Jim White

  • 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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  • A mad move, or a no-lose situation?

    It has been 72 hours since Rafa Benitez was appointed Chelsea manager and still there is no win. The P45 is only a matter of time. He must already be feeling the pressure.

    Except Benitez doesn't feel pressure like the rest of us. Cushioned by an ego the size of Catalonia, the possibility of failure does not enter his thinking. Or at least not his own failure. If anything goes wrong at a football club where he is involved it is never his fault. It is always the players who are to blame. Or the chairman. Or those in charge of the transfer policy. Or Alex Ferguson.

    Last night the League Managers'

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  • Ruthless Roman will never be satisfied

    The only real surprise is what took him so long. Why wait until November when he should have acted immediately after that night in Munich in May?

    Even as the glitter of victory fell from the sky, had Roman Abramovich told Roberto Di Matteo that he didn't think he was good enough to manage Chelsea then at least it would have given ample demonstration of what we now know: there is nothing anyone can do to please the owner.

    And there were we thinking that for a manager to survive in the Stamford Bridge dug out what he needed to do was win the Champions League. That was the thing the owner craved.

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  • Twitter trouble looms for football stars

    Let's hope a number of our leading footballers have been following developments in the Lord McAlpine case. It might serve as a warning to them about the use of their favourite medium. It might issue a note of caution about Twitter.

    This has not been a good week for micro-blogging. For the first major time since it became obligatory to have a Twitter account, to describe everything with a hashtag, to insert '*' on either side of a conversational tic to denote irony, the law has turned its beady eye on the service. And it has noted that since the usual laws of libel are applicable it could be a

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  • If Zaha is the real deal, one more year won’t hurt

    Wilfried Zaha of Crystal Palace

    According to the excited headlines reporting the build-up to England's friendly with Sweden this evening, as a prospect, Wilfried Zaha is somewhere between Maradona and Pele.

    Team-mates have waxed lyrical about his skill, England old-timers have drooled about his abilities in training, everyone seems to think he is so good the only way to describe him is as the new George Best. Let's just hope for his sake that is how it turns out. And he's not just the new Vince Hilaire.

    Zaha's progress has rapidly turned into a bellwether for the future of English football. He represents a kind of future we

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  • Celtic heroics allowed us to dream

    Well, there's a surprise. After Celtic's win over Barcelona, Twitter has been filled with disgruntled Noucampistas pointing up the possession statistics. Apparently it undermines the legitimacy of victory if you only enjoy 18 per cent of the possession during a game. Apparently wins like Celtic's somehow challenge the very spirit of the game.

    You wonder when such moaners will learn, as Arsenal surely prove on a weekly basis, that possession alone does not bring the points. There's a lot more to winning than passing your opponents to distraction. And on Wednesday night Barca — in large part due

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  • Uninspiring City missing Silva service

    Roberto Mancini had a point when he turned on the questioner in his recent press conference who suggested that Manchester City were in crisis. Unbeaten in the Premier League, sitting second in the table, with a potent, unblemished home record stretching back longer than most memories can contain: it was an odd definition of crisis, for sure.

    And yet, watching City labour on Saturday at West Ham and then commit howlingly awful defensive blunders last night, there does appear to be something adrift at the Etihad. Something not clicking. Something not right.

    In many ways, the conditions were

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  • Don’t blame Rodgers for Liverpool plight

    It is one of the first rules of football management that on first taking up a post a new boss must make clear that anything that goes wrong under his watch is the fault of the previous regime. It is a tactic that has allowed Mark Hughes to maintain an elevated reputation in the game despite delivering very little.

    No doubt when he stages his first press conference as Ipswich manager, Mick McCarthy will make it known very early that it is not his team he is picking. Not me guv will be the default excuse. Everything that goes wrong is down to the lot before.

    But in Brendan Rodgers's case, you

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  • Technology would have prevented Clattenburg row

    A couple of years ago I was invited by the Premier League referees to officiate at one of their internal games. It was a public relations exercise, designed to show members of the press how hard the ref's job was.

    What I remember most about the day, however, was not so much the abuse, which reached levels of inventiveness barely matched by the scriptwriters of The Thick of It. It was the contents of the car park.

    I had driven to the meet in a decidedly nondescript Renault. All the refs, however, had turned up in top of the range BMWs and Audis. The head ref was in a new Range Rover Vogue,

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