Jim White

  • Blame Torres for quiet January

    Fernando Torres rues another missed chance

    The bloke who chained himself to the goalposts at Everton is something of a serial protester.

    On Tuesday at Goodison, he unleashed his latest protest about Ryanair's employment policy. Seemingly they charge you extra just to work there.

    Maybe next time he decides to handcuff himself on a football pitch he might do so on behalf of a really important cause: those of us who tuned in to Sky Sports News yesterday hoping for some, well, news. As damp squibs go, the final day of the January transfer window was completely water-logged. We, the viewers, demand something a little bit more dramatic in

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  • Time for indirect action

    Micah Richards gives away a penaltyWatching Phil Dowd ease Liverpool's passage into the Carling Cup final at Anfield on Wednesday night, a refereeing friend of mine asked this: isn't it about time we restored the indirect free kick?

    Under the current rules Dowd had no choice but to give a penalty when the ball struck Micah Richards on the arm. This despite the fact that the Manchester City captain clearly did not intend to handle the ball. Yet, his arms were raised above shoulder-height, so when the ball hit him, Dowd was obliged to point to the spot.

    The trouble is, you try launching yourself in front of a moving football to

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  • Feral fans risk another Cantona attack

    Eric Cantona launches a kung-fu kick at Matthew Simmons (obscured)Seventeen years ago this evening, I was at Selhurst Park to watch Crystal Palace play Manchester United. It wasn't a particularly distinguished game. Andrew Cole had just arrived in Manchester from Newcastle, a signing that somewhat undermines Alex Ferguson's insistence that he has never had much time for the January transfer window. Cole had yet to forge any kind of relationship with his new club's star forward, Eric Cantona. And Cantona spent much of the game looking as if he were unsure the idea would ever get off the ground. He was tetchy and agitated, unhappy with the close attentions of

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  • Silly money on offer at QPR

    Tony Fernandes is hoping to take QPR to the next levelQueens Park Rangers felt moved to clarify yesterday that they were not paying Manchester City £4 million for Nedum Onouha but something closer to £2.5 million. And, now that he is to wear the hooped shirt, the player will not earn £80,000 a week as widely reported in the papers.

    You think they do protest too much. At what point, even in the crazed economics of the Premier League, even if they are paying him a paltry 75 grand a week, will it dawn on QPR and their owner Tony Fernandes that they have been royally ripped off?

    Onuoha, remember, is a player who couldn't even get into Manchester

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  • Career coaches changing the game

    Brendan Rodgers: A leading member of the career coach groupMartin O'Neill's return at Sunderland has raised the number of managers of Premier League clubs who have won European Cup medals as players to three. O'Neill won his with Nottingham Forest, Kenny Dalglish picked up his with Liverpool. The third I will leave you to work out. But it's not Roberto Mancini.

    Three out of 20: just 15 per cent. It is not a huge representation. Indeed, not only do most of our top bosses not have the most significant of all club prizes in their trophy cabinet, half of them did not even play the game at the level they now coach.

    Take the League's flavour of the week.

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  • Redknapp’s Spurs in with a chance

    Harry Redknapp: Will he be the first English manager to win the league since Howard Wilkinson?Are Spurs title contenders? It is the question of the week. Ever since it appeared that the wheels are beginning to loosen on the Manchester City juggernaut, Spurs' serene and steady progress into the top three has been put into new perspective.

    They are no longer merely jostling for a Champions League berth. Now, suddenly, Harry Redknapp is being touted as a genuine candidate to become the first Englishman in 20 years to steer a side to the English championship.

    Even a fortnight ago it seemed a preposterous idea. Back then, City looked invincible. And even if they stuttered, it was only

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  • Old boys’ return papering over cracks

    ScholesThere was a brief flurry of excitement among Tottenham fans this week that, in line with the growing trend among their rivals, Glenn Hoddle might be about to make a comeback for their team.

    Unfortunately, there proved to be no truth in the rumour. Hoddle, it seems, didn't want to go back to Spurs. Not now the returning Ralph Coates snapped up his favoured squad number.

    The recall of Thierry Henry and Paul Scholes to competitive duty this weekend certainly took us all by surprise. Only on Sunday I was confidently assuring a fellow scribe that Alex Ferguson was more likely to play for United

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  • Get your Cheick book out, Fergie

    Cheick Tiote tackles Phil JonesPat Crerand is a man who has seen a bit of Manchester United over the years. The former Busby favourite who won the European Cup in 1968 is now employed by the club's in-house voice MUTV to give red-centric opinion to red-happy viewers.

    He has been there for every game over the past dozen or so years, watching the steady accumulation of trophies, becoming attuned to routine victory. So what he had to say after Wednesday night's encounter with Newcastle carried the weight of vast observational experience.

    "That," he said, "was not good. Not good at all. And I tell you what, after that I'm

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  • See you in court, ref

    No-one can accuse Neil Warnock of holding back. Now he has returned to the Premier League, the joker of Loftus Road has made a welcome habit of turning his post-match comments into a kind of surrealist theatre. Back-handed compliments about rival clubs, critique dressed up as praise for others' worldliness, and a searing sarcasm about officials' judgment delivered through a clenched-teeth smile: every performance has moments of magnificent drama.

    But few can match his response to Joey Barton's sending off against Norwich. After the Rangers captain was dismissed following what was clearly a

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  • January’s bargain basement XI

    Now that's over, we can look forward. And we know what comes in January...

    A lot of moaning and whining by the managers of top clubs that the mid-winter transfer window offers no value for money; that the best players are not tempted to leave the best clubs; that only those who can offer Champions League fixtures in the spring will bring in the best, who, in any case, were they attracted from the best clubs, would be cup-tied.

    This usually — at least on Merseyside - prefaces the signing of some stub-toed hacker for an inordinate sum of money just as the window slams shut.

    But maybe that is

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