Jim White

  • Football’s cruellest word

    You know things are getting a touch surreal in the summer transfer market when news leaks out that Harry Redknapp has managed to sign only one player during the break and hasn't sold any. Not one.

    Indeed, so thin has been the market movement so far that the lead item on Sky Sports News this morning was that West Ham had turned down a bid from Tottenham for Scott Parker. Even in the shouty realm of Sky Sports News, it comes to something when the biggest story is something that hasn't happened.

    Normally at this point in the summer, just around the time fans renew their season tickets, clubs

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  • Welcome to the economic madhouse, Yaya

    Yaya Toure is apparently really looking forward to joining up with his new Manchester City colleagues. He regards the forthcoming season as one of great challenge and enormous potential. With the squad being assembled by Roberto Mancini, all trees in the vicinity of the City of Manchester Stadium, he believes, are in danger of being uprooted. City are on the march. This is going to be massive.

    All right, I paraphrase. Though only marginally. And if it seems a little odd for the Ivorian to be so excited about moving from the club where he won the European title to a place where the passports

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  • Football’s fiscal studies

    It was nice of Alvaro Arbeloa to express concern for the future direction for the Premier League.

    According to an interview this week, Liverpool's Spanish defender is anxious to move back to his homeland as soon as possible. This is nothing to do with the impending arrival of Glenn Johnson to challenge for his first team shirt. No, it is about wider matters. He wants to be gone before the new 50p tax rate for those earning over £150,000 a year comes into force.

    But it is not just him he is worrying about. Arbeloa foresees a mass talent drain of footballers keen to avoid the long fingers of

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  • Not worth a boo

    Steven Gerrard admitted this week that, were he an England fan, he would join in any booing at Wembley tonight.

    In truth, Gerrard will be lucky if there is anything as animated as a boo to greet he and his team's return to action. After what they did this summer, what they deserve to be met by is the crashing silence of indifference.

    The utterly depressing thing about tonight's friendly with Hungary is that no more than six weeks on from England's humiliation in South Africa, nothing has changed.

    Sure, as always, the language in press conferences is of apology and hurt. No-one, according to

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  • Cole: Easy for Hodgson to say

    £90,000-a-week for a player who, in the last five years, has featured in his club's starting line-up on average 19 times a season may not seem the bargain of the decade.

    Cheaper, you would have thought to, buy out Simon Cowell's latest TV contract, better value to take a meaty bundle of used fivers and one by one shove them down the toilet, less risky to employ Harry Kewell as your medical consultant. But actually Joe Cole's recruitment by Liverpool might well turn out to be the signing of the summer, an indication that despite all visible signs to the contrary the club is not in terminal

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  • It all depends on Torres

    It was not perhaps the terminology his manager might use, but Glen Johnson was accurate in his assessment of what Sunday's game against Manchester United means for his club's season. Speaking in Liverpool's training ground earlier this week, the England full-back described the fixture as "s*** or bust".

    His point was this: facing the champions in such a position, after the worst run of defeats in 22 years, with morale so low it is barely detectable, with the possibility of their championship campaign lasting only until the day the clocks go back, might seem like the worst possible bit of

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  • Great time, shame about the football

    Well, that was a final which won't linger long in the memory.

    Three days on and most of us are seeking to forget what happened in Soccer City on Sunday night.

    Spain against Holland was a simply horrible exhibition, proof that if one team sets out to destroy, even the best find it hard to elevate proceedings.

    What the Dutch gave us what not so much total football as non football.

    The thuggery of Mark van Bommel and Nigel de Jong was a vicious slap in the face of those who gave us the glorious orange.

    No wonder Johan Cruyff sought to distance himself from it. And - never mind his nationality -

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  • Roy’s tough task

    Roy Keane is not a man shy of making a geographical generalisation. While at Sunderland he complained that the town was so distant he was having difficulty attracting players whose WAGs worried about being isolated from the fashionable stores of the West End.

    And now in East Anglia, he is suggesting that his new place of work is rather too pleasant. Nice place Ipswich, he says, lovely lifestyle, plenty of space and fresh air. In fact it's all a bit comfortable for Royston, a bit too bucolic. He reckons for too long the players at the club have reflected their environment and been too easy to

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  • Waiting for Barry

    It appears the most important piece of news for Fabio Capello is the condition of Gareth Barry's ankle.

    Suddenly a man who had a season at Manchester City in which he drifted from the indifferent to the invisible has become the key to England's chances in the World Cup.

    Without the City man's disciplined destruction in front of the back four, the Italian believes his side is horribly vulnerable. Besides, if Barry is absent it will mean having to take Leighton Baines as cover for Ashley Cole, which is surely an accident waiting to happen.

    Barry has become vital and the condition of his ankle is

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  • Only one winner

    How things have changed. Spain, once
    regarded as the serial chokers of world football, a side so averse to the big
    time they made the Leeds team of the 1970s look like the most resolute
    finishers in history, are closing in on the prize with all the lynx-eyed
    resolve of real champions.

    They may have started the competition with
    a defeat, but if they wind it up with a win they will demonstrate the
    fundamental truth of tournament football: it is those who improve who prosper.

    Even as they were losing to Switzerland in
    that first game, however, there was manifold evidence that this was a team

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