Jim White

  • Reports of Premier League demise have been exaggerated

    This has not been the Premier League's best week in Europe's top competition. In the Champions League, three of England's representatives lost, whilst the fourth were obliged to recover from a losing position.

    What was worse was the identity of those doing the beating. It was not the old school muscle of the competition that was handing out the drubbing. It was not Milan or Real or Inter. It was Ajax, Shakhtar and Schalke doffing up England's finest. Meanwhile Manchester United were shocked out of their complacency at home not by Benfica, Bayern or Barcelona. But by Braga.

    Does this suggest,

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  • Stakes higher than ever for Mancini

    Roberto Mancini is worrying about his coefficients. And you can sympathise with him. If his Manchester City side fail to qualify from the Champions League group of death this season, then next year they are certain to be in the same position. Whether they retain their domestic title of not, an inability to negotiate their way into this season's knock-out phase will stymie their continental ambition.

    When City won the Premier League at the death last May, many of their supporters assumed their excellence would be immediately translated into European success. But it isn't as easy as that. Not in

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  • Celebrating 10 years of the Wayne Rooney enigma

    Wayne Rooney celebrates scoring the winning goal for Everton against Arsenal in October 2002

    "Remember the name: Wayne Rooney, a new star is born on Merseyside."

    It is not often in his career that Clive Tyldesley can boast such prescience. But 10 years ago this week, during his commentary on Everton's game with Arsenal, he got it spot on.

    From the very moment a short, bullet-headed 16-year-old powered towards the Arsenal goal and heaved a howitzer shot past a floundering David Seaman into the top corner of the net, that name has been inscribed on the national consciousness. A decade later the entire nation knows the name.

    It has become shorthand for those who don't understand to mock

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  • Who pays higher price for Eastern shambles, Poland or Serbia?

    England assistant Gary Neville tests the pitch in Warsaw

    Graham Taylor described the farcical megashambles in Warsaw last night as like something from Monty Python. He was right - it was wholly comical, surreal and absurd.

    But if we are to find a parallel from television comedy, it is surely The Likely Lads.

    In one episode of the bantering seventies comedy about a couple of shiftless Geordie blokes, the twosome were desperately trying to steer clear of any score flashes from an England international.

    This was in the days when matches were not streamed live on television, when the internet was not yet invented, when Twitter was something birds did

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  • San Marino match a total waste of time

    Football and maths have been cosying up all week. First we learn that Alan Pardew has asked his players to mark Newcastle's shirt sponsorship deal with payday loan sharks Wonga.com by giving 4012% out on the park. Then the Daily Mirror tells us that it is as well that San Marino's goalkeeper is an accountant, because he'll need a head for figures to tot up the number of goals that will be fired past him at Wembley tonight.

    As if. Frankly, as long as he can count up to six he should be okay. San Marino may be officially the worst international team in Europe, but as we will no doubt be hearing

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  • When he signed his new eight-year deal at Newcastle United, Alan Pardew had this to say on the matter: "Now I've got the security to take a look at younger players, give them a chance, build something for the future."

    As a critique of football's favoured system of management recruitment — never mind the future just get in a bloke who can deliver results today — it was as pertinent as it was pointed. No-one who fears that they may be out of a job tomorrow is inclined to worry about what next week holds, never mind next year. Short-termism is football's perennial curse. The only way to combat

    Read More »from Bolton’s decision to sack Owen Coyle is truly wretched
  • Hodgson hysteria taking England down the tubes

    If Roy Hodgson was not yet fully acquainted with the cesspit of raving insanity into which he has plunged he should now know exactly what he has taken on. Hodgson this week did two things which — in any other walk of life — would be deemed utterly unremarkable: he caught a Tube and he talked to a couple of fellow passengers. But he is not involved in any other walk of life. He is the England manager. Which meant when his actions came to light it could signal only one thing: crisis.

    Far from extolling the virtues of the man for revealing that he still remains attached to the real world as the

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  • If it turns out to be true, the hint in the papers of the identity of the next manager of Blackburn Rovers is the most intriguing bit of football news of the season.

    Roy Keane is apparently being sounded out for the vacancy created by Steve Kean's defenestration from the Ewood Park boardroom. He has — so the reports suggested — put a job offer from a club in Turkey on hold while he considers the possibility. We can only hope he accepts. English football could do with his return. Things have been getting worryingly sane in his absence.

    Keane and Venky's would be the most unlikely of football

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  • Rodgers showing admirable faith in youth

    Brendan Rodgers got a little sidetracked this week. The new Liverpool manager rang Mike Riley, the chief referee, to complain that Liverpool were being hard done-by.

    He couldn't understand why decisions were not going their way, why players were being booked for making decent challenges, while opponents were not even being cautioned for assaults. He was perplexed that penalties had not been awarded, but had been given against his team.

    It was almost as if nothing had changed at Anfield. As if Kenny Dalglish were still in charge and the assumption that the world was set against them was still

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  • Vidic blow leaves United vulnerable

    In the aftermath of an emotional afternoon, in which dignity was tested to the limit and largely found to be intact, it may not seem the most urgent piece of information to emerge from Anfield on Sunday. Yet it might well turn out to have a significant effect on the destination of the Premier League title.

    As Manchester United prepared to play Liverpool, news emerged that Nemanja Vidic had been obliged to withdraw from the fray after feeling a tightness in his knee during the warm up. The visiting captain had only just returned to the side following almost an entire season out with ruptured

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