Jim White

  • 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,

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • Scholes the next United boss but one?

    This week, I found myself approaching an assignment with the giddy excitement of a 10-year-old. I was to meet someone who, to my mind, encapsulates all that is admirable about the game of football.

    Paul Scholes has just published his autobiography and to launch it the formerly reticent one was required to undertake a round of interviews that redefined the term extensive. If not quite at Hollywood levels - the actress Uma Thurman was once obliged by the terms of her contract to sit through 1800 one-on-one media interviews in a fortnight in order to promote a film - the ginger genius was still

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  • The ultimate professional?

    Manchester's
    claim to be the centre of the footballing universe might have to wait for
    further  ratification. The excitement of
    a couple of wins in the Premier League went to the head of those of us
    diagnosing a north-westerly shift in the game's dynamics.

    Watching the two
    Manchester clubs stumble through their Champions League matches last night, the
    chuckles emanating from Merseyside and north and west London would have been
    constant. And from Barcelona and Madrid, the response to a rotten Tuesday night
    would have been the smug realisation that there is not so much to worry about
    after all.

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  • Optimism suddenly abounds for Capello

    What a difference a week makes in the rolling soap opera that is the England football team.

    Ten days ago Fabio Capello was complaining that, in the absence of Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard, Jack Wilshere and Ashley Young, he "didn't have any players". A week and a bit on, and there he was last night at Wembley purring about the performance of Phil Jones, Kyle Walker and Jack Rodwell, wearing the kind of grin that was widely assumed only to accompany him during meetings with his accountant.

    It was a good few days in camp England all right. They beat the world champions, registered a first

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  • Who’s really corrupt: FIFA or us?

    Sepp
    Blatter is the gift that keeps on giving. Whenever he opens his gaping,
    foot-sized mouth he makes himself - and the body he represents - look
    ridiculous.

    His racist-abuse-should-be-forgiven-with-a-handshake calumny this
    week fits neatly into a pattern alongside his
    homosexual-fans-will-just-have-to-pretend-to-be-straight-while-watching-the-World-Cup-in-Doha
    slur and his
    if-women's-football-wants-to-attract-more-sponsors-the-players-should-wear-tighter-shirts
    defamation. This is a man so far out of kilter with reason he would be regarded
    as beyond the pale at a Jim Davidson script

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  • Chelsea woes all Anton’s fault

    Genk had not scored a goal in the Champions League before yesterday. Until last night they played the role of group stage patsy with
    unerring efficiency, leaking goals at every turn and failing decisively to
    return the favour; they had looked unlikely ever to figure on
    the mythical list of top 10 famous Belgians.

    And then
    Chelsea came to call. A 1-1 draw was greeted in the stands of Genk's modest
    stadium as if the Champions League trophy itself had been delivered. There would have been some chocolate consumed
    in town last night.

    To put the result into perspective, the same
    bunch were recently

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  • England unwise to emulate Spain

    We might as well assume the position right
    now, brace ourselves and get ready for the fallout that will inevitably come
    from the lesson in possession that will be unleashed at Wembley tomorrow
    afternoon. Nothing excites us English pressmen more than a bit of
    self-flagellation. And the opportunities will be manifold: why can't we pass
    like that? Why can't we play like that? Why, in short, can't we just be a
    little more Spanish?

    And so will crank up another new direction
    for English football. Once we wanted to be Dutch, and people like Gary Lineker
    made television documentaries telling us how if

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  • Why Capello needs Terry

    "We have no players". As a vote of
    confidence in the England squad ahead of Saturday's friendly with Spain, Fabio
    Capello's comments in an interview with an Italian newspaper weren't exactly of
    the ringing variety.

    Though he has a point. Shorn of Steven Gerrard, Ashley
    Young and Jack Wilshere by injury and Wayne Rooney by design, the shallowness
    of the pool from which he can draw has been horribly exposed. While the
    Spaniards arrive with so much world class talent they must have to pay excess
    baggage on the flight over, he is scratching around for on-loan keepers and
    planning to unleash a

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