Jim White

  • England learning how to lose

    Let us not, in this moment, be bitter. Let us instead heed the homily of Sepp Blatter when he tells us that football's fundamental lesson is learning how to lose. Which in England we usually do where football is concerned.

    Let us instead, from our position of humiliation, celebrate the victors. Like Russia. Lucky Russia: eight long years to build 13 stadiums and find a load of grass for the one they already have.

    Oddly, none of the money required for that vast herding of white elephants over the next decade will come from the Zurich gnomes. But prime minister Putin - who, you suspect given his

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  • Time to give England a proper competition

    For the first time in what seems like a century, never mind a decade, England will step out for an international fixture on Wednesday evening without any of the Chelsea trio of John Terry, Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole.

    Which, if for no other reason, makes this game with France an intriguing occasion.

    Such has been the stranglehold the gilded threesome have had over selection during the reigns of Sven-Goran Eriksson, Steve McClaren and Fabio Capello that come hell or high water at least one of their names would be on the team sheet.

    No matter how limp, how woeful, how hapless or hopeless the

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  • Hodgson fights back at last

    It is not often that a manager gets off the hook with a 0-0 draw. But Roy Hodgson almost managed it last night.

    This has not been a good week for the Liverpool boss. Already weakened by results, he was widely ridiculed for his comments after his team's defeat in Sunday's Merseyside derby.

    His wholly legitimate attempt to find the positive in woeful defeat just made him look hapless. If, as he said, that was the best Liverpool had played this season, no wonder they are in the relegation zone.

    Then on Wednesday, it was announced that his two allies, the men who had brought him in over the

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  • Coyle left without a prayer

    Owen Coyle is one of British football's foremost Catholics. A man who indentifies himself strongly with the green tinge of Glasgow tradition, he attends mass with the regularity of a Vatican insider. So much so that I once inadvertently made him roar with laughter by suggesting that he, David Moyes, Alan Irvine and Billy Davies formed a Masonic order of young Scottish managers in the English league.

    "With my background," he guffawed, "I think you'll agree it's unlikely I'd be joining any sort of lodge."

    If there was anyone who would have understood the significance of the name on all the

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  • Yanks’ tragic farce

    History, so Hegel's aphorism goes, is meant to repeat itself
    first as tragedy than as farce. In the current history of Liverpool football
    club it is difficult to work out at which stage we are.

    This morning it was announced that the club board had agreed
    a sale to a consortium led by the company which owns the Boston Red Sox.
    Details of the deal were thin but the key point was that the debt incurred by
    the previous bunch of cowboy owners would be removed from the books. And since
    the debt is owed to RBS, and we now all have a stake in the rescued bank, that
    is good news for all of us.

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  • Is the season already over for Liverpool?

    According to Tony Wilson, the late Mancunian music entrepreneur, you learn something about football as you grow older. When you are young, he said, you believe that a club's success is down to players. A bit older, you think it is due to the manager. But eventually you arrive at a position of sufficient wisdom to understand that actually, it is entirely the responsibility of the chairman.

    As was his way, Wilson was being deliberately provocative with his analysis. He liked to cause a stir, and in this case he was as keen to undermine the hero worship of the player and the cult of the manager

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  • Goalkeepers strike back

    Rob Green
    clearly feels a vindicated man. After his fine performance against Tottenham at
    the weekend, the Rustenburg blunderer gave a robust gesture to the occupants of
    the Boleyn Ground press box.

    You didn't
    need a PHD in mime studies from Marcel Marceau University to understanding what
    lay behind that gesture. The acid critics in the newspapers, Green felt, were
    just wrong. He was a decent keeper, and they were misrepresenting him. It was,
    his body language insisted, all their fault.

    For his
    trouble, Green received a letter from the FA outlining what the organisation
    called "his

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  • Beckham really is a fraud

    David Beckham got a pretty hostile reception when he turned out for LA Galaxy in his first game back on Californian soil this season.

    The game was against Milan, the very team he was playing for on loan recently. And, to greet their returning superstar, fans at the Home Depot stadium unfurled a banner which read 'Go Home Fraud'. When they booed his every touch of the ball, Beckham became incensed by their rudeness and apparently vaulted an advertising hoarding, advanced on the fans and offered to take them all on.

    One man responded to his gestures and ran down the steps of the stand towards

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  • Owen’s timing remains perfect

    An interesting thing happened on Saturday: Michael Owen scored twice for Newcastle. It was an achievement that was over-shadowed by Stoke's brisk and muscular comeback at St James' Park. But what Owen did will have been noted beyond the confines of his club. Particularly the manner in which the goals were scored: ruthless, swift and clinical.

    I played football for over 20 years and in that entire time scored about three goals. This was in part because I was completely useless, a player with not so much two left feet as no feet at all. But mainly it was because scoring goals is astonishingly

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