Monday, 1 February 2010

Terry: Should he stay or should he go?

John Terry dominated the front and back pages this weekend as his private life reared its ugly head and portrayed the England captain in a less-than favourable light.

For those of you who missed the nuclear missile that hit our tabloids, Terry had his super injunction lifted by Mr Justice Tugendhat on Friday, revealing he tried to keep his affair with Vanessa Peroncell, the former partner of England team-mate Wayne Bridge, secret.

Calls from esteemed sporting journalists have requested he either steps down as captain, or, should he not have the bottle, for Fabio Capello to strip him of the armband.

They argue if Terry is not relieved of the armband, it could lead to infighting and a split in the camp that would eat away at team morale and cost the side glory in South Africa (clearly failing to consider the almost inevitable exit on penalties at the quarter final stage, as has become the norm).

Last night, the Sports Minister Gerry Sutcliffe entered the debate. He said: “On the field John Terry is a fantastic player and a good England captain, but to be the captain of England you have a wider responsibility for the country and clearly if these allegations are proven – and at the moment they are only allegations – then it does call into question his role as England captain.”

I, far from offering myself as England’s Messiah, suggest an altogether different proposition for Messrs Capello, Terry and the England squad as the World Cup countdown begins.

It would be very easy to write a piece lambasting the promiscuous Terry, demanding his sacking as national team leader – arguing he has been given too many chances and this latest act of unfaithfulness towards a team-mate is the final straw.

I believe I have an obligation to football to offer a contrasting argument, and if Capello is thinking how to best deal with the situation, and I know you are a regular viewer of grounds4concern Fabio, prick up your ears now.

If this is a matter that can cause a split in the camp, then it immediately becomes a squad issue, and should be dealt with as such.

A team meeting should be arranged, and the issue be dealt with in-house, where the England players are able to have their say on the matter and ultimately come up with a group decision on whether Terry keeps the armband.

I do not know if this will cross Capello’s mind, nor if this sort of scenario would ever happen at international level, but if it does not – it should.

The players are increasingly becoming disconnected from reality, and despite this proposed meeting initially sounding patronising to ‘adults’ who pick up wages in excess of £100,000 a week, a reported £170,000 in Terry’s case, this saga demands the need of a reality check (for some of them at least).

If Terry is “a leader of men”, as his supporters point to, he should welcome the chance to hear from his team mates just how they feel about his latest misdemeanour, and whether they remain united in his leadership.

The other scenarios are much more likely to happen, but I feel will end up doing more harm than good.

Should Capello speak to Terry privately, there is every chance that Terry, with one of the best chances to emulate Bobby Moore and lift the Jules Rimet trophy this summer, will suggest he retains the captaincy.

Speculation of course, but if there are members of the England team who believe they no longer have full trust in the captain, then this will sow the seeds for the beginning of the end of this side, months before a ball has been kicked against the USA in Rustenburg.

By the same token, should Capello take the decision to either keep him as skipper or, more unlikely, publicly strip him if of it, it would be a decision he will not relish, and will feel has been forced upon him at a time when he is gearing up for the equinox in his managerial career (after all, he may be paid £5m a year, but relationship counselling is not on the job description).

Yes, he is employed to deal with the players, and be able to expertly man manage them, but I believe this is a humanitarian issue, rather than a footballing one and such an unprecedented scenario demands an unprecedented response.

All three more likely outcomes to this farce will be detrimental to the future of this Golden Generation, and Capello should hold the squad referendum sooner rather than later, to prevent the rumoured ill-feeling from getting out of control.

This is the World Cup we are talking about after all, not John Terry’s bedroom aerobics.


daniel said...

God's teeth, Grounds - if Moorhouse saw that first par, he'd have kittens.

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