Early Doors

Twelve Doors of Christmas: September

Early Doors

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Early Doors takes a nostalgic and sherry-fuelled look back at the year's big stories through the medium of recycled posts. ED returns on January 4.

September 1 and 2: The excitement and disappointment of Transfer Deadline Day

ED's take: Tick! Tock! Tick! Tock! There are just eight hours, 22 minutes and 51, 50, 49, 48 seconds until the transfer window slams in our face like a nightclub door when the bouncer spots Early Doors's trainers.

Despite being multi-million pound businesses, football clubs approach transfer dealings in roughly the same manner as a student revising for finals.

They have two months to get their business done, but end up putting it off until one final, frantic, Red Bull-fuelled cramming session.

...

It promised to be a blockbuster, but Deadline Day ended up as a French arthouse film where you spend hours waiting for something to happen and then suddenly they are rolling the credits.

As time ticked down and it became increasingly clear Wolves were not going to sign Leo Messi in the nine remaining minutes of transfer window, we had to content ourselves with a lukewarm batch of deals sending nondescript defenders from one nondescript club to another.

September 7: Argentina flounder in World Cup qualifying

ED's take: Diego Maradona now wears a resigned expression and looks increasingly like Colonel Gaddafi with Leslie Ash's trout pout.

His failure lends further credence to the argument that it is rarely a good idea to employ a manager simply because of his quality as a player - especially if he is a recovering drug addict with virtually no dugout experience.

Maradona was never even that much of a team player - he rightly decided that when you are capable of dribbling through the opposition by yourself, there is little point using your colleagues.

No doubt Maradona is an inspirational figure, but if it is a cheerleader Argentina want, they should either give him a skimpy outfit and pompoms or tell him to get stuffed.

Wondering why great players do not become great managers is like wondering why so few trapeze artists become archbishops. Why on earth would they?

September 10: England qualify for the World Cup

ED's take: 'Never before have they qualified for a World Cup with two games to spare' was the much-trumpeted stat being shoved down our throats, although the fact they failed to qualify for the 1974 finals from a group comprising three teams shows how difficult that has been to achieve in the past.

The world was a very different place the last time England reached a major finals. Twitter feeds, credit crunch, swine flu... these were all just random pairs of words when the Wags were running wild in Baden Baden.

Fabio Capello's greatest signal of intent was to continue with Emile Ivanhoe Heskey up front ahead of Jermain Colin Defoe. This selection is perhaps the only anomaly in Capello's otherwise consistent selection policy.

Defoe is very much the man in form, starting every match for his club, whereas Heskey is in and out of the Villa more often than Frankie Howerd in Up Pompeii.

September 14: Emmanuel Adebayor scores for Man City against Arsenal

ED's take: Bombarded with taunts from the away fans every time he touched the ball, Adebayor embarked on the sort of vengeful rampage that would have made John Rambo proud.

He raked his boot down the face of Robin van Persie, scored the clinching goal in a 4-2 win at Eastlands, and then ran the length of the pitch to celebrate in front of the travelling supporters.

Cue absolute bedlam as missiles rained down on the pitch including a bun, a coke bottle, a plastic stool and several coins.

If Arsenal fans had been as willing to throw money at Adebayor last season, he might have put in a bit more effort. The question of effort - or Adebayor's lack of it while at Arsenal - is the key to much of this aggro.

Having to watch Adebayor sprint 100 yards after scoring was incitement enough for most Gooners, as it was further than the ran in 180 minutes during last season's Champions League semi-final against Manchester United.

September 24: Sports science at its weirdest

ED's take: England players peeved at only being allowed to consort with WAGs once a week during the World Cup might like to show Fabio Capello a dossier produced by India's cricket coach Gary Kirsten.

Former South Africa batsman Kirsten is encouraging his players to "go ahead and indulge" in as much sex as possible at the Champions Trophy, as it raises testosterone levels.

Kirsten's dossier has the backing of sports science professor Tim Noakes and appears to suggest England's sex-starved footballers have little chance of romping to glory next summer, right? Wrong! This extract from Kirsten's dossier offers advice to discerning sportsmen who "want sex but do not have someone to share it with":

"One option is to go solo whilst imagining you have a partner or a few partners who are as beautiful as you wish to imagine. No pillow talk and no hugging required ... Just roll over and go to sleep."

With that kind of gruesome detail, it is surprising the dossier does not come accompanied by some 'specialist' reading material.

Kirsten's theory offers the perfect get-out clause to any player caught with his trousers down. He can now explain to his missus and the gaffer that, far from being unfaithful or unprofessional, he was merely preparing thoroughly for Saturday's trip to Bolton. 

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