Early Doors

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Early Doors

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It's not often
Early Doors agrees with Ian Wright. But even a blind darts player is going to
hit treble-20 sooner or later, and the Gladiators presenter has got it exactly
right calling England friendly against the Netherlands "ridiculous",
"a waste of time", "a hindrance", "pointless" and
"absurd" - he's obviously
been at the thesaurus.

Early Doors is too lazy to find out exactly who decided
internationals this week were a good idea, and why, but it can only assume the
scheduling was made as a forfeit resulting from some sort of bet.

ED has to confess it hasn't
watched an England friendly for years (just so you know on Thursday, when ED
gives its verdict on Holland-England, it is basing its views on some overheard
conversation in a pub and a 20-second goals montage on YouTube).

Why bother playing a match in which 21 of the 22 players are
worried only about staying fit for Saturday's
game against Wigan or Willem II (David Beckham obviously has no reason to
protect his own safety, and would probably welcome an injury in order to escape
the weekly scuffles with his own fans)?

It is even more pointless for the Dutch who, having already secured
a place at the World Cup, have no reason to prepare properly for their remaining
qualifiers. They'll probably give us
a thrashing anyway.

Things are yet more farcical for Scotland,
who have a must-win World Cup qualifier against Norway,
little more than 60 hours before Celtic kick off the SPL season at Aberdeen.

International football is being killed because there are too
many meaningless games, and this week's
nonsense helps nobody. If anyone wants ED on Wednesday night, it will be at the

- - -

ANECDOTE OF THE DAY: On a day of no news save that relating
to pointless friendlies, it was somehow apt that the best story related to

Glen Johnson yesterday gave his version of events from the fateful
day in 2007 when he was nicked for allegedly stealing a loo seat.

The then-Portsmouth defender paid a fine after he and a
friend were collared by a B&Q security guard, but maintains his innocence.

Here, in the interests of journalistic integrity (and filling space), is that
story in full:

"I was with my best mate and we
went to B&Q because he was doing his house up and he wanted a bathroom
where you could buy the whole lot for £1,000," said Johnson.

"Because he has a kid he wanted a
slow-close toilet seat, while the set had a normal one. So he changed that one
and put the slow-close one on the trolley and we went through the till and he

"Look, first of all, what thief walks
through the till? And secondly it was not even me who was buying it.

"But when we got through the other side
the security guy said he'd seen us swap the toilet seats. We told them we did
not know there was a difference and offered to pay for the other seat but we
were told we couldn't do that because the police were already on their way.

"We started laughing because we thought
they were taking the p***. The police turned up and said we could go to court
and fight it out, which we could not be bothered to do, or pay a fine.

"So we paid the fine and it made us
look guilty and my reputation has suffered because people believed it.

"The next time I went to my
locker and opened it, there were lots of toilet rolls falling out. And at Fratton Park there was a golden toilet seat
hanging up instead of my shirt.

"What annoyed me is that we didn't do
anything wrong and offered to pay the money back. Come on, who nicks a toilet

"The bloke involved definitely knew who
I was. I wouldn't say it was racism,
but it gave him something to talk about down the pub..."

Apart from the bit where Johnson said he couldn't be bothered to go to court to prove his
innocence, ED almost has some sympathy for him.

- - -

Mike Ashley has made quite a threat to Newcastle's
potential buyers: show me the money or I'll
appoint David O'Leary.

Yes, the Toon owner wants a £25m deposit from anyone
interested in the club by the end of the week.

If no cash is forthcoming, he will turn to the man who took
Leeds United on trial and Aston Villa to the brink of relegation.

Call it harsh, but ED is not convinced the man who once
green-lighted a £35,000-a-weekpay packet for Seth Johnson has the chops to
slash the Toon's massive wage bill.

- - -

Early Doors has already had its say on the Craig Bellamy situation in its first
afternoon post
yesterday. It will be adding a mini-post around 4pm from Monday
to Friday with slightly more up-to-date analysis of the day's news.

- - -

FOREIGN VIEW: Robbers posing as police briefly
locked up Lille
striker Pierre-Alain Frau in the boot of his Mercedes car in the early hours of
Monday, before releasing him in another part of town and stealing the vehicle.

Local police said that as Frau was getting
into his car, he was approached by hooded men in a car with flashing lights who
presented themselves as police. He was on his way home from a late-night dinner
after Lille's
2-1 defeat by Lorient
on Sunday.

The attackers forced the Ligue 1 player to
get into the boot of his car, which they then drove across town. They released Frau
on the street in a residential area before making off with his vehicle, credit
card, mobile phone and hundreds of euros.

It is the second time in 10 months that Frau
has been targeted by carjackers. Another vehicle was stolen from him in October
last year.

His club said he was unhurt and had taken
part in training with his team mates on Monday morning.

COMING UP: Live scoring from a host of Carling Cup first
round games,

plus Netherlands U21 v England U21 and another ED at 4pm. Let's hope something happens between now and then.

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