Jim White

  • Batten down the hatches: he’s back

    It is not easy to like Joey Barton. Even his mum would be hard-pushed to find any source of affection when surveying his rat-like features. Long before he thought it a good idea to spend the early hours of a Sunday morning pulping the face of some poor 16-year-old who happened to look at him funny on the street, long before he stubbed his cigar out in the face of a trainee player who he thought was mocking him, long before he smashed up the eye socket of a team mate who he believed was not showing him enough respect, there wasn't much to like about him.

    The boastful insistence he was the next

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  • The future is in the past

    In Jason Cowley's new book The Last Game, the editor of the New Statesman describes the final match of the 1988-89 football season as the match that changed the game.

    When Arsenal travelled to Liverpool nearly 20 years ago, everything, the writer suggests, was different. And he wasn't merely referring to the fact that this was the climax of a league season that did not include Manchester United in the calculations. Reading Cowley's account it is hard to argue with his analysis.

    Back then, the game in this country was going through something approaching a post-Hillsborough nervous breakdown.

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  • Bring back King Kev

    Of all the things that might happen this summer - Karim Benzema going this way, David Villa going the other, while Dean Ashton will probably finish up in an east end medical facility - there is one thing you hope more than any goes ahead.

    If it was going to happen it probably would have done by now. Which suggests it is unlikely to. But wouldn't it have been great if Kevin Keegan had decided to become Southampton manager? Would that not have brightened up the national summer mood almost as much as Andy Murray winning Wimbledon, or England prising that little urn out of Australian hands.

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  • Madness on the south coast

    Rafael Benitez will keep his job at Liverpool. It has been made clear that despite his failure to steer the club through the group stage of the Champions League, there is absolutely no thought of his departure at Anfield. Indeed it would be an act of folly to fire him given the circumstances in which he finds himself, with his most potent playing assets compromised by injury and his ability to work the transfer market compromised by an unsteady flow of funds.

    Mind, it is not common sense that is keeping Benitez in his office. It is not the realisation that he is the best man for the job, or

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  • Wayne’s world implodes

    The former Liverpool midfielder and inventor of the Predator boot Craig Johnston has a novel solution to the Bridge-Terry conundrum. The Australian, who has recently re-invented himself as an arty photographer with an exhibition opening in London next week, reckoned on Talksport yesterday that the best thing would be for Fabio Capello to arrange for a bit of man on man action to sort things out.

    "Mate, this may sound a little Aussie, but once you've hit a bloke in the face, everything else becomes a bit secondary," Johnston reckoned. "Afterwards, you kind of forget all the other stuff and put

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  • Nothing wrong with Villa’s route one

    Arsene Wenger doesn't do gracious. Unlike most modern managers, when things don't go according to plan, the Frenchman does not confine himself to railing against referees. There is no conspiracy of silence for Wenger, no honour amongst thieves. He is always happy to lay the blame for dropped points at the tactical shortcomings of his rivals.

    He was at it again on Wednesday night. While his rivals Manchester United were otherwise engaged draining themselves emotionally in that epic Carling Cup semi final and while Chelsea were accumulating yet more points in a routine win over Birmingham,

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  • No tears in this goodbye

    It is the best piece of news on Merseyside
    since Derek Hatton announced he was going to spend more time with his Everton
    season ticket. Tom Hicks and George Gillett this morning revealed that they
    intend to sell their controlling interest in Liverpool Football Club. Of
    course, they don't actually own the place, the Royal Bank of Scotland does that
    through the biggest mortgage west of Old Trafford. But the feuding pair have
    put their differences aside and decided to go.

    Martin Broughton, the former chairman of
    British Airways, has been appointed chairman of a new five-man board on which

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  • City the only story in town

    That was a bit of a wash-out wasn't it? About as fulfilling and exciting as a Twenty20 international at Old Trafford, the final day of the summer transfer season passed off with barely a whimper. Last year, £75 million exchanged hands in just three moves as Marouane Fellaini, Dimitar Berbatov and Robinho were swished through procedures just in time to turn out for their new clubs. In comparison, David James not going to Spurs and Nicky Shorey's problems with his personal terms hardly constitute the same level of drama.

    Even the masters of hype at Sky Sports News had to admit that events had

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  • Not much of a choice for Fabio

    Let's face it, selecting the 30 for England's pre-World Cup training camp in Austria is not the hardest task in world football. Basically if you are English, play in the Premier League, are not crocked or are not currently in self-imposed exile in Saddleworth, then you are in.

    Sure, were they available, Bobby Zamora, Owen Hargreaves and Paul Scholes might have made things a little more intriguing. But the paucity of choice confronting Fabio Capello was evident in this rather alarming statistic: Arsenal - the third best team in the land - supplied four of the players for France's provisional

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  • King the only sensible choice

    The word in the press this week is that Ledley King has been tipped off by Fabio Capello that he can start packing: he is going to South Africa.

    It seems that the England coach has been spending a lot of time going to Spurs matches to look at Michael Dawson and every time he does he can't help thinking that that the best player on the park is King. Which is about right: the Spurs skipper is the most talented English-qualified central defender you are ever likely to see, a man who has everything required for the role.

    But, say those who have read about Capello's fear of picking players with

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