Jim White

  • Carling Cup now playground of rich

    Assuming that the game does not succumb to the sort of contagion of hacking and spitting not seen outside the movie 28 Days Later, Chelsea will take on Bolton Wanderers in the Carling Cup tonight.

    The home side will be fortified against the arrival of the swine flu in the Bolton baggage by Carlo Ancelotti's patented remedy: warm milk and red wine. But such is the prevalence of the virus among Bolton's players, in the event of a draw at the end of extra time maybe the referee could decide things by a snot-off. Instead of penalties, the first side to fill an entire box of tissues with mucus

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  • Bellamy the Bluebird

    Craig Bellamy has packed his bags and gone
    back to Cardiff. Which means down in South Wales, even if the Ryder Cup is
    heading their way in about six weeks time, everyone would be advised to lock up
    their golf clubs.

    The oldest swinger (of a three iron) in
    town is going back to the place of his birth, taking a cut in division (if not
    in pay) in the hope of projecting the local team to the Premier League. And he
    could well make a difference to Cardiff City's prospects.

    Quick of limb and wits, a sharp finisher
    and a man full of passion and effort, he could supply the edge which was
    missing last

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  • Whingeing Willy a great signing

    Piers Morgan,
    who believes Arsene Wenger arrived at the Emirates from atop Mount Olympus and
    would generally claim anyone in possession of an Arsenal shirt was the very
    epitome of unimpeachable genius, once described William Gallas as "a great big
    whining French blouson." Which given that the Frenchman was, at the time,
    Arsenal skipper, was tantamount to sacrilege.

    Morgan's was, however, an opinion
    that found widespread purchase in the stands at the Emirates at the time. Which
    may well explain why his defection across North London to Tottenham this week
    has been greeted with crushing

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  • Not a draw, a fix

    At one point during the interminable and bombastic Champions League draw, Gary Lineker cracked a joke.

    The Match of the Day presenter was responsible for drawing the group numbers out of glass bowls and made chortling reference to hot balls. He was recalling the old-style method of fixing a draw, the way in which the tokens were heated up to ensure the right ones were pulled from the hat.

    The joke passed unnoticed by the UEFA officials on duty. But then, even if they'd spotted it, Michel Platini and his outfit would not have concerned themselves with the quip. They have no need of hot balls

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  • Now is the time for City to make a statement

    After last week's debt derby, this weekend sees the spondalicious showdown, the wonga-fuelled extravaganza, the 90 minutes when - to quote Ian Faith, Spinal Tap's legendarily philosophical manager - money talks and bulls**t walks.

    When Manchester City play Chelsea tomorrow lunchtime the combined wealth of the two clubs' owners will be somewhere north of £25 billion. Perhaps even more than that: such is their astronomical dimensions of their reserves, they both will have earned enough in interest overnight to wipe out the critical levels of debt currently afflicting Liverpool and Manchester

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  • It is only a matter of time for Terry

    I caught a re-run wildlife documentary on the television yesterday. It was about a bunch of monitor lizards in Indonesia who were suddenly alerted to the possibility of breakfast by a buffalo straying right into their territory. It was a haughty beast, confident in its scale, seemingly certain it was strong enough to deal with any danger.

    But the lizards thought otherwise, set on it and chased it down. According to the voiceover, the buffalo managed to evade their attentions for hours, occasionally even putting in a couple of lusty blows on his tormentors. But they wore it out, the poison

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  • Scholes absence all too evident

    The joke doing the rounds after last night's game at Old
    Trafford was that, despite all the dire predictions beforehand, a tight,
    disciplined scramble against the best the nation had to offer suggests
    Manchester United could hold their heads up in the Scottish Premier League
    after all.

    Still, whatever the nature of the gallows' humour, the dour
    stalemate with a team he expected to beat easily does not signal the end of
    Alex Ferguson's season. Dropping two points against Rangers can be rectified
    along the way. Particularly as Valencia
    have already demonstrated the congenital weakness of

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  • 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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