Jim White

  • Beckham can be England’s Diego

    Now the quarter finals have been settled, this is looking like a World Cup that could boil into something special.

    Germany against Argentina, Holland against Brazil: these are the games the tournament was made for. And, Paraguay and Uruguay apart, it is the last eight we should have expected.

    France were in disarray long before they headed to South Africa, Italy were past it in qualification and England were never as good as they were made out to be.

    Perhaps the only real surprise is Argentina. Not because they don't have the players - any side with Messi, Tevez and Huguain as a front line

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  • He’s off…

    Unless we have all read the signs wrongly and in fact he was just doing it all along to gain a bit of attention, this weekend Cristiano Ronaldo is going to announce his wish to join Real Madrid. Of course he is: if he had no intention of courting the Spanish champions he would have stated simply and clearly a month ago that he was happy to stay at Manchester United. But he didn't because all along he has wanted to go play for the team his mum, his godfather, his agent and his Uncle Tom Cobley and all have been dreaming of him joining since he conducted his first step-over at the age of six

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  • ‘arry bucks the trend

    When Portsmouth boss Harry Redknapp posted a bid for Chelsea's Wayne Bridge this week it provoked the following headline in the Mirror: 'It's Arry's England B: Redknapp to make £5m Bridge SEVENTH Three Lions capture'

    The fact that Redknapp was keen to add Bridge to a list of recent signings that included England internationals Peter Crouch, Jermaine Defoe, Glen Johnson, David Nugent, Sol Campbell and David James was deemed news of such astonishment it was reckoned that only capital letters could do it justice.

    It says something about the state of the game in England that the news that an

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  • Before you fire, make sure you can hire…

    What is going on at Chelsea? How can a football club that has ambition to be the world's biggest make such a pig's ear of things? Have they not studied the lessons of their own history?

    There is a golden rule for those running a football club: never, ever sack someone until you are certain you have secured the services of someone better to take their place. It appeared to be a tenet those who run Chelsea recognised back in June 2004 when they replaced Claudio Ranieri with Jose Mourinho. Ranieri was many things you would want in the coach of your football club: charming, articulate, skilful,

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  • Bigger than massive

    What's bigger than big? Massive of course.
    A quirk of the fixtures computer and the race for fourth place in the Premier
    League has become a cup final. A massive one. Tonight's encounter between
    Manchester City and Tottenham has a winner-takes-all quality that lifts it way
    above the norm. Not least because it is rare indeed to encounter two clubs so
    desperate for success. Boy do they want it.

    The good news for this pair of serial
    under-achievers is that one of them has to make it to fourth. Mathematics
    insists the prize belongs to one of them. Villa have faded, Liverpool have
    whimpered out of

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  • Only Maradona can stop Messi

    As Manchester United had discovered a week before - albeit to less devastating effect - it sometimes doesn't work out quite how you might wish, scoring an early first goal in a European tie. Last night, almost from the moment Nicklas Bendtner put them ahead on aggregate, Arsenal were treated as a small child might be stirring up a sleeping wasps' nest with a stick: scoring just riled their opponents, reminded them of what they needed to do. And how Barcelona did it. Or rather how Lionel Messi did it.

    All debate was surely quelled after last night's game. Cristiano Ronaldo is magnificent,

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  • Dowie move is madness

    Poor Phil Brown. Sure he was the butt of much humour from rivals and hacks alike what with his team talks on the pitch, his toothache inducing karaoke and his tandoori skin tones. Not to mention his Star Trek communications device, his losing battles with English syntax and his ego the size of Maradona's breakfast. But what exactly did he do to deserve this?

    There he was, admittedly struggling, admittedly spending way more than his club could afford, admittedly getting insufficient return from his hefty investment of someone else's money. He might even have thought he was living on borrowed

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  • Hodgson finds his heaven

    Forget Fergie and Ancelotti. Forget Mancini's scarf and Rafa's excuses. Never mind Mourinho's pitch-bound celebrations or Martin O'Neill's St Vitus touchline dancing. The book on who should be named as international coach of the year closed last night at about 9.45pm.

    That was when, in the boiling delirium of Craven Cottage (and rarely before has that description been applied to the venerable old Thames-side ground) Roy Hodgson remained, as always, the calmest man around.

    As his Fulham side beat Hamburg to book a place against Atletico Madrid in the Europa League final on May 12, Hodgson

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  • Fayed gets it right. Again

    It is not what you expect of the man who owned the biggest emporium of over-priced tat in the world, the man so ensnared by conspiracy theory that he routinely accuses the royal family of murder, a man pilloried by Private Eye as a swivel-eyed potty mouth. But it is hard to argue with the contention that Mohammed al Fayed - the old fugger himself - knows what he is doing when it comes to appointing managers of his football club.

    Sure, the Fulham chairman hasn't always got it right. Giving Lawrie Sanchez the job of keeping the club in the Premier League wasn't perhaps the wisest decision he

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  • The transfer window’s icy draught

    Let us for a moment pause for thought at the predicament of the poor folk at Sky Sports News. There they are all set up for this, their whole working calendar focussed on what should be a highlight of their reporting year.

    They have that bloke with the five mobiles, the one who claims the ear of every chairman in the country, on stand-by in the studio. They have reporters around the country poised to go and stand outside training grounds for hours telling us that not much has yet happened. They have their news anchormen, their shouty dials ready to be turned up to the maximum. And so far:

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