Jim White

  • Liverpool’s fitting tribute

    It didn't quite come off. The result was not the one their
    many followers would have wanted.

    But still, the performance given by Liverpool's team against
    Chelsea during
    Tuesday night's astonishing Champions League tie was the most fitting tribute
    imaginable on the 20th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster.

    Never once did their players give up what appeared a forlorn
    cause. Where there is time, there is hope was the message delivered by those on
    the pitch. In short, it was the perfect eulogy.

    If that sounds trite in the context of a horror in which 96
    people died, over 700 were injured

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  • Genius may not be enough

    Nobody understands what Manchester United is all about more than Alex Ferguson.

    An enthusiast of history, he made it his business from the moment he arrived from Aberdeen 23 years ago to study and then absorb what the institution was all about.

    He knows that, buried deep in the club's DNA, is the requirement to play attractive, fluent, persuasive football, an approach summed up by the Stretford End's insistent chant of "attack, attack, attack".

    But Ferguson also knows that winning is the thing that really counts. A pragmatist at heart, he has long balanced his team's attacking instincts with

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  • Eyes down…

    As the last day of the Premier League season hoves into view, there is only one direction in which eyes will be trained. And no, it's not on which team will manage to avoid the curse of qualifying for the Europa League. As with every year, as the season closes it is the desperate scramble for survival that quickens the pulse (and lengthens the queue for the toilet).

    As the hapless plight of Southampton, Charlton and Norwich this season demonstrate, the Premier League is the only place to be. Ejection from its monied portals can lead to ignominy and ruin. With every year that passes this

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  • Bradford show the way

    Here's a story that escaped wider notice this week, but should be compulsory reading in places such as Blackburn, Bolton and Wigan. Indeed it should be pinned to the boardroom door at St James' Park, where it really ought to be committed to memory by every Newcastle United director. Or at least those Newcastle United directors capable of reading.

    Bradford City announced this week that they had sold more than 10,000 season tickets for the third year on the bounce. This is a remarkable statistic given that City are now in the fourth tier of English football, have hardly suggested over the past

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  • Fasten your seatbelts: Roy’s back in Town

    He's back. And judging by the photographed expression on the faces of his charges as they trotted behind him after his first training session, five months away walking his dogs hasn't made Roy Keane any less intimidating. This is a man who can freeze a room of hardened hacks with just a glance. Imagine what he does to a dressing room full of young footballers. No wonder the poor things looked terrified.

    The return of the finest player of his generation to club management is great news for almost everyone. For the fans of Ipswich Town, his unexpected appointment has immediately transformed

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  • Roll on August 15

    Andy Murray hasn't yet sustained a grass stain down the side of his new, retro Fred Perry shorts at Wimbledon. No English batsman has yet returned to the pavilion, looking shame-faced and bamboozled following the first blistering Mitchell Johnson Yorker of the Ashes series. Tiger Woods has yet to leave the rest of the field in his wash on the Turnberry dunes in the Open.

    The great summer of sport has hardly got underway. But already we all know what we will be doing come the beginning of August, already we have planned our autumns and already are working out who would most benefit from a

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  • Fan power can save Newcastle

    £1.8 million
    for eight matches.

    Or £225,000
    a game.

    Or £2,500 a
    minute.

    Now we know
    the cost of a Messiah on Tyneside. No wonder Alan Shearer decided to forsake
    his comfortable perch on the Match of the Day sofa. No wonder he decided Gary
    Lineker was not necessarily the most convivial Saturday night company. Frankly
    for that sort of money he would have been tempted to try and save Charlton
    Athletic.

    Mind, if he
    does it, if Shearer proves that a total lack of managerial experience is no bar
    to success, if he does significantly better than that other dugout rookie Diego
    Maradona and manages

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  • United’s biggest threat? Arsenal

    Before his team's Champions League tie with Chelsea, the Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez said something interesting. Responding to a journalist's question about Alex Ferguson's recent generous comments about his old sparring partner Arsene Wenger, Benitez suggested that the Manchester United boss was happy to be magnanimous because he no longer regarded his Arsenal counterpart as a threat.

    In which case, if Benitez's psycho-analysis is correct, you wonder what Fergie will be saying over the next few weeks about the Frenchman. While it is undoubtedly true that Arsenal's chances of winning the

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  • Buddy can you spare a dime?

    The Deloitte figures for the Premier League season were
    released this week and as always they make compelling reading.

    It is an odd truth of the company's annual audit that a
    bunch of numbers you would normally think is strictly for the accountants
    suddenly, when attached to a football club, makes the eyes spring open as we
    are all obliged to blink twice and swallow hard.

    At first sight the collective accounts for the 2007-08
    season make cheery reading: income up, salaries up, everything - as Yazz once
    said - is on the up. Especially television income which has bucked all trends
    and

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  • City’s Barry coup

    Well, nobody saw that one coming. Least of all Steven
    Gerrard who was confidently telling a press conference that Gareth Barry was
    precisely the kind of player required to "add spark" to the Liverpool
    squad, the sort of intervention that implied he expected his England colleague
    to join him at Anfield imminently.

    But, while Rafa Benitez was on holiday, Mark Hughes was at
    work. Thus Barry became a Manchester
    City player, the first of
    a platoon of big names the club has targeted to be recruited over the summer.

    You will remember last summer the Aston Villa captain made
    clear his desperation

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