Early Doors

The Doorsie Awards!

Early Doors

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As another Premier League season comes to an end, it's time for Early Doors to rack its brains and dig out some highlights for the third annual Doorsie awards!

And without further ado, let's hand out the gongs:

Love Rat of the Season

John Terry - The former England captain's dalliance with Wayne Bridge's ex, Vanessa Perroncel, somehow dominated the front pages for one bizarre week in February. Media condemnation was extra vicious due to Terry's failed gagging 'super-injunction' and the sorry mess led to the single greatest moment of the season - Bridge's handshake snub when Chelsea played Manchester City. Genius.

Ashley Cole - If the Tiger Woods affair(s) brought the word 'sext' to the average sports fan's notice, Cole's sexcapades saw it rubber-stamped and inserted into the official sporting lexicon. When weird photos of a topless Cole appeared in the tabloids, he claimed it was a stitch-up. His wife seemed to think otherwise, and promptly left him - the only time ED can remember when a celebrity dumping has been granted yellow bar status by Sky Sports News.

Franck Ribery - The French are normally pretty laissez-faire about extra-marital goings-on, but when it becomes a matter for the police even they begin to take things seriously. Ribery admitted 'seeing' the shy and retiring Zahia Dehar when she was below the legal age for prostitution in France, while a number of other French stars have been implicated. The case continues.

And the winner is... John Terry!

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Feud of the Season

Carlos Tevez v Gary Neville - Neville's one-fingered salute to his former Manchester United team-mate provoked the following response: "He acted like a complete sock-sucker when he said I wasn't worth £25 million just to suck up to the manager. I don't know what the hell that moron is talking about me for." And ED had special t-shirts printed to commemorate the whole farrago.

Rafael Benitez v Sam Allardyce - Three years ago Allardyce described the pair's relationship as: "Average - the bad side of average." This season the bad blood continued to fester as Big Sam accused Rafa of sending refs chief Keith Hackett a DVD of Blackburn's supposed crimes. Benitez hit back sarcastically, chiding: "He's the perfect model for all the kids. Their style of football... I think Barcelona are thinking of copying the style."

Stoke v Stoke - Tony Pulis fought James Beattie after a row about the Christmas party. Glenn Whelan fought Abdoulaye Faye after the latter warmed up in flip-flops before a 7-0 drubbing at Chelsea. Pulis publicly called Dave Kitson and Tuncay Sanli "petulant" and Kitson responded by calling his manager out for scapegoating him: "Cloudy in Stoke? That's Kitson's fault. The traffic's terrible on the way to training? Blame Kitson for that too." Pulis blamed a 'mole' in the dressing room for spreading negative vibes.

And the winner is... Stoke City, for proving that smaller teams don't need a tight-knit dressing room to survive in the top flight.

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Refereeing decision of the season

Crystal Palace phantom goal - When Freddie Sears's shot hit the back of the Bristol City net, Palace celebrated, City heads dropped, and referee Rob Shoebridge waved play on. The ball had hit a stanchion inside the goal and the blundering ref somehow thought it had come back off the post. Neil Warnock called for goalline technology, but ED thinks match officials with functioning retinas should suffice.

Thierry Henry's handball - This one had them all talking, as everyone from French government ministers to His Holiness Bono Vox had something to say on Henry's 'Hand of Frog' moment. The striker insisted his double handball - so obvious you can actually spot it on Google Maps satellite view - was accidental, and the FA of Ireland made a tearful but ultimately ludicrous demand to be included as a 33rd team at the World Cup.

The Duisburg 'Wembley Tor' - Fans in Duisburg can stop whingeing about Geoff Hurst's goal in 1966 after this doozy in the German second division this season.

And the winner is... Thierry Henry's handball!

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WAG of the Season

Vanessa Perroncel - What ED loved most of all about the Chelsea über-WAG was the way she used Max Clifford as a ventriloquist's dummy:

Tzofit Grant - On learning her hubby Avram had been visiting a massage parlour on a shady industrial estate in Portsmouth, many expected her to be scandalised. Not a bit of it. "Considering the pressure that Avram is under at Portsmouth, I'm angry with him for not going every day for a massage. Avram loves a massage. He enjoys an Australian massage, a Japanese massage and a Thai massage. I'm looking forward to coming to England to visit and having a massage there with him. So as far as I am concerned he can go and have a massage whenever he wants."

Hull WI - The good ladies of Humberside played an inadvertent role in Phil Brown's downfall when they saw a scuffle between Nick Barmby and Jimmy Bullard. Brown quickly said sorry: "I'd like to apologise to the Women's Institute, I didn't realise there was a rally going on there and there was apparently 50-100 women going on a march across the Humber Bridge and the incident was unsavoury, it was unfortunate."

And the winner is... Tzofit Grant!

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Manager of the Season

Brian Laws - Effectively got two teams relegated in one season as Sheffield Wednesday and Burnley went down after getting half a campaign each of the Laws midas touch. His record since replacing Owen Coyle at Turf Moor reads 15 defeats in 19 games. Things were so bad than when Kevin McDonald left at half-time to go to the pub during a home drubbing by Manchester City, nobody blamed him.

Martin Allen - Mad Dog left Cheltenham after a brush with the law outside a nightclub when he was alleged to have become abusive after being refused entry, challenged a bouncer to a fight and racially abused him. Allen denied the claims and the police did not press charges. Four months earlier, he was barred from a pub after allegedly dancing with his shirt off before dropping his trousers and moving towards the dancefloor in front of shocked drinkers.

Diego Maradona - Walter Samuel, Javier Zanetti, Javier Mascherano, Esteban Cambiasso, Juan Roman Riquelme, Angel Di Maria, Carlos Tevez, Sergio Aguero, Gonzalo Higuain, Diego Milito, Lionel Messi. Marvel at the array of talent El Diego has at his disposal at the helm of Argentina. Shake your head in disbelief that they almost failed to qualify for the World Cup. The only man in world football who can make Leo Messi look like Liam Lawrence.

And the winner is... Brian Laws! 

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Prop of the Season

Horse placenta - For a few short weeks equine afterbirth became an achingly trendy injury treatment after Robin van Persie flew to Serbia to have the stuff smothered on his ankle by a specialist. The fad ended as soon as it has began, as the doctor went into hiding and Van Persie missed five months.

Beach ball - Last October, a Liverpool fan chucked a beach ball on to the pitch against Sunderland, and the inflatable diverted a Darren Bent shot past Pepe Reina for the only goal of the game. The culprit had his face digitised like a Crimewatch suspect before issuing a tearful apology. Liverpool fans were left wondering 'what if?' - the answer: they would have finished sixth.

Eyjafjallajökul - For some reason known universally as 'that Icelandic volcano', that Icelandic volcano's eruption spewed clouds of ash reducing footballers to the ranks of mere mortals. Barcelona, Liverpool and Fulham all had to travel to away fixtures by bus, provoking howls of protest from the clubs and sparking saturation media coverage of the Autobahns.

And the winner is... the beach ball!

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Suit of the Season

Peter Storrie - The man who got into bed with Sulaiman Al-Fahim and took Portsmouth into administration remains unrepentant about his role in the club's demise, even describing his £600,000-a-year basic salary as "very reasonable". Administrator Andrew Andronikou actually laughed when asked whether Storrie should bear any responsibility and said yes, as chief executive of a failed business, he might have had something to do with it.

Adam Pearson - Took over as Hull chairman and did what any sensible boss does - blamed all the problems on the previous bloke. Here's Pearson's rather uncharitable verdict on his predecessor Paul Duffen: "In my personal opinion the decisions made by Mr Duffen at that point were extremely short-sighted and lacking in business sense and specific football knowledge. He seems, albeit with the advantage of hindsight, to have had no understanding of the industry, Hull City AFC or the city of Hull itself."

Tom Hicks Jr - "Blow me f*** face. Go to hell. I'm sick of you." There is little doubt that the Liverpool fans who got that response from Hicks had been pressing his buttons for some time - and feigned shock in a rather undignified fashion - but if you're the son of a universally unpopular club owner, you probably don't want to get involved in slanging matches with the supporters. He quit as a board member.

And the winner is... Tom Hicks Jr!

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Miss of the Season

Rocky Baptiste

Mark van Bommel versus Louis van Gaal - big Bavarian beer, point blank range

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Kei Kamara

And the winner is... Rocky Baptiste!

Special mentions to a few more things that made the season so special: Mario Balotelli's temper, Steven Gerrard's unpunished forearm smash, Didier Drogba's massive strop yesterday, Didier Drogba's guitar 'n' drums goal celebration yesterday, Yilidiray Basturk's one appearance in five months, Wembley's unplayable surface, Ashley Cole's magnanimous reaction to winning the league: "Hopefully people will get off my back and realise why I came here", Robbie Keane's 'dream' move to Celtic, Schteeve McKlaaren's triumph in Holland, Andy Carroll's nightclubbing, QPR's manager-go-round and Alex Ferguson's "typical Germans" rant.

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