Jim White

  • He isn’t the Messiah, he’s just the caretaker

    It was time, Kenny Dalglish said at his first press conference since returning as Liverpool manager, to put aside romance. And there is no better place for the speedy dumping of fable than Bloomfield Road tonight.

    At the home of the Premier League's least-endowed members, Dalglish could be in for a very nasty jolt of reality. Here he will get a sense of exactly what it is that he has taken on. And it is unlikely to make pleasant viewing. 

    Liverpool's owners made a logical decision in removing Roy Hodgson from his position ahead of the FA Cup defeat against Manchester United last weekend and

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  • It should have been Dean

    I read during the week a newspaper column solemnly declaring that if bankers were to be targeted for a one-off windfall tax to help fill the current black hole in government finances, then so should footballers. Too much money too young was the gist of the argument. It is a fair point, except it misses this vital truth about a footballer's trade: unlike the average desk-bound banker, he is just one slip away from losing it all.

    Take Dean Ashton. In the autumn of 2006, he was a man poised on the brink of a serious breakthrough. Raised in the pass and move school of Dario Gradi at Crewe, he had

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  • How much for Mrs R?

    If Darren Bent is worth £18 million, how much would Harry Redknapp's wife cost on the transfer market? You will recall the occasion when Bent was at Spurs, flopped in front of goal and his then manager suggested his missus could have buried a chance like that.

    How we laughed at the time. Typical Harry. What a joker. But thinking about it afterwards, it was a pretty sharp public statement, evidence that the manager had no faith in his player. He was soon shipped out to Sunderland. And at that point you wondered what the Wearside club had bought. The poor striker looked finished, a busted flush,

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  • Nice work if you can get it

    When they surveyed the books at West Ham after taking over, Davids Sullivan and Gold said that the one thing that had to stop was ridiculous wages being paid to inadequate players.

    They were thinking of the £75,000 a week shelled out to Freddie Ljungberg, or the near £65,000 going out every seven days to whichever treatment room is currently occupied by Kieron Dyer.

    This week, the club signed Wayne Bridge on loan from Manchester City. As part of the deal, the Hammers top brass agreed to pick up his entire salary: somewhere north of £90,000 a week. So, how's that belt tightening philosophy

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  • Winning is all that matters

    This is how it used to be in Manchester on derby day: a bunch of willing journeymen would take on a collection of illustrious household names.

    Run the clock back a decade and the gap between the city's two clubs was so vast there wasn't even a derby staged. In May 1999, when United returned from Barcelona with the treble, City were preparing for the second division play-off final.

    Back then, United boasted Cole, Yorke, Sheringham and Solskjaer - a quartet of forwards as compelling as any gathered together in the game's history.

    City's manager Joe Royle, meanwhile, was wondering which

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  • Mancini’s problems in attack

    All the criticism following Wednesday's Mancunian bore draw has been dispatched in one direction. Roberto Mancini was, apparently, to blame for possibly the most stultifying 94 minutes you will see all season.

    While Manchester United, as the away team, were widely praised for their ability to keep possession, wait for openings, hold their fire (and also for the titanic display of their captain Nemanja Vidic) Mancini was derided for three things: displaying no ambition, displaying no ambition and displaying no ambition. One paper condemned him for trying to turn the Premier League into Serie

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  • Time to get real Wayne

    There is every chance that England's most elusive over-paid non-performing footballer might actually be seen in action at some point this weekend. And no, we're not talking about another abortive return for poor old Owen Hargreaves.

    Apparently someone called Wayne Rooney might deign to play some part in Manchester United's game against Wigan tomorrow. About time, you might say, given that, thanks to his new humungo contract, he has banked something approaching £1 million since he last managed to lace his boots for competitive action.

    Speaking in Doha this week as part of his well-remunerated

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  • A bad case of the number twos

    Top and bottom of the Premier League they might be, but Chelsea and West Ham appear to be sharing something of a problem: both are suffering from a bad case of the number twos.

    At Stamford Bridge and Upton Park they have been shedding assistant managers with the urgency a flea-ridden moggy does fur. First Ray Wilkins goes at Chelsea, then Zelijko Petrovic is dismissed at West Ham, before Wilkins's initial replacement Michael Emenalo is seemingly ousted. And at both clubs, the dismissal of the junior member of the management team is sending out all sorts of messages about the man at the top.

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  • Harry’s need for boredom

    In big, headline letters on a board on the wall of the press room at White Hart Lane is this quote from Danny Blanchflower: "The game is about glory, it is about doing things in style, with a flourish, about going out and beating the other lot, not waiting for them to die of boredom."

    You can't miss it, it is so prominent. It sums up the club's image of itself, as a morally positive force in the world, by implication the cultural opposite of the other lot, the busy neighbours down the road.

    And reading it the other night, after Spurs had strolled to qualification for the knock-out round in

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  • Do you feel lucky, Al?

    So Alan Pardew: do you feel lucky? You'd better.

    Though, as it happens, the place you are about to go, not even possessing the luck of a black cat called Lucky who has just scooped the top prize in the Lottery would be sufficient. In fact, where you have opted to tread, nothing is ever enough.

    Because you are now entering Newcastle United, otherwise known as the managerial graveyard, a workplace where you are never more than a moment away from a P45, where five other managers have been appointed and then variously disposed of in the past three years.

    You joked in your first press

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