Jim White

  • AVB leaves Spurs with his pockets full, but his reputation empty

    That old saying about how do you make a small fortune in football really ought to be updated. Start with a large one and buy a football club is no longer the best way. As has been demonstrated this week in north London there is a much more efficient method of growing rich out of the game. Just get yourself fired.

    The great thing about modern football is that it has opened up opportunities for those without any particular aptitude for actually playing the game to do very well out of it. Recent precedent suggests here’s all you have to do: pass a few coaching qualifications, talk your way into a

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  • Hate the name ‘Hull Tigers’? Just don’t use it!

    Here’s an idea: if everyone in the media agreed that they will continue to call Hull’s football team City, whatever the FA decides about the proposed change to some stupid animal name, then the whole preposterous rebranding exercise by the club’s owner will be undermined.

    If on the radio, on the television commentary, in the fixture list, in classified results and the league tables, Steve Bruce’s side are invariably called City, then the entire supposed purpose of the name change will be emasculated.

    If it has been done for publicity, then it is up to those in charge of the delivery of that

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  • Criticism over Pellegrini’s maths mishap doesn’t add up

    After they came second, by goal difference, in their Champions League group, Manchester City now face being drawn in the first knock-out round against one of Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico or Paris Saint-Germain. Whatever happens in Monday’s draw, no-one can accuse City of being gifted a shoo-in.

    Indeed, the respected German football commentator Rafael Honigstein suggested this morning that if a club from the Bundesliga had missed the opportunity City had last night to top their group and thus procure themselves an easier draw, they would have been pilloried in the German press. Nobody

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  • Put your money on Argentina in Brazil

    In football you have to be careful what you wish for. When the draw was made for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa The Sun greeted England’s prospects with a catastrophically hubristic headline. Using the initial letter of each of the countries drawn in their group, it read EASY for England, Algeria, Slovenia and, as shorthand for the USA, Yanks.

    Anyone who has not wisely erased the memories from their consciousness will recall that England’s passage through the group stage of that tournament was not as the headline had predicted.

    After a draw with the USA, and stinking the place out during a

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  • Everton’s loan rangers a vision of football’s future

    David Moyes was on prickly form ahead of his first meeting as Manchester United manager with his old club Everton.

    He claimed he had not even thought about the wider resonance of the encounter at Old Trafford tonight. He had given not a moment to considering how he would react if his new club scored against the one he managed with such distinction for 11 years. He had not pondered what sort of reaction he might get from the visiting supporters. Emotion, he said, was not a useful tool for the football manager. He was more concerned with the day to day reality of maintaining his club’s

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  • Insatiable appetite for more is what makes Giggs unique

    Soon after he played in his first game for Manchester United back in 1991, my friend Rob won the limerick competition run by a national newspaper with this little offering:

    Defenders now know Ryan Giggs
    Will go through them like syrup of figs
    They cry in despair
    As they lunge at thin air,
    That it's easier to catch Ronnie Biggs.

    It is a testament to Giggs's extraordinary longevity that, 22 years on from that occasion, there exists a whole generation of football fans who will have no clue what the punchline of that rhyme is all about. Who the hell, they will wonder, was Ronnie Biggs? The best

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  • Blunt United horribly over-reliant on Rooney

    Ten years on since he emerged almost fully formed to terrify opposition defences, an uninhibited teenager joyfully free of doubt or fear, supporters of the national team have grown used to worrying about the form and application, happiness and approach of Wayne Rooney.

    On his fitness has hung England’s hopes in three international championships (all of which, it turned out, were dashed). Such has become the paucity of talent, the presence of the one English forward in with a chance of selection were he Spanish or Brazilian has come to define our chances. With Rooney on song there is hope.

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  • How Pochettino has brought Saints to the brink of top spot

    Not for Mauricio Pochettino the delights of trash talking. Ahead of his heavyweight clash at the Emirates tomorrow, the Southampton manager was full of praise for his opposite number. Unlike Jose Mourinho, he saw no value in attempting to discomfort the Arsenal institution, preferring instead to smother Arsene Wenger in an onslaught of superlatives. No one nicer, no one better, no one shrewder in the business, the Argentine reckoned. It would be a long time before he could earn proper comparison. He is a long, long way behind the great Arsenal boss.

    And yet Pochettino will take his

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  • England sweat on draw – and so they should

    And so the panic begins.

    Two weeks from the draw for the World Cup finals and already we are worrying about our permutations. The way the seeding is likely to work out there is every chance that Roy Hodgson’s team will find itself in the same group as Spain, Chile and the United States.

    Which, given recent form, suggests Steve Gerrard and the lads need not be too disappointed about missing out on the beach: they will be there soon enough.

    If it were planned, we should all be admiring Hodgson’s management of national expectation after last night. Defeat to Germany, coming so soon after an

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  • Hodgson missed a trick this international window

    It is impossible not to sympathise with Roy Hodgson this weekend.

    Here he is trying to co-ordinate England’s World Cup finals campaign, work out his best players and their positions, sort out combinations and patterns on the training field, all vital stuff. And the vehicle he has been given is a couple of friendlies which leading club managers see as nothing more than an opportunity to rest and recuperate their players for more significant domestic matters ahead.

    Even so, you can’t help feeling the England boss has missed a trick. He had a chance, in the most useful of laboratory conditions,

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