Jim White

  • Not quite the winners

    A horrible thought occurred to me on Thursday as England's women footballers were beaten in the European Championship final by Germany's ladies: following on England's defeat by Germany in the final of the U21 championship in June, what price can you get for a treble of German victories over England in Johannesburg next July?

    But then I thought: let's not get ahead of ourselves here. England in the final? Well, it is about as likely to happen as Burnley topping the Premier League. As is always the case when England do well in qualification (in fact as is always the case whether they do well in

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  • Tonight they’re going to party like it’s 1979

    The satirist Francis Wheen was on Radio 4's Today programme this morning talking about how we are facing a return to the conditions of the 1970s. A collapsed economy, a fatally wounded Labour government, national strikes on the railways and in the post office: it all looked ominous. But the thing that clinched it for Wheen was the trouble at Upton Park last night. "We really are going back to the 70s if we've got a return of football hooliganism," he said.

    The large-scale violence at the Carling Cup game between West Ham and Millwall did have a horribly old-fashioned look to it. Scuffling in

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  • That’s what you call a derby

    For most clubs in the Premier League, a visit to Blackburn would represent the trip least likely to excite the masses. Most fans scour the fixture list when it is printed to check out the date of visits to Old Trafford, Anfield, the Emirates and possibly this season, that home of the new Harlem Globetrotters, the Blue Camp, the City of Manchester stadium.

    Apart from the fact Rovers tend to be generous in their allocation of away tickets, there is not much that appeals about a seasonal journey to Ewood. Indeed, for many regulars, if it happens to be the one that coincides with family business,

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  • Adebayor deserves everything he gets

    Talking of the moment he snapped and leapt the barriers of Selhurst Park to plant his studs in the chest of
    a gobby fan who had been hurling abuse in his direction, Eric Cantona recalls
    that he had heard the same sort of rubbish hundreds, if not thousands of times

    Usually, he says, he ignored it. Usually, he says, he rose
    above it all, as you have to do as a footballer given the torrents of filth
    that head in your direction from the stands. But on this occasion, for some
    reason he has never quite fathomed, something went. It was almost physical, he
    says, like a curtain coming down in

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  • Sol’s sad farewell

    You could tell from the look on his face that Sol Campbell was not enjoying himself. There he was, an international footballer a mere 18 months ago, a man who had played in World Cups and European Championships, turning out for Notts County in League Two and someone was giving him what appeared to be a nipple tweak.

    No wonder he looked exasperated, infuriated, as if he would rather be anywhere other than standing in the Morecambe goalmouth being violated. Indeed, looking at the picture of his very personal introduction to the world of lower league football, it was little surprise to hear that

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  • Who would have imagined this?

    Sam Allardyce wouldn't touch him with a lengthy bargepole. Fabio Capello considers him entirely surplus to requirements. At Newcastle, the accountants have been desperate to get his enormous salary off the books before it drags the whole enterprise to the bottom of the Tyne.

    Just about the only interest in securing his signature this summer had come from Stoke City. And yet, provided all goes well with his medical, today Michael Owen will be joining the Premier League champions. By five o'clock he will be a Manchester United player. How on earth did that happen?

    Clearly Sir Alex Ferguson is a

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  • Would you miss Ronaldo?

    So would you miss them? Would, in your opinion, the tournament be reduced by their absence? Or are you so one-eyed in your affection for England the fewer obstacles in their way the better? The fact is, if things do not go their way over the next few days, there is a very real chance the World Cup will kick off next June without the participation of the two finest current protagonists in the world game.

    While England are already there, basking in internet-only certainty, already booked on to the flight to South Africa, getting in early with their reservations to ensure Peter Crouch can sit in

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  • Bell tolls for Pompey

    The late Tony Wilson, the music entrepreneur who founded Factory Records and instituted the Manchester sound in the early 1990s, was a man with forthright views about football.

    Actually, he had forthright views about everything, most of which hovered somewhere on the scale between ridiculous and barking mad. But something he once said about football always stuck in my mind. He said when you are young, as a fan, you think it's all about the players. As you get a bit older, you reckon it's actually all about the manager. But eventually, you come to the realisation that, in fact, it is all about

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  • Fabio’s limited choice

    Peter Crouch and Gabriel Agbonlahor are likely to start for England against Belarus this evening, with both Shaun Wright-Phillips and Aaron Lennon beetling down the flanks.

    Rightly so. If Fabio Capello's expressed managerial intention to pick his England team on form rather than reputation is to have any meaning, then they must get their chance once proper circumstances allow. And if a dead game against a side with no further interest in the competition, with his principal performers injured and unavailable, is not the proper circumstances then they will never arrive.

    Besides, if nothing

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  • Wenger’s debt to pub bores

    There is something magnificently perverse about Arsene Wenger, a brilliant contrariness which gets more marked as he reaches an age where he will be gifted his free bus pass.

    His latest revelation is that he would not be the man - or indeed the manager - he is today were it not for his upbringing in an Alsatian pub. He owes it all, he claimed in a speech to the League Managers' Association this week, to the fact his folks ran a boozer and as a kid he was subjected to the endless drunken rantings of the clientele.

    In their cups they never stopped talking about football, he said, and he would

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