Jim White

  • Manchester City must mimic Bayern’s statements of intent

    There are many lessons English football can learn from its German counterpart.

    As the Bundesliga suddenly becomes the new source of football fashion, the list of things it does rather well is extensive. There is the attitude to youth development which ensures youngsters get a proper chance to shine. There is the clear-headed approach to finance which means no club would ever be in a position to sink into administration.

    And there is the rational stance on fan culture which allows supporters not to have to break the bank for a match ticket and when they turn up, lets them stand watching a game,

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  • United’s flat-track bullying a mark of champions

    When Robin Van Persie smacked home that magnificent volley on Monday night, the delirious crowd in the Stretford End as one found their voice: “That’s why we’re champions,” they chanted.

    You could see their point. Last season we witnessed the tardiest conclusion in Premier League history, the destination of the trophy not decided until the third minute of added time in the final game. This time it was over before St George’s Day, with four games still to play.

    Though there is an argument that the race was done as early as 12 August last year. That was when, on deciding that he had had enough

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  • Spendthrift QPR should look to Swansea model

    Queens Park Rangers could be relegated this weekend. If results go against them, if they lose and their rivals for the drop all win, they will be down. Not even Houdini could escape from a predicament as perilous as theirs. Never mind Harry Redknapp.

    It may not be this weekend, but when they go (the 'if' long ago left the Loftus Road building) it will signal the conclusion of one of the most ignominious spending sprees in Premier League history. Sure, back in 2004 Leeds paid the nightmare price of living the dream. But at least they got to the Champions League semi-finals in their midst of

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  • Stoke and Sunderland face scramble for last seat on life raft

    Ultimately, for all the angst and chin stroking, football is the simplest thing. If you score goals you are more likely to win than if you don’t.

    Apply that simple lore and the scramble at the bottom of the Premier League looks suddenly clearer. The fog of panic and scramble lifts. The clubs that can score goals will survive. Those that can’t are doomed.

    Hard as it might be for him to accept it, we can safely say Harry Redknapp has not managed to burnish his Houdini reputation at Loftus Road. Unless there is an imminent intervention from a force even more divine than Loic Remy’s strike last

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  • Life in the old title race yet

    Phil Jones’s face has become a thermometer to take the temperature of the title race. Last May down on the pitch at the Stadium of Light, as the news was broken to him that Manchester United had not, in fact, won the title and that Manchester City had snatched it at the very last, the young utility player wore an expression that passing Hollywood directors should have recorded to use as a template for any actor looking to play a character who has just seen a ghost. Rarely has anyone looked so manifestly crestfallen. He really did look as though his world had just ended.

    Then, on Monday night

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  • With Di Canio, Sunderland’s real action will be off pitch

    Sunderland supporters should brace themselves for drama when their team take on Chelsea on Sunday.

    Not so much on the pitch, where the delivery of excitement has been more than a touch limited this season. No, the action will all be in the away team’s technical area.

    If Sunderland fans thought that their previous manager Martin O’Neill could get a little exercised on the touchline, with his St Vitus Dance twitches and attempts at the world standing high jump record every time his team scored, they have seen nothing compared to what their new man will bring.

    For Paolo di Canio, the manager’s

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  • Ageless Beckham could play for England at World Cup finals

    Thank goodness for David Beckham. What would we do without our country’s most visible male? There we were, facing the latter stages of a Champions League competition bereft of English involvement, thinking we had kissed all interest goodbye in the world’s most significant club competition, when the man with perfect grooming steps into the breach. Paris St Germain are still there. Just.

    Their 2-2 home draw with Barcelona last night may well prove not to be enough to facilitate further progress. But it could have been a lot worse.

    And the good news is, the reason it wasn’t a lot worse was

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  • Entertainment? Fans just want results

    I now have a new hero. Andrew Cassidy is his name.

    Since he was filmed doing keepy-uppies on an estate in Wales, he has become a YouTube celebrity.

    If you haven’t seen him in action yet, here’s the video. Stop reading this now and watch him on the ball, he really is fantastic.

    Exhibiting the best ball control west of the Severn Bridge, he has the lads filming him in stitches as he flicks and feints and volleys.

    Why? Well, because he is not exactly the shape, scale or age of most footballing freestylers.

    Fat, fifty and fantastic: what’s not to like about him? He is a role model (or should

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  • ‘Safe pair of hands’ Hodgson lacks crucial edge

    Roy Hodgson and Gary Neville in Montenegro

    When you watch him go about his duties you can understand why the FA appointed Roy Hodgson as England coach. He is calm, diplomatic, professional. There are no skeletons rattling around in his cupboards, the players like him, this is the very living embodiment of a safe pair of hands.

    In every way he has been an understandable choice as the country’s most visible coach. Except, after last night’s World Cup qualifier, you can’t help wondering this about him: what on earth does he say at half-time?

    We can make a pretty accurate guess at what his counterpart said. Montenegro were so poor in the

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  • The meaningless calm before the storm in Montenegro

    England will win tonight.

    It is not often you can be that certain, but they will. San Marino’s purpose in international football is to give the rest three points. That’s why they are there.

    Ahead of tonight’s international, win bonuses are not something the San Marino FA need worry about. They are not about to be bankrupted by success. Instead, knocking the ball around unperturbed and untroubled, England’s players will pick up their bonus with the kind of ease normally associated with the removal of sweets from a sleeping infant.

    Not that it will ultimately assist them on the road to Brazil.

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