Jim White

  • Have you checked your studs, JT?

    Portsmouth held their pre-FA Cup final media day on Monday of this week. It was a pretty chaotic affair, with newsmen spilling all over the place and little co-ordination of events. The shambles was an apt symbol of Pompey's season, you might think.

    Though the hard-pressed staff - the few remaining after the debt-enforced cull of the workforce - did their best, as well as they could given that the world's most bankrupt club train on a school playing field, it brought new definition to the term amateurish.

    On Tuesday, Chelsea hosted their media day at their Cobham training ground, all state of

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  • No arguing with this poll

    The great thing about the Premier League is
    that there is no arguing with the result. There are no hung decisions, no
    coalitions, no desperate horse trading about who has the popular mandate. All
    that matters is the number of points accrued. Whoever has the most is the best
    team in the land.

    So, unless there is a late, unexpected
    surge in Martinez mania, we can safely say that in this poll at least the blues
    will overcome the reds and take the top spot. If they do, they will have
    deserved it: 36 league games played is a far more accurate test of a team's
    standing than any exit poll.

    And what

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  • It’s all in the mind games

    At the conclusion of Manchester United's victory over Wigan that sealed the club's 17th English title, Alex Ferguson said the following:

    "This will give us a tremendous lift [for the Champions League final]. I remember when we lost the title on the last day in 1995 and had a FA Cup final to play how deflated the players were. It would be hard to pick them up from this if they'd lost today."

    The moment you heard that, there could only be one thought: he never stops, does he? There was English football's most decorated manager, a knight of the realm, a man who has achieved everything in the game

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  • Hull playing for their existence

    There was real fear in the air at the KC stadium this week. Not so much among the fans: for many of them, a couple of years in the Premier League has been a bonus, an occasionally pleasurable interlude to the usual business of football. They are robust enough to take relegation without too many sleepless nights.

    No, the terror was entirely in the boardroom. There they have access to the books. There they know how perilously City's condition really is. There they know that without the continuing bounty of the Premier League to prop them up, the consequences of the last couple of years of

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  • King is not a typical footballer

    Marlon King claimed in court this week that he hadn't assaulted a 20-year-old student in a night club, breaking her nose after she rejected his clumsy advances.

    It was, he said, a case of mistaken identity. If so, it wasn't the first time he had been involved in a such an error. For a start, there was the time Steve Bruce paid £5 million for him in the belief he was a Premier League striker. Clearly it was someone else Bruce was thinking of.

    King's case was particularly shocking. Not just in the arrogant brutality of his actions on the night he was out in Soho celebrating the fact his wife

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  • Zola: No room for Mr Nice Guy

    Uniquely among his Premier League peers, before every game his team plays, Gianfranco Zola insists on engaging in a warm embrace with his opposite number.

    Others might shake hands, perhaps occasionally even swapping a brief back slap. But it is only with Franco that things get quite so close. It doesn't matter if it's icy Arsene, snooty Sir or suspicious Sam, he is in there, hugging them like a long-lost relative, greeting them with his full beam grin. And they always reciprocate. Suddenly confronted by someone nice for a change, they seem always to respond in a friendly manner. No-one has

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  • Delia’s Norwich coming nicely to the boil

    Judging by her most famous half-time appearance, Delia Smith has always enjoyed the hospitality at Carrow Road. But this week, she revealed that she wasn't all that happy with the catering on offer.

    After 40 years as a television chef, for the first time she had signed up to do a series of commercials, with the supermarket Waitrose. She was quite open about her motive: she needed the money to keep funding Norwich City, a club she and her husband had been propping up for years. Besides, she added, part of the deal was that Waitrose would sponsor the food and drink at the ground, something, she

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  • Ancelotti’s boss problem

    Listening to Radio Five's phone-in last night after Chelsea's game with Bolton was a somewhat confusing experience.

    First a caller came on the line denouncing Carlo Ancelotti as ultimately a defensive coach with no interest in ball-playing wingers. "He hates dribblers," the caller moaned. And quoted no finer a football witness than Silvio Berlusconi to back up his assertion that the Italian was averse to anything in the way of seat-edge occupying thrill-seeking.

    The next caller - another Chelsea fan - was complaining about Didier Drogba. He complained that the Ivorian is a one-dimensional

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  • Zamora can be our Sheringham

    In the aftershock of English wipeout in the Champions League, there seemed to be only one silver lining anyone could come up with: now that their season is finishing a fortnight ahead of the final in Madrid, at least the England players would have time for a proper period of rest and recuperation ahead of the World Cup.

    It is not the kind of consolation to pacify followers of Arsenal and Manchester United, whose relationship with England is cool at best. But there is historical resonance there: the last time England did anything at the World Cup, in 1990, they did so at the end of a season in

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  • The rest of the world might as well give up

    Ian Chadband in this morning's Daily Telegraph came up with the perfect analogy to describe the game between Arsenal and Barcelona. Watching from the bench, Theo Walcott had suggested that at times, so precise and electric was their passing, Barca played football that looked like something you would see on a Playstation. Chadband picked up on this point and wrote that if that was the case, Pep Guardiola was like the young son, fluent in the controls, who knew every flip and trick, taking on his dad, Arsene Wenger, who really didn't know which button did what and thus saw his electronic team

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