Jim White

  • Does anybody want the title?

    That was a rarity: a match between top teams that might linger in the memory slightly longer than a trip round his bowl does in the mind of a goldfish. For once not concentrating all available resources on the vital requirement of not losing, two of the leading five gave us a humdinger last night.

    Chelsea against United was a contest that had everything the armchair fan might wish for: great goals, steamy tackling, defiance, endless plotlines involving pantomime villains, plus the inevitable inept reffing, with the entire caboodle conducted at full-throttle velocity. Exactly what the Premier

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  • January madness infects Henry

    These are interesting times on Merseyside. The biggest-selling replica shirt in Premier League history is now an object of derision, its only use from here on as a firelighter. From Tuesday morning, the official Liverpool website was advertising 'Carroll 9' shirts as the latest must-have, as if all those Torres numbers never really happened.

    Not that Liverpool allowed their most prolific scorer to head south, and brought in an untried, raw-elbowed replacement simply to stimulate a bit of activity in the superstore. It was a bit more complicated than that. Or at least their supporters will hope

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  • England: What’s the point?

    Sir Geoff Hurst chose this week to revel in the joys of playing for England.

    Talking to the Telegraph's Henry Winter, he was poetic about the rewards 1966 and all that had brought him. He relished the lifetime of acclamation that followed his achievement. And he felt that today's players are missing out because of the rapid devaluation of the international game.

    "There cannot be anything better than playing for England, whether in darts, dominoes, cycling or football," the great man insisted. "But it is becoming more evident that players don't feel that way."

    It was, perhaps, not the

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  • Chelsea have a new striker after all

    After last night's win in Copenhagen, it appears Chelsea are in possession of a valuable new striker after all.

    While Fernando Torres once more approached the goal as if he is obliged to carry his weekly wage in pound coins in his boots, while Didier Drogba looked sulky on the bench, while Florent Malouda continued to give difficult second album syndrome a footballing dimension, suddenly Nicolas Anelka looked a classy proposition. And few could have expected that after he reprised his Moscow penalty miss with an even more lame spot kick against Everton on Saturday.

    True, there were

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  • Nothing small-time about Crawley

    The cynic might wonder just how many, among the hordes travelling up the motorway from Sussex for tomorrow's FA Cup tie between top of the Barclays Premier against second in the Blue Square Premier, will be supporting Crawley?

    As opposed to making their fortnightly pilgrimage to Old Trafford to watch Manchester United.

    Though, intriguingly, the fans arriving tomorrow at Manchester airport from the four corners of the earth to take in a game at the Theatre of Dreams won't exclusively be there to cheer on the home team. Crawley's Sergio Torres used his win bonus from the last round to fly his

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  • The real reason Gray was sacked

    You get a measure of a man's personal popularity by those who gather round him when he is in trouble.

    As Sky colleagues queued to stitch him up by releasing old footage of his crass behaviour stockpiled against the day it might be used for revenge, it is clear Andy Gray did not have much in the way of support from those who worked with him. Or as he would put it, under him. 17 years of failing to look a female co-worker in the eye (his gaze was generally occupied elsewhere) finally took their toll. When the only person prepared publicly to back you is Ian Wright, and then he abandons you,

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  • About time Rooney found himself again

    Mario Balotelli has a mouth on him. Like his choice of headgear (did you see that cockerel-style knitted number he was wearing during the big freeze?), there is nothing shy or retiring about the Italian's public statements. One minute he is claiming never to have heard of Jack Wilshere, the next he is insisting he is the only serious rival to Lionel Messi. Which given his comparative achievements seems, to say the least, a little optimistic.

    Yet when he claimed this week that Wayne Rooney isn't even the best striker in Manchester, it was difficult to fault his logic. Sure, as is usually the

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  • Oh, how we’ll miss you Red Nev

    The moment Gary Neville realised it was all over for him as a top level footballer was when he failed to properly tackle West Brom's Graham Dorrans and instead tripped him in the penalty area.

    That was the signal, he now says, that made him recognise that his timing was shot, and that he was no longer an asset to the club he has served with such distinction for so long. He was now a liability.

    Being a United diehard, there was no way he would wish to turn out for anyone else, so the decision was easy. He would go. Stand down, head off into the sunset. Or the Sky studio.

    By coincidence, that

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  • Why Chelsea will bust the bank for Torres

    Well, that came out of the blue.

    Just when the transfer window seemed to be petering to its usual conclusion of determining at which of his childhood favourite clubs Robbie Keane will end up, Chelsea lit up the whole process by offering £35 million for Fernando Torres.

    And there we were thinking Roman Abramovich had given up spending for the New Year. 

    Trying to buy Torres makes perfect sense for Chelsea, as it would for any club. He is that rarity in football, the one that commands the biggest attention and the biggest fees: a proven goalscorer.

    He is more than a supremely gifted - albeit

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