Early Doors

Gerrard stay no surprise

Early Doors

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Is there any business other than football in which no news is news?

A quick glance at a couple of yesterday's biggest Premier League stories doesn't reveal anything earth-shattering. Or anything at all for that matter.

'United not buying anyone' was one. 'Agent: City want Drogba' - 'City: No we don't' was another. Please, Arsenal, listen to Xavi and just get on with selling Cesc Fabregas to Barcelona so something actually happens.

So when Steven Gerrard commits his future to Liverpool, you take what you can get. Gerrard's announcement may have been through stating he was looking forward to the new season rather than an emphatic statement, but it was enough to turned in to a good old quashing of transfer speculation.

Gerrard said: "I made it clear that I simply needed to concentrate on the World Cup and then have a decent holiday with my family. 

"I wanted the chance to meet Roy Hodgson privately and having done so I'm very impressed with his plans for the future of the team. 

"I've only returned to training today at Melwood with some of the other World Cup players, but I can't wait for the new season to start."

There had admittedly been some talk of a move to Real Madrid or Inter, but did anyone seriously believe there was a chance of him leaving Anfield? He didn't exactly return from South Africa as one of the World Cup's star performers and, at 30 years of age, is no longer a hot property in world football.

It's hard to imagine Real brushing aside Kaka in order to accomodate him, or inter booting out Wesley Sneijder from their side in favour of the Liverpool skipper.

Still, Gerrard sticking around does represent something of a victory for new Anfield boss Roy Hodgson, no matter how much his chat with the skipper ultimately had to do with it.

The day after signing Joe Cole, Hodgson saw stage two of Operation Keep Fernando Torres completed, although that job will have been made a whole lot easier after the Spain striker broke down with another injury during his World Cup final cameo.

Gerrard cited his England team-mate's arrival as a reason to be cheerful, and Liverpool are still giddy with excitement over Cole.

The club's website has even posted pictures of the midfielder's medical on their website, complete with a Real Madrid-style thumbs up while lying on the examination table. All labelled as another 'exclusive', naturally.

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Long after they finished being parped in grounds across South Africa, vuvuzelas are still making the news.

After Spurs became the first Premier League club to ban the plastic horns from their ground, Arsenal quickly followed suit. At the times of writing, Birmingham City, Everton, Fulham, Liverpool, West Ham United and Sunderland have also all come out in opposition to them.

Most of the rest of the top flight clubs remain undecided, but three clubs - Chelsea, Manchester city and Blackpool - say they have no plans for a ban.

Armchair Pundit reckons that it will be either Wigan or Bolton who embrace them, but Early Doors reckons the newly-promoted Tangerines should cash be the ones to grab them.

The success of Stoke since coming up has shown the value of an intimidating home ground, while Burnley's record at Turf Moor was almost enough to see them stay up last term.

With the tatty old Bloomfield Road holding less than 10,000 supporters, any extra noise could make all the difference when it comes to putting off the opposition, and selling cheaply made orange plastic tubes for a tenner a pop might just help boost the club's coffers.

ED is not endorsing the adoption of vuvuzelas now that the World Cup is over, but if they have to be somewhere, Blackpool is the place.

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QUOTE OF THE DAY: "I had to stump up some of my own cash to come and play for Cheltenham and that's how much I want to be here and be back in the Football league." - New Cheltenham defender Martin Riley paid his own transfer fee to previous club Kidderminster Harriers. To be fair, who wouldn't pay to get out of Kidderminster. But then, who would pay to move to Cheltenham?

FOREIGN VIEW: France internationals Franck Ribery and Karim Benzema have been placed under judicial investigation on suspicion of soliciting sex with an under-age prostitute.

TOE-CURLER OF THE DAY: Thierry Henry may be having second thoughts about his new adventure Stateside. Check out this squirm-inducing interview with him on an American breakfast show, in which one presenter says he has just won the World Cup and the other complains that there are not enough 'blowouts' in soccer. You almost feel sorry for him. Almost.

COMING UP: Jim White will be filing his latest blog, and later on two Premier League sides are in pre-season friendly action. Follow live text commentary of Sturm Graz v Arsenal (17:00) and Grasshoppers v Liverpool (18:30) and try your best to pretend it matters.

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