Jim White

  • Redknapp’s Spurs in with a chance

    Harry Redknapp: Will he be the first English manager to win the league since Howard Wilkinson?Are Spurs title contenders? It is the question of the week. Ever since it appeared that the wheels are beginning to loosen on the Manchester City juggernaut, Spurs' serene and steady progress into the top three has been put into new perspective.

    They are no longer merely jostling for a Champions League berth. Now, suddenly, Harry Redknapp is being touted as a genuine candidate to become the first Englishman in 20 years to steer a side to the English championship.

    Even a fortnight ago it seemed a preposterous idea. Back then, City looked invincible. And even if they stuttered, it was only

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  • Old boys’ return papering over cracks

    ScholesThere was a brief flurry of excitement among Tottenham fans this week that, in line with the growing trend among their rivals, Glenn Hoddle might be about to make a comeback for their team.

    Unfortunately, there proved to be no truth in the rumour. Hoddle, it seems, didn't want to go back to Spurs. Not now the returning Ralph Coates snapped up his favoured squad number.

    The recall of Thierry Henry and Paul Scholes to competitive duty this weekend certainly took us all by surprise. Only on Sunday I was confidently assuring a fellow scribe that Alex Ferguson was more likely to play for United

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  • Get your Cheick book out, Fergie

    Cheick Tiote tackles Phil JonesPat Crerand is a man who has seen a bit of Manchester United over the years. The former Busby favourite who won the European Cup in 1968 is now employed by the club's in-house voice MUTV to give red-centric opinion to red-happy viewers.

    He has been there for every game over the past dozen or so years, watching the steady accumulation of trophies, becoming attuned to routine victory. So what he had to say after Wednesday night's encounter with Newcastle carried the weight of vast observational experience.

    "That," he said, "was not good. Not good at all. And I tell you what, after that I'm

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  • See you in court, ref

    No-one can accuse Neil Warnock of holding back. Now he has returned to the Premier League, the joker of Loftus Road has made a welcome habit of turning his post-match comments into a kind of surrealist theatre. Back-handed compliments about rival clubs, critique dressed up as praise for others' worldliness, and a searing sarcasm about officials' judgment delivered through a clenched-teeth smile: every performance has moments of magnificent drama.

    But few can match his response to Joey Barton's sending off against Norwich. After the Rangers captain was dismissed following what was clearly a

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  • January’s bargain basement XI

    Now that's over, we can look forward. And we know what comes in January...

    A lot of moaning and whining by the managers of top clubs that the mid-winter transfer window offers no value for money; that the best players are not tempted to leave the best clubs; that only those who can offer Champions League fixtures in the spring will bring in the best, who, in any case, were they attracted from the best clubs, would be cup-tied.

    This usually — at least on Merseyside - prefaces the signing of some stub-toed hacker for an inordinate sum of money just as the window slams shut.

    But maybe that is

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  • ‘Tis the season to be paranoid

    Roberto Martinez could be fostering a siege mentality at Wigan

    It is that time of year, the time managers turn all seasonally paranoid. And while we might expect Mick McCarthy's hangdog expression to insist that the world is against him, it was more unexpected coming from the normally rational and calm Roberto Martinez.

    But there was the Spaniard, after his side had received their customary spanking at Old Trafford, insisting that everything was stacked in the favour of the big sides.

    Teams like Wigan, he insisted, arrived at places like the home of the champions with the equivalent of their hands tied behind their backs. Except when a ball flies in the

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  • Giggs straddles two eras of English football

    Ryan Giggs celebrates his landmark goalAt Craven Cottage on Wednesday night Ryan Giggs scored a goal. It was the third Manchester United strike in a five-goal rout, so in normal circumstances it would have been of no note.

    Except it was the veteran winger's first league goal this season. And it meant that, as Gary Lineker was swift to point out on Match of the Day, Giggs had found the net in every single season of the Premier League's existence. Twenty years he has been striking - which is some achievement.

    Giggs's strike at Craven CottageWhat a shame that his goal did not coincide — as, but for the intervention of Villa's Marc Albrighton elsewhere on the night,

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  • Zero tolerance the only option on racism

    Luis SuarezThe charging of John Terry, plus the ban for Luis Suarez, suggest we have reached a new level of zero tolerance of racist abuse in English football.

    Let's hope so. If we are to congratulate ourselves on the growth of forbearance in this country, if we are to compare ourselves favourably with less enlightened football cultures, if we are to occupy the moral high ground long ago abandoned by the ludicrous head of Fifa, then we cannot allow our guard to slip.

    Advances can quickly turn back into reverses if complacency grips. And the fact is, there is still much to do to make English football a

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  • Tricky ties lie in wait

    Blimey, that's a tough draw. As tough as the intricacies of the
    procedure allow. In the first proper round of the Champions League (surely the
    only proper cup competition is a knock-out) both of the surviving Premier
    League clubs have been pitched against Serie A opposition, in a sort of revival
    of the unheralded Anglo-Italian Cup.

    Arsenal, who for the last couple of
    seasons have faced Barcelona at this stage and who drew Udinese in the
    qualifying rounds, continued their relationship with ill-fortune by drawing the
    hardest opponents they possibly could: Milan. And Chelsea, whose dalliance with

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  • Why Lampard will not become a red

    After a visit to his physio's room, Sir Alex Ferguson can name a pretty useful team at the moment. Add a keeper and a centre-back and, while perhaps not being a championship winning side, this nicely attacking line-up would still hold its own in the top four: Rafael, Vidic, Fabio; Fletcher, Anderson, Cleverley; Owen, Berbatov, Hernandez.

    The bad news for the Manchester United manager is, however, with the exception of Berbatov, all are out for some time. The unfortunate Darren Fletcher is certain to miss the rest of the season. Brought low by debilitating illness, the loss of his purposeful

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