Jim White

  • New Year, new QPR?

    There are many questions to be asked about football as the New Year gets underway. Such as: if Mario Balotelli is being paid £150,000 a week for the princely return of one goal and no assists this season, where can the rest of us find an employer as generous as his?

    And why did Chelsea feel the need to play in white the other day away at Norwich? Are their players no longer able to distinguish between yellow and blue? Also how long will it be before referees stop allowing their reputations to be continuously assaulted and actually apply some technology to help them in their task?

    But the

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  • Year in Review: Pirlo’s Panenka

    We are asking all of our experts to give us their picks of 2012. Here Jim White reviews the year in football, with a little help from Alex Chick and Tom Adams.

    Best Match

    JW: Manchester City 2-3 Manchester United. A derby that had everything, fizzing with energy, anger and emotion from first to last.

    AC: Reading 5-7 Arsenal. Just days after the poisonous Chelsea-Man Utd game, this was the ultimate palate-cleanser. Just a fantastic, fun game of football.

    TA: Spain 4-0 Italy. This wasn't even close to being a contest. Instead it was the crowning glory of the greatest side international football

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  • Benitez must prioritise Lampard signature

    Rafael Benitez and Frank LampardAfter watching his team beat Leeds on Wednesday in the Capital One Cup, Chelsea’s interim manager Rafael Benitez must have come to this conclusion: if there is one thing he must prioritise over the next month at his new desk, it is making sure Frank Lampard signs on to stay at the club.

    We know Benitez is not the most popular man in football right now. Dislike for him was the one thing that the Leeds and Chelsea fans could agree on. Never mind the bile and bickering pouring from the stands, when a chant of “you’re just a fat Spanish waiter” echoed round Elland Road it was hard to work out

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  • ‘Local’ policy is not Arsenal’s solution

    Arsene Wenger is struggling to hold on to Theo WalcottFor a moment you had to wonder if you had heard him properly. Had Arsene Wenger really just said that?

    After victory at Reading on Monday night, the Arsenal manager was asked – for perhaps the 318th time this season – about the progress of Theo Walcott’s contract negotiations. His answer went a bit further than anyone expected.

    Unprompted, he revealed that his club’s new strategy when it came to long-term team building was to base the construction around a core of British players. Brought up in the culture of the club, the implication was, they would be more likely to understand its purpose

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  • Newcastle face bleak Christmas

    The weekend after he signed his new, secure eight-year contract at St James's Park, Alan Pardew was at Reading, watching his side take a decent point in an early season scramble.

    Always an engaging and open interviewee, after the game he was in a corridor at the Madjeski explaining to a handful of reporters what his spanking new deal meant. Smiling, he suggested that, knowing the workings of Sod's Law, it was guaranteed that Newcastle would now go into freefall and he'd be sacked by Christmas. How we all laughed.

    With five defeats in the last six matches, Newcastle now face a party season

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  • Arsenal in crisis as Wenger’s failings exposed

    Now that is what you call a crisis. Beaten by a League Two side when you field your strongest available team: no other term will do. Worse, Arsenal's defeat to Bradford was not an isolated error, a blip in otherwise unsullied progress. It was part of a horribly emerging pattern.

    It used to be called Valley Parade but now labours under the name the Coral Windows Stadium (what a romantic image that conjures). But for Arsenal this week it was the last refuge. The competition that Arsene Wenger used to disparage had suddenly become a route to purposefulness.

    In the Capital One Cup (again, what

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  • Beating City is Fergie’s greatest ever challenge

    When playing press conference bingo at any Manchester United preview, there will only ever be one winner. Whoever it is that draws the word "challenge" will be laughing. You can guarantee Sir Alex Ferguson will use it, usually in his opening sentence.

    "Challenge" is not only Fergie's favourite word, it is his favourite concept. Facing up to the test - that is what has always got him out of bed in the morning. Whether it be out-flanking the Old Firm, knocking Liverpool off their perch, bettering the continental sophisticate Wenger, or out-pacing the clever young upstart Mourinho, the urge to

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  • City need time, but three points is unacceptable

    Aguero Tevez Zabaleta

    £365million: it is a heck of an investment in personnel, only to end up accruing the lowest points total by an English team in the history of the Champions League.

    Yes, not even Blackburn's hapless 1995campaign - which degenerated into their players scrapping on the pitch amongst themselves - was as fruitless as Manchester City's efforts this season. Three points: at over £100million apiece that hardly constitutes value.

    City's abject European failure has many causes, but Roberto Mancini is absolutely right to point out that it takes time to accrue sufficient knowledge of the competition to

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  • Eric helped players earn king’s ransoms

    Last weekend, Manchester United fans celebrated the 20th anniversary of Eric Cantona signing for the club with a march to Old Trafford ahead of the QPR game featuring hundreds of fans wearing masks of their hero.

    Amid the welter of excited memories of the Frenchman's time at Old Trafford, however, one fact really sang out. When Cantona signed for United from Leeds in November 1992, his contract was initially worth £3,000 a week. Nothing else quite speaks of the change that has taken place over 20 years of the Premier League's existence than the earnings of the competition's first superstar.

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  • Harry has to tackle rock-bottom morale

    Well, what else did you expect?

    On his first outing as manager of Queens Park Rangers away at Sunderland, Harry Redknapp earned the club a point. At this stage of a desperate season, when the most important line-up is the one for the lifeboats, three points would have been much more helpful. And last night's game has to go down as one of the least enlightening 90 minutes of football played in the top division. But one point was a lot better than recent form suggested would be obtained.

    What Redknapp has to do in his new job is pretty straightforward: revive a corpse. If he manages it, his

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