Early Doors

The new Pele

Early Doors

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Darren Fletcher has scored 100 percent of Manchester United's goals this season.

In the pantheon of sentences you never thought you would read, that has to come pretty close to the top.

Admittedly, it is 100 percent of two, and last night's 'strike' against Portsmouth pinballed in via Sol Campbell and Sylvain Distin.

However, the Scot is filling Cristiano Ronaldo's sparkly, self-regarding boots with aplomb, which is probably better than filling his jockstrap with Deep Heat, the discerning football prankster's ruse of choice.

Even after two games, it has become clear why the top teams are the top teams - they win whether they are playing well or not.

Playing badly and winning appears to be the hallmark of a champion team, although Early Doors has always thought it better to play well and win.

It also helps to have a bench full of curly-haired Latin Americans. ED has no clue who Fabio Da Silva, Rafael Da Silva and Rodrigo Possebon are, and still less idea how to tell them apart, given their collective likeness to a younger version of Strokes guitarist Albert Hammond Jr.

Possebon came on for United last night (see the Strokes reference, eh? Eh?) and appeared to be an unremarkable water-carrier par excellence, ambling round and playing five-yard lateral passes. A Brazilian Gavin McCann, if you will.

Chelsea have the equally permed Franco Di Santo keeping Wayne Bridge company in those posh rally car seats, and Liverpool have the less curly but equally obscure South American likes of Sebastian Leto and Emilio Insua knocking about the place.

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Sky Sports News paid scant regard to the Olympics, vainly pretending Danny Shittu's transfer to Bolton carried more importance.

But they gave the full treatment to the one Olympic event they did have the rights to - the Team GB plane arriving at Heathrow.

They spent fully 20 minutes on live coverage of a Boeing 747 taxi-ing around an airport, while the presenters gamely attempted to commentate over the top.

People eventually began to disembark to excited cries of "It that Chris Hoy? Is it him?" No, it's an unsuspecting tourist stepping groggily onto terra firma after 10 hours cooped up inside a flying death tube.

Eventually the producer cracked and went to an advert break. Almost immediately the British medallists emerged and shot Sky's cunning plan to pieces.

ED almost felt sorry for them, but reserved its pity for Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who intended to give the heroes a glorious return, but somehow ended up wedged next to a metal door looking like one of those stewards who stands by with a wheelchair to help old folk disembark.

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FANTASY FOOTBALL UPDATE: Early Doors doesn't want to blow its own trumpet or anything, but it has made an extraordinary start to its Fantasy Football career.

It scooped a whopping 111.5 points in week two. Of the three leagues ED has set up - each with 50 teams - it is top in two and second in the third.

Which means that out of 148 teams in the leagues, only one has outperformed the mighty Early Doors XI.

Even with Kevin Prince Boateng in ED's midfield.

How has ED done it? By picking a host of thoroughly obnoxious players. Testing the theory that nice guys always finish last, it picked a team full of the loathsome, unhinged and self-regarding.

And look how it has paid off...

The Tom Daley-esque Deco (21 pts) and Steven Gerrard (25.5) starred this week, ably assisted by granny-killer Stephen Ireland (17.5).

John Pantsil/Paintsil - in because he doesn't know how to spell his name - chipped in with another 10.5 points, while Shay Given (nice man but very, very cheap) clocked up 20.5.

But ED is a hard taskmaster, and it will be giving its three-pronged attack of El Hadji Diouf, Wayne Rooney and Nicolas Anelka a richly-deserved rocket.

Ashley Cole and Pascal Chimbonda also need to stop expressing disbelief at £55,000-a-week contract offers and handing in transfer requests, and pull their socks up.

So the pressure is on, and ED might even make some transfers this week, particularly with Manchester United off playing some glorified friendly on the French Riviera.

Early Doors Super League (combined)
1-Kambiang 216pts
2-Early Doors 193.5
3-Bigeye's No hopers 188.5
4-Wake Me Up Before Agogo 177
5-Athletico Meath 176

If the owners of the above teams, particularly the dratted Kambiang, would like to make their identities known and possibly secure a mention in tomorrow's ED, they should email early.doors@yahoo.co.uk

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QUOTE OF THE DAY: It's from rugby, but it proves that egg-chasers are also capable of mind-boggling stupidity and unwillingness to take responsibility.

England's elite performance director Rob Andrew has a pop at Sir Clive: "Without naming names, I do want to make the point that the 2003 World Cup coaching team effectively left no legacy to the English game. As a result, the elite end of the sport in this country was in a terrible state."

No legacy at all. Apart from winning the blinking World Cup. Idiot.

HEADLINE OF THE DAY: "Mowbray Relishes Fruits Of The Loon" West Brom's Gianni Zuiverloon had a good debut, hence this piece of genius nonsense.

FOREIGN VIEW: Two days after their groundbreaking "Milan: Senderos!", Corriere dello Sport go with the headline "Milan-Senderos: si!" Again, no translation required.

TALKING POINT: ED's tongue-in-cheek assertion that United's game at Pompey was a must-win brought this harrumphing response from simonalexuk: "Early doors, there is an old saying which basically says until you open your mouth we can think you're an idiot but when you do open it then it is confirmed. Your theory that Arsenal are already out of the title race and if United do not win tonight they will also be out of the title race proves you are an idiot. Remember United's start last season and who won the title?" ED couldn't agree more with that old saying.

He's still going: "Being possibly generous in calling you a journalist it is this type of irresponsibility that means people do not believe the majority of what is printed. Has Arsene thrown the towel in yet and said that Arsenal cannot win the title? I don't think so and if United fail to win tonight will Sir Alex again the answer is no. If you want to make a statement at least try and say something intelligent or do us all a favour and keep quiet."

In words of one syllable: It. Was. A. Joke.

Today: In light of the continued Scottish opposition, what do you reckon of a GB Olympic football team? And who should manage it?

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