Jim White

  • Just when you thought it was safe to go in the boardroom

    Liverpool fans waking up this morning must have felt rather good ahead of the weekend's fixture with Manchester United.

    A decent result in the Europa League, Joe Cole performing admirably, Roy Hodgson smiling: things were looking up.

    A touch of optimism seemed all the more appropriate, given that United had looked lethargic against Rangers, have failed to nail wins twice already in the league and their main man Wayne still appears to be playing in an emotional shroud.

    But then the chirpy Scousers will have opened their newspapers. And there was the news no-one wished for. Tom Hicks was

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  • Coyle the smart Wanderer

    Phil Gartside, the Bolton Wanderers chairman, must have had an injection of brain cells for Christmas.

    But a month before the festive season, there he was suggesting to the rest of his Premier League colleagues that their competition become a closed shop (with Bolton included in the attic party before the ladder is raised, obviously), an idea so patently against the best competitive interests of the game even the Premier League chairmen - perhaps the most self-interested group in world sport - dismissed it as ludicrous.

    Yet here he is, the man who appeared not to have a clue, suddenly

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  • Beckham can be England’s Diego

    Now the quarter finals have been settled, this is looking like a World Cup that could boil into something special.

    Germany against Argentina, Holland against Brazil: these are the games the tournament was made for. And, Paraguay and Uruguay apart, it is the last eight we should have expected.

    France were in disarray long before they headed to South Africa, Italy were past it in qualification and England were never as good as they were made out to be.

    Perhaps the only real surprise is Argentina. Not because they don't have the players - any side with Messi, Tevez and Huguain as a front line

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  • He’s off…

    Unless we have all read the signs wrongly and in fact he was just doing it all along to gain a bit of attention, this weekend Cristiano Ronaldo is going to announce his wish to join Real Madrid. Of course he is: if he had no intention of courting the Spanish champions he would have stated simply and clearly a month ago that he was happy to stay at Manchester United. But he didn't because all along he has wanted to go play for the team his mum, his godfather, his agent and his Uncle Tom Cobley and all have been dreaming of him joining since he conducted his first step-over at the age of six

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  • ‘arry bucks the trend

    When Portsmouth boss Harry Redknapp posted a bid for Chelsea's Wayne Bridge this week it provoked the following headline in the Mirror: 'It's Arry's England B: Redknapp to make £5m Bridge SEVENTH Three Lions capture'

    The fact that Redknapp was keen to add Bridge to a list of recent signings that included England internationals Peter Crouch, Jermaine Defoe, Glen Johnson, David Nugent, Sol Campbell and David James was deemed news of such astonishment it was reckoned that only capital letters could do it justice.

    It says something about the state of the game in England that the news that an

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  • Before you fire, make sure you can hire…

    What is going on at Chelsea? How can a football club that has ambition to be the world's biggest make such a pig's ear of things? Have they not studied the lessons of their own history?

    There is a golden rule for those running a football club: never, ever sack someone until you are certain you have secured the services of someone better to take their place. It appeared to be a tenet those who run Chelsea recognised back in June 2004 when they replaced Claudio Ranieri with Jose Mourinho. Ranieri was many things you would want in the coach of your football club: charming, articulate, skilful,

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  • Bigger than massive

    What's bigger than big? Massive of course.
    A quirk of the fixtures computer and the race for fourth place in the Premier
    League has become a cup final. A massive one. Tonight's encounter between
    Manchester City and Tottenham has a winner-takes-all quality that lifts it way
    above the norm. Not least because it is rare indeed to encounter two clubs so
    desperate for success. Boy do they want it.

    The good news for this pair of serial
    under-achievers is that one of them has to make it to fourth. Mathematics
    insists the prize belongs to one of them. Villa have faded, Liverpool have
    whimpered out of

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  • Only Maradona can stop Messi

    As Manchester United had discovered a week before - albeit to less devastating effect - it sometimes doesn't work out quite how you might wish, scoring an early first goal in a European tie. Last night, almost from the moment Nicklas Bendtner put them ahead on aggregate, Arsenal were treated as a small child might be stirring up a sleeping wasps' nest with a stick: scoring just riled their opponents, reminded them of what they needed to do. And how Barcelona did it. Or rather how Lionel Messi did it.

    All debate was surely quelled after last night's game. Cristiano Ronaldo is magnificent,

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  • Dowie move is madness

    Poor Phil Brown. Sure he was the butt of much humour from rivals and hacks alike what with his team talks on the pitch, his toothache inducing karaoke and his tandoori skin tones. Not to mention his Star Trek communications device, his losing battles with English syntax and his ego the size of Maradona's breakfast. But what exactly did he do to deserve this?

    There he was, admittedly struggling, admittedly spending way more than his club could afford, admittedly getting insufficient return from his hefty investment of someone else's money. He might even have thought he was living on borrowed

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  • Hodgson finds his heaven

    Forget Fergie and Ancelotti. Forget Mancini's scarf and Rafa's excuses. Never mind Mourinho's pitch-bound celebrations or Martin O'Neill's St Vitus touchline dancing. The book on who should be named as international coach of the year closed last night at about 9.45pm.

    That was when, in the boiling delirium of Craven Cottage (and rarely before has that description been applied to the venerable old Thames-side ground) Roy Hodgson remained, as always, the calmest man around.

    As his Fulham side beat Hamburg to book a place against Atletico Madrid in the Europa League final on May 12, Hodgson

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