Early Doors

Team Neville v Team Tevez!

Early Doors

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A cloud of Volcanic ash will settle over Europe in April, grounding all air traffic for days on end, the title race will be done and dusted by teatime on Saturday April 17.

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17:50 FULL-TIME!!

The great Team Neville v Team Tevez debate is over, and here are the final scores after 536 comments and more than a few spoiled ballot papers:

Team Neville 198-169 Team Tevez 

After starting quickly, Team Tevez faded in what United fans hope will be an omen for tonight.

Will the Manchester derby go the same way? Log on from 20:00 UK time for minute-by-minute comments.

Thanks to everyone who cast their vote. 

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Staggering reversal of fortunes! Team Neville has stepped up in dramatic fashion to storm into the lead.

ED admits this poll has been subjected to all the rigorous vetting of an Iranian election, but as of comment 417 (at 15:02 UK time) the score is as follows:

Team Neville 145-126 Team Tevez

Can Team Tevez mount a comeback? Only you can decide - to vote leave either TEAM NEV or TEAM TEV in the comments box at the bottom of the page!

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Early Doors has trawled through the first 200 comments on the message board. Making every effort to only count each user once, it currently scores the contest as follows:

Team Neville 48-59 Team Tevez

After a strong start, Red (or Pink) Nev has tailed off, but it's not over yet! To cast your vote, simply write TEAM NEV or TEAM TEV in the comments box at the bottom of the page!

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Even in these cynical times, there is more to break-ups than acrimony, financial disputes, abandoned children and, of course, an unholy row over who gets to keep the Wii.

No, a big celebrity split represents one thing above all others - a marketing opportunity.

Clothing firms capitalise on big-name divorces by selling t-shirts that allow members of the public to display their loyalties.

Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston's split prompted this range of 'Team Aniston' and 'Team Jolie' merchandise, while something similar (although, inevitably, tackier) happened when Jordan and Peter Andre fell out.

So, to commemorate tonight's Carling Cup semi-final between Manchester United and Manchester City, Early Doors presents its 'Team Tevez' and 'Team Neville' t-shirts.

If it had any nous or entrepreneurial spirit, it would have printed a few hundred of these and put them on sale for £29.99 a throw. Instead, you'll have to make do with a rubbish Photoshop version.

There might be a football match tonight, but this is all about the personal feud between Carlos Tevez and Gary Neville, whose friendship hit the rocks in a big way after the Argentine left Old Trafford in the summer, and the pair are now sworn enemies.

It should make for compelling viewing, even if it is unlikely that Neville actually starts. As long as he is on the bench it won't matter.

Neville made his career out of jogging up and down the touchline shouting at the ref and winding up opponents. Now he gets to do exactly the same, just one yard further to the right, in his role as United's warmer-up in chief. So active is Neville patrolling the area just behind the linesman that United effectively have 12 men.

Please indulge ED as it slips into its best gossip mag-ese to outline the case for each team.


LOYAL! We live in promiscuous times, and celebrity splits are all too common. So it is nice to find a one-club man, even if that club ought really to be Bury. Neville truly knows the meaning of 'for richer, for poorer'. Apart from the poorer bit, obviously.

MOUSTACHIOED! Look, if Brad Pitt can get away with this surely Neville is entitled to show off this. Admittedly, it's not the fullest moustache, and it makes him look like he has been face down in a tin of boot polish, but at least it's a bit different.

CAMPAIGNER! Any celebrity worth their salt has some sort of foundation or charity to help the disadvantaged and boost their public profile (not necessarily in that order). Red Nev works tirelessly as a PFA representative to further the cause of that most overlooked disadvantaged group: professional footballers.

BEST OF BRITISH! In an industry packed full of Javier Bardems and Marion Cotillards, it is nice to have the occasional Colin Firth. Even if he is only there to provide bumbling comic relief in a Richard Curtis rom-com. That's right, ED just compared Gary Neville to Colin Firth.

MATURE! If the Firth comparison was ridiculous, how about George Clooney? Unlike all those whippersnappers, Neville is vastly experienced. He has been there, done it, and angrily refused to pay £20 for the t-shirt. Give it five years and he'll be driving a speedboat around Lake Como.


JILTED! Fergie didn't want him, and Neville stuck a five-inch stiletto heel into Tevez's £25 million valuation. But, like a good pair of Manolo Blahniks, Tevez is out to prove that a supposedly extortionate purchase can prove surprisingly good value.

PASSIONATE! In the absence of any embarrassing sex tape (that ED is aware of), we will have to make do with his habit of going on the radio to call fellow professionals morons. Plus he goes satisfyingly ape whenever he scores.

BLUE IS THE NEW RED! He's not afraid to experiment with his wardrobe, ditching scarlet for baby blue last summer in a daring outfit change. As City mount a charge for the top four and two cups, they hope to prove that red is soooooo last season.

RUGGED! Let's not kid ourselves - Tevez is hardly conventionally attractive. But that does not matter to modern women - how else to explain the presence on Heat's Top 100 sexiest men list of Gordon Ramsay -  a man with a face so craggy it makes Tevez look like Zac Efron.

LATINO LOVER! "Last night I dreamt of San Pedro Old Trafford / It all seems like yesterday, not far away / Tropical the island breeze P***ing down in Manchester / All of nature wild and free / This is where I long to be / La Isla Bonita Eastlands."

Who are you backing? Post the words 'TEAM TEV' or 'TEAM NEV' on the message board below, and later today ED will tot up the votes and declare a winner!

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QUOTE OF THE DAY: Rafa Benitez does a pretty useless job of quashing rumours he will quit Liverpool for Juventus: "I prefer to talk about the game. Is the speculation a distraction? I was really focused on trying to do the right things and to try and win this game. Is being linked with Juventus flattering? I prefer to concentrate on the game."

FOREIGN VIEW: Cristiano Ronaldo has blasted players who dive in order to con referees, claiming it makes him "really angry".

On receiving a two-match ban after he broke a Malaga player's nose with a flailing arm, he said: "It was a shameful decision to send me off for that because all I was doing was trying was to hold the player off and it's because I was educated not to dive and cheat in England.

"I was just a kid when I arrived at United and in the Premier League I was taught that trying to con the referee and play-acting are not acceptable.

"Now I get really angry when I see other players cheating."

COMING UP: Four Premier League games tonight from 19:45 UK time. But - and you won't hear ED say this often - the big event is in the Carling Cup. Manchester United v Manchester City kicks off at 20:00. It should be worth following.

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