Jim White

  • ‘Tis the season to be paranoid

    Roberto Martinez could be fostering a siege mentality at Wigan

    It is that time of year, the time managers turn all seasonally paranoid. And while we might expect Mick McCarthy's hangdog expression to insist that the world is against him, it was more unexpected coming from the normally rational and calm Roberto Martinez.

    But there was the Spaniard, after his side had received their customary spanking at Old Trafford, insisting that everything was stacked in the favour of the big sides.

    Teams like Wigan, he insisted, arrived at places like the home of the champions with the equivalent of their hands tied behind their backs. Except when a ball flies in the

    Read More »from ‘Tis the season to be paranoid
  • Giggs straddles two eras of English football

    Ryan Giggs celebrates his landmark goalAt Craven Cottage on Wednesday night Ryan Giggs scored a goal. It was the third Manchester United strike in a five-goal rout, so in normal circumstances it would have been of no note.

    Except it was the veteran winger's first league goal this season. And it meant that, as Gary Lineker was swift to point out on Match of the Day, Giggs had found the net in every single season of the Premier League's existence. Twenty years he has been striking - which is some achievement.

    Giggs's strike at Craven CottageWhat a shame that his goal did not coincide — as, but for the intervention of Villa's Marc Albrighton elsewhere on the night,

    Read More »from Giggs straddles two eras of English football
  • Zero tolerance the only option on racism

    Luis SuarezThe charging of John Terry, plus the ban for Luis Suarez, suggest we have reached a new level of zero tolerance of racist abuse in English football.

    Let's hope so. If we are to congratulate ourselves on the growth of forbearance in this country, if we are to compare ourselves favourably with less enlightened football cultures, if we are to occupy the moral high ground long ago abandoned by the ludicrous head of Fifa, then we cannot allow our guard to slip.

    Advances can quickly turn back into reverses if complacency grips. And the fact is, there is still much to do to make English football a

    Read More »from Zero tolerance the only option on racism
  • Tricky ties lie in wait

    Blimey, that's a tough draw. As tough as the intricacies of the
    procedure allow. In the first proper round of the Champions League (surely the
    only proper cup competition is a knock-out) both of the surviving Premier
    League clubs have been pitched against Serie A opposition, in a sort of revival
    of the unheralded Anglo-Italian Cup.

    Arsenal, who for the last couple of
    seasons have faced Barcelona at this stage and who drew Udinese in the
    qualifying rounds, continued their relationship with ill-fortune by drawing the
    hardest opponents they possibly could: Milan. And Chelsea, whose dalliance with

    Read More »from Tricky ties lie in wait
  • Why Lampard will not become a red

    After a visit to his physio's room, Sir Alex Ferguson can name a pretty useful team at the moment. Add a keeper and a centre-back and, while perhaps not being a championship winning side, this nicely attacking line-up would still hold its own in the top four: Rafael, Vidic, Fabio; Fletcher, Anderson, Cleverley; Owen, Berbatov, Hernandez.

    The bad news for the Manchester United manager is, however, with the exception of Berbatov, all are out for some time. The unfortunate Darren Fletcher is certain to miss the rest of the season. Brought low by debilitating illness, the loss of his purposeful

    Read More »from Why Lampard will not become a red
  • United’s hole in the middle

    In Manchester on Thursday morning, contrary to expectation, the sun did rise. Well, I assume it did. The place got a bit lighter under a blanket of cloud. And the tram suffered a routine delay.

    Mind, for many, it was not bright, confident dawn. It had been a traumatic night for the local teams the evening before. At the Etihad Manchester City won against Bayern Munich, garnered the 10 points normally considered sufficient for progress in the Champions League, but, to the head-scratching bewilderment of those in the boardroom who believed that chucking money at any problem is bound to resolve

    Read More »from United’s hole in the middle
  • Who saw this coming?

    It is a rare occasion in the life of a football journalist that you can claim you got something right. Far more likely you are obliged to admit error. And in my case, the mistake was a sizeable one. On this site in September I wrote the following:

    "The group stage of the world's foremost club competition is now so skewed to the big clubs' advantage that all competitive interest has disappeared. United's autumn promises to be about as taxing as Wayne Rooney's offshore pay arrangements. Chelsea will be required to break sweat for about half an hour."

    As a prediction it wasn't what you might term

    Read More »from Who saw this coming?
  • The perfect match

    He’s back. One of the most interesting, intelligent, if

    enigmatic managers in the game has returned after a 15-month absence.

    Martin O'Neill

    is about to be announced as Steve Bruce's successor at Sunderland. And while the

    club lacks the same substantial body of rent-a-quotes hanging around outside

    its stadium hoping for a chance to address the nation via Sky Sports News'

    cameras as its Newcastle neighbours, we can safely suggest the Sunderland supporters

    will be largely delighted.

    After the hapless, red-faced Santa-alike Bruce,

    widely suspected to be a Geordie fifth columnist on Wearside,

    Read More »from The perfect match
  • Chelsea crippled by crisis of confidence

    Andre Villas-Boas was brought (and bought) in by Chelsea to win the Champions League, not the Carling Cup. Losing to Liverpool in the competition's quarter-final is of no significance in the wider revolution that the Portuguese is trying to effect. Nothing changes at the club after last night's woeful departure. Blips do not affect wider policy.

    Or at least those are the noises coming out of Stamford Bridge: full steam ahead, captain is the presiding theme. The course is straight and true, just keep on it and all will be well.

    The manager, however, will know different. He will be more than

    Read More »from Chelsea crippled by crisis of confidence
  • Manchester’s crumbling defences

    Manchester City fans have recently adopted their red
    neighbours' favourite chant and have begun to sing about how they are Man City
    and they'll score when they want. It is a chant that is a fair reflection on
    Roberto Mancini's side's Premier League campaign.

    In England, every week, teams
    are being battered by the superiority of blue firepower. Goals come from all
    quarters and at all times. For disbelieving
    City supporters, the old line about it doesn't matter how many the opposition
    score, we'll score more is being writ gloriously large.

    Shame Europe seems to be a different proposition

    Read More »from Manchester’s crumbling defences