Jim White

  • Ince’s sad goodbye

    Paul Ince has never been the easiest footballer to like. Aggressive, shirty, mouthy: he is not exactly up there with Gianfranco Zola in the popularity stakes. Even so his departure as Blackburn manager should give everyone pause for thought. There was nothing remotely encouraging about it.

    The first thing to be said is that Ince was unlucky. Brad Friedel and David Bentley were on their way before he arrived at Ewood Park and Roque Santa Cruz has spent the autumn apparently preparing himself mentally for a reunion with his former manager at Manchester City. Losing your team's central spine is

    Read More »from Ince’s sad goodbye
  • Why Cloughie would still cut it

    With more advanced publicity than the return of Jonathan
    Ross, The Damned United is released this week. And it's worth the fuss. Witty,
    nostalgic, intelligent, with a brilliant central performance from Michael Sheen,
    it is unquestionably the best film about football ever made (and yes, that does
    include There's Only One Jimmy Grimble).

    Ostensibly a dramatisation of David Peace's novel about
    Brian Clough's 44 days of failure at Leeds United in the late summer of 1974, in
    fact only the situation and the title have been borrowed from the book.

    Whereas Peace's work was an internal monologue,

    Read More »from Why Cloughie would still cut it
  • Whatever happened to sportsmanship?

    Unless Coco the Clown (or, as he is known in the Newcastle area, Mike Ashley) succeeds Brian Barwick as the FA's Chief Executive, it is unlikely that football officialdom will manage to produce as much comedy all season as it did at Watford on Saturday.

    For those who missed what is surely destined to become one of the most played clips on YouTube, it went roughly like this. Reading were attacking and the ball bounced around within the Watford penalty area. There was a shot at goal, which took a deflection and was ballooning out of play, missing the Watford's right hand post by about three

    Read More »from Whatever happened to sportsmanship?
  • Now those are deep pockets

    The advertising copywriters better get a move on: right now reality is way ahead of them. Carlsberg don't do closures of the transfer window but if they did, they would look very much like the one we have just enjoyed.

    What a day it was. Watching things happen on Sky Sports News was like watching the most intense of dramas unfold. Plots twisted and thickened until the point where suddenly a character you had never heard of stepped into the centre of the stage to steal the show.

    Robinho going to Manchester City? No-one, not even the most fervent of bluenosed dreamers could ever envisage that

    Read More »from Now those are deep pockets
  • Hail to the chief

    At the end of his first year in charge, Fabio Capello has done many things for the England football team. He has organised them well, given them purpose and direction, won a few World Cup qualifiers. He has managed to give a semblance of order to an outfit that before his appointment looked rudderless and hopeless. Naturally, this has encouraged those who always get a little over-excited the moment England win a game or two into making extravagant claims once again about the possibility of South Africa. Capello though has remained level-headed and refused to stoke up the wild expectations. He

    Read More »from Hail to the chief
  • Mourinho and Drogba: the truth

    More than a year after he left Chelsea, Jose Mourinho remains a major story in the British press. This weekend, the news that he had lost his temper with his Internazionale team after their limp goalless home draw with Genoa made all the papers.

    So too did the denial from sources at Manchester United that the club had entered into negotiations with him to replace Sir Alex Ferguson when - or rather if - the great man retires. What the Portuguese does and says makes news. Although sometimes it is what he hasn't said that generates the headlines. Last week he was widely quoted in the tabloid

    Read More »from Mourinho and Drogba: the truth
  • It’s all gone quiet over here

    It was Alan Hansen who was the first to come out and say it. And with it the man whose analysis of football is second to none demonstrated that even he could get things wrong some times. Two days into Euro 2008, after watching the first four games of the tournament, Hansen declared that England could have won it.

    Normally, such wilfully optimistic assessments require England's participation in a competition. But this time, here was the country's foremost television football pundit installing England as favourites in absentia.

    To be fair his point was a good one. Euro 2008 is so open a

    Read More »from It’s all gone quiet over here
  • The Tantrums of Wayne

    Running on Sky television at the moment is a show called Wayne Rooney's Street Striker. In it, England's principal footballing talent fronts a series of challenges designed to test the skills of the country's back street players.

    As Rooney conducts his search, what a contrast there is between the presenter and the contestants, between the wannabes and the superstar. While they are all cocksure swagger and streetwise lip, he looks lost, a shy, self-conscious presence who appears to wish he were anywhere other than in front of a camera.

    Compare that to his demeanour on Wednesday night at Old

    Read More »from The Tantrums of Wayne
  • Who do you want in Moscow?

    So who do you want to make it to Moscow? Who would you like to see lining up in the Luzhniki stadium on the night of May 21 as the Champions League anthem plays out across the public address system? Do you crave a chance to witness the north west's ferocious derby being played out in the Russian capital? Or would you like the Spanish influence to be on the pitch rather than in the dug out and Barca to take their swank and swagger out east to play west London's finest?

    For the neutral it is quite a dilemma. One of this week's Champions League semi finals is all about style, grace and

    Read More »from Who do you want in Moscow?
  • Who’s the daddy now?

    Invited on to a television news show to discuss the takeover of Manchester City by Arab oil money, the spokesman from City's supporters' group was very pleased with himself.

    Asked whether this now made City the biggest club in Manchester, he replied: "City have long been the only club in Manchester."

    The presenter seemed somewhat surprised. "I think you'll find," the City bloke continued, "that Manchester City are the only football club within the boundaries of Manchester itself. United are located in the borough of Trafford."

    The newsman shook his head. And well he might. Here was the

    Read More »from Who’s the daddy now?