It began on 23 October when John Terry was alleged to have racially abused Anton Ferdinand during the Premier League match between Queens Park Rangers and Chelsea. It’s now 10 February and the end to this disappointing affair is just a dint on the horizon with the court case not due till July. Who would have thought that this dispute would transform, gaining momentum and continue to be a major talking part this far into the season causing England manager Fabio Capello to resign from his England post?

It should have been cleared up earlier. In fact, the court case should have been held now were it not for a few scheduling issues. Instead we have a problem that hasn’t been resolved and continues to eat up column space both in print and online media.

…tossed around to no great avail,

The England captaincy means a lot to John Terry, which is understandable given how England supporters cherish the symbol of the national team’s armband. It’s seen as the pinnacle in the English game and after he was stripped of it when allegations of an affair with a team-mate’s girlfriend came to light two seasons ago, it affected him greatly. The England captaincy was tossed around to no great avail, coming across as a game of musical chairs as one person would come in and wear it and then vacate the position, all the while John Terry was still in the squad irked at not being given the chance to captain his country again.

Effectively the same thing will happen now under much more controversial circumstances. Despite rumours that Terry would quit it appears he’s decided (if he ever made a choice in the first place) to get on with it but with rumours of apparent ructions in the squad concerning his actions and his reluctance to step down voluntarily, he’s caused more problems than needed. Regardless of the “innocent till proven guilty” mantra that rang around the web by the FA’s decision when you’re accused of racism, relieving the pressure on yourself and those around you by abdicating the captaincy would have alleviated the situation somewhat.

…snowballed into an embarrassment…

Capello perhaps was wrong to stand by his captain, conceding that the FA had the authority but dismayed that he was not made a part of the decision. It’s a sorry state of affairs that has snowballed into an embarrassment with the English media now berating Capello, revising history and arguing that he should have left after the failed World Cup campaign in 2010.

With no real candidates offering themselves for captaincy in the squad (Wayne Rooney is suspended for two group games and Rio Ferdinand has sensibly distanced himself from the matter); we’re stuck here with no manager, no real sense of conviction and the media arguing for managers who, despite their relative successes, haven’t won anywhere near the amount or been as excellent as someone like Capello has.

…turned into an annoying circus…

It’s overshadowing the two years of work England have put in to get ready for this tournament and it’s most definitely going to affect morale if the problem is not remedied soon. Suddenly it’s become a whole lot bigger than John Terry being demoted; it’s turned into an annoying circus that always seems to dog the England team at every opportunity. For all the pride Terry has in leading England it really shouldn’t have come to this and while he doesn’t deserve all the blame, some should be apportioned for his role in not heeding to common sense. 

Image courtesy of Popularis


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3 Responses

  1. Tim

    To simply say Capello ‘may have been wrong’ doesn’t really cover the matter, whilst many will support Terry for not standing down. What will people say if he’s found innocent? Meanwhile, the issue isn’t with how good Capello was as a manager, but as England manager, something Harry Redknapp arguably could be better suited to (although this is indeed merely an argument, perhaps not even one I support). Finally, there are actually clear candidates for the England captaincy, the main one being Stevie G. But this was a good read, though, just though I’d air my views.


    Kobina Monney Reply:

    Good question about the Terry dilemna and I’m sure that if he is found not guilty then the Terry camp will be vindicated.

    However, considering the amount of discord in the England camp (not confirmed as far as I know but there would appear to be rumblings in squad), wouldn’t it have been better if Terry could have stepped down (of his own volition) until the matter was over? I think Capello obviously wanted to stand by him and not have his authority undermined but surely he should have seen the potential drawback of allowing Terry to continue?

    On your Stevie G point my argument (which I didn’t make clear in the article) was for a long-term successor. Gerrard is a good fit but I think England should be looking to the future. Gerrard feels like a stop-gap to me. Thanks fot the comment.


  2. Tim

    No problem! Always happy to read and comment! Thanks for your response. I can see the argument that Terry should have stood down, but you have to wonder if he is motivated by a firm belief that he is innocent. Obviously there will be divisions in a camp, but leaders learn to cope with this; e.g there may have been divisions about Terry already after his affair, meanwhile the FA decided to keep him as captain initially in October, so they are as much to blame as Terry. Teams like Italy always have controversy but somehow just keep going fine. With Capello, you’re right, but I guess the issue is that the FA should have discussed it with him and his authority was undermined. With the captain, yes fair point, Gerrard is not a long-term solution.



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