Jim White

  • Why the Premier League saved Richard Scudamore

    People seem surprised that Richard Scudamore is still in his job as chief executive of the Premier League this morning. There has been a huge swirl of harrumphing about his sexist emails. Social media has been outraged. Newspaper columnists have thundered. Phone-ins have run hot. The Prime Minister has weighed in. And yet he has stayed in place. Which many of us regard as odd.

    Normally the sort of storm of indignation he sparked is enough to see off someone in public life who has made a verbal howler. Glenn Hoddle was finished as England manager the moment Tony Blair went on Richard and

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  • Why Roy Hodgson will disappoint you in England’s first game

    If you want a measure of how little room Roy Hodgson has to manoeuvre it came in the reaction to his choice of World Cup squad. Basically, there wasn’t any.

    In the past, the announcement of the 23 has precipitated endless head-scratching, chin-stroking debate about who should be in and who shouldn’t. Though it might be stretching linguistics a little far to describe Paul Gascoigne’s room-smashing reaction to the decision not to include him in 1998 as debate.

    This time, after a season in which only 25 per cent of Premier League starting line-ups qualified for England, Hodgson’s choice was

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  • The best (and worst) XI of a topsy-turvy season

    On Merseyside, they are dreaming of Sam Allardyce.

    It does not make for a comfortable night’s sleep. But the only way Liverpool can now win the Premier League title is in the unlikely event of Big Sam’s West Ham doing them an enormous favour and winning at the Etihad.

    Which, we can all comfortably predict, isn’t going to happen.

    The title is City’s. Which means, when Vincent Kompany lifts the trophy, they deserve it, they are the best team in the land.

    Never mind that they have been at the top of the table for 100 fewer days than Arsenal were, they are there when it counts, at the end. They

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  • Blue half of Manchester need not fear ‘City-itis’ this time

    Manchester City fans have long laboured against a condition which has debilitated their health for years, making them wary of possibility, certain that fate is going to punch them hard in the guts.

    Joe Royle, the former manager, was the first to diagnose the ailment. 'City-itis' he called it, its symptoms manifested in the absolute certainty that when presented with a decent chance of success the club would contrive to mess it up.

    The most extreme example of its awfulness was on the final day of the 1995/96 season, when City, still with the chance of escape from relegation in their own hands,

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  • Yaya Toure, not Suarez, is Footballer of the Year

    There is only one obstacle in the way of Luis Suarez doing the double in the footballer of the year awards. Only one thing that might stop him adding the Football Writers’ gong to the Professional Footballer’s Association trophy he picked up last Sunday. And it is a sizeable one: Yaya Toure.

    For me, however brilliant Suarez has been, however much he has driven Liverpool by sheer force of will (plus a few spectacular goals) into contention, however many goals the Uruguayan has scored, Toure is the player of the season. If Manchester City finally wake up and accept the gift which has been

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  • Why on earth would Ancelotti leave Real Madrid for Man Utd?

    Do you think Manchester United’s executive vice-chairman ever really believe it was possible? Did Ed Woodward really imagine that Carlo Ancelotti was in the frame to become manager at Old Trafford? Or was it more like his pursuit of Cesc Fabregas and Gareth Bale last summer, just a question of saying the most illustrious names out loud in the hope that people might believe they would ever come to Manchester?

    One thing is for sure: in the unlikely event he ever was thinking of decamping to England, Tuesday night will have finally put the idea out of Ancelotti’s head. It was the ultimate

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  • Sit back, relax and just enjoy Mourinho’s comedy roadshow

    There has been a gathering anti-Mourinho swell as the season comes to its conclusion. People seem to be getting fed up with him. The charmless threat to undermine the integrity of the Premier League by fielding a weakened team at Anfield on Sunday but the latest example of the manner in which he is said to have soured the wider discourse with his endless grumpiness.

    The whinging about referees, the complaints that everyone in authority is out to get him, the manner in which the excuse is always primed early: there have already been a good number of opinion pieces suggesting that because of

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  • Class of 92 finally get to show their class from the dugout

    Paul Scholes, Phil Neville, Nicky Butt and Ryan Giggs

    The Class of 92 have finally graduated. On Saturday the boys are taking over. Manchester United fans will discover whether they can win something now the kids are in charge.

    In a technical area from which David Moyes spent eight months semaphoring distress signals, we will see a man who understands what United is all about. A man, moreover, who will be surrounded by those who get the place.

    Over the last few months, as Moyes stuttered and crumbled, we can imagine the discussion that went on round at Ryan Giggs’s place (it has to be at his place they meet; none of the other guys’ wives would

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  • Remarkable Pulis can wreck Liverpool and City’s title dreams

    When he took over at Crystal Palace back in November, nobody expected Tony Pulis to be in a position five months later to influence the destination of the Premier League title. Back then, with Ian Holloway floundering at the helm, Palace looked doomed to relegation, their ejection from the top flight apparently the most certain thing in sport this side of Ronnie O’Sullivan announcing his retirement at some point during the World Snooker tournament in Sheffield. By now, we all expected the tames of surrenders to have been concluded.

    Pulis has done a remarkable job in steering his club to

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  • It isn’t over yet.

    As Steven Gerrard pointed out in the immediate aftermath of emotional victory over Manchester City on Sunday, nothing has been won.

    To borrow Brian Moore’s words of 25 years ago, the title is up for grabs now. And we all know what happened when Moore uttered that line.

    For sure, after their fantastic win over City on Sunday, Liverpool are clearly now the favourites. But only narrowly.

    True, their destiny is in their own hands and their form is superb. Win all their remaining games and the title is theirs, the first in more than two decades. And winning is a habit they have

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