Jim White

  • Twitter trouble looms for football stars

    Let's hope a number of our leading footballers have been following developments in the Lord McAlpine case. It might serve as a warning to them about the use of their favourite medium. It might issue a note of caution about Twitter.

    This has not been a good week for micro-blogging. For the first major time since it became obligatory to have a Twitter account, to describe everything with a hashtag, to insert '*' on either side of a conversational tic to denote irony, the law has turned its beady eye on the service. And it has noted that since the usual laws of libel are applicable it could be a

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  • If Zaha is the real deal, one more year won’t hurt

    Wilfried Zaha of Crystal Palace

    According to the excited headlines reporting the build-up to England's friendly with Sweden this evening, as a prospect, Wilfried Zaha is somewhere between Maradona and Pele.

    Team-mates have waxed lyrical about his skill, England old-timers have drooled about his abilities in training, everyone seems to think he is so good the only way to describe him is as the new George Best. Let's just hope for his sake that is how it turns out. And he's not just the new Vince Hilaire.

    Zaha's progress has rapidly turned into a bellwether for the future of English football. He represents a kind of future we

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  • Celtic heroics allowed us to dream

    Well, there's a surprise. After Celtic's win over Barcelona, Twitter has been filled with disgruntled Noucampistas pointing up the possession statistics. Apparently it undermines the legitimacy of victory if you only enjoy 18 per cent of the possession during a game. Apparently wins like Celtic's somehow challenge the very spirit of the game.

    You wonder when such moaners will learn, as Arsenal surely prove on a weekly basis, that possession alone does not bring the points. There's a lot more to winning than passing your opponents to distraction. And on Wednesday night Barca — in large part due

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  • Uninspiring City missing Silva service

    Roberto Mancini had a point when he turned on the questioner in his recent press conference who suggested that Manchester City were in crisis. Unbeaten in the Premier League, sitting second in the table, with a potent, unblemished home record stretching back longer than most memories can contain: it was an odd definition of crisis, for sure.

    And yet, watching City labour on Saturday at West Ham and then commit howlingly awful defensive blunders last night, there does appear to be something adrift at the Etihad. Something not clicking. Something not right.

    In many ways, the conditions were

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  • Don’t blame Rodgers for Liverpool plight

    It is one of the first rules of football management that on first taking up a post a new boss must make clear that anything that goes wrong under his watch is the fault of the previous regime. It is a tactic that has allowed Mark Hughes to maintain an elevated reputation in the game despite delivering very little.

    No doubt when he stages his first press conference as Ipswich manager, Mick McCarthy will make it known very early that it is not his team he is picking. Not me guv will be the default excuse. Everything that goes wrong is down to the lot before.

    But in Brendan Rodgers's case, you

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  • Technology would have prevented Clattenburg row

    A couple of years ago I was invited by the Premier League referees to officiate at one of their internal games. It was a public relations exercise, designed to show members of the press how hard the ref's job was.

    What I remember most about the day, however, was not so much the abuse, which reached levels of inventiveness barely matched by the scriptwriters of The Thick of It. It was the contents of the car park.

    I had driven to the meet in a decidedly nondescript Renault. All the refs, however, had turned up in top of the range BMWs and Audis. The head ref was in a new Range Rover Vogue,

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  • 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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