from driving for 56 days for speeding at 105mph. King's defence was that
he was only doing 95.

The defender was fined a further £100 for having windows
tinted too dark. That's what ED calls a deterrent.

- - -

It seems the only way for ESPN to liven up its Europa League broadcasts these
days is to fabricate news stories based on mistaken identity.

Last night, footage of City chief executive Garry Cook
hugging a man they took to be arch-nemesis - Carlos Tevez's advisor Kia
Joorabchian - sparked a lengthy chat between Ray Stubbs and Joe Royle on the
significance of this détente.

The only problem is that 'Joorabchian' (who
looks like this)
was actually Juventus president Andrea Agnelli (who looks like this),
a fact to which ESPN shame-facedly owned up to at the end of the broadcast.

- - -

QUOTE OF THE DAY: Yesterday afternoon, Sky Sports News's top story was on Arsene
Wenger apparently saying it didn't matter who Arsenal drew in the Champions
League. A weak enough story even if it were true, which it wasn't.

This is the quote they used to support the
story: "We will take the draw as it is and I don't want to put my team in
a position where they feel 'we would have preferred somebody else'. We take
what we get and the difficulty could be more or less but it's part of the draw.
We'll have to consider what we get and see tomorrow. There's advantages and
disadvantages on both sides. The Germans have a good break in winter, they are
always fresh in the spring. The Spanish teams are maybe more favourites than
the German teams."

Wenger is clearly not saying it doesn't matter (or that he didn't
care, as another report had it). He was saying it does matter ("The
difficulty could be more or less"), but there's no point speculating about
who you would like to get because it's a draw. Absolutely dismal.

No less reprehensible is today's Daily Mail, which boasts the
truly moronic headline: "Arsene
Wenger hints Arsenal could draw Barcelona in last 16".

Seriously, do you people
need ED to explain how a draw works?

COMING UP: Unless you
already know what has happened, follow the Champions League draw LIVE from
11:00am UK time.

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