John Terry has been told today he will not be allowed to captain England again until after his trial. In reality this means he is unlikely to ever captain the side again. Is this the right decision? My answer would be yes, no, yes and no.
Yes, he should not be allowed to captain the team again. No, it’s not the right decision, he should be suspended from all football until the case is heard. Yes again, he shouldn’t be England captain at all anyway, regardless of the trial. So no, in reality although it’s a good thing he’s not being allowed to captain the side “until after Euro 2012” he shouldn’t be allowed to captain the team, he shouldn’t be allowed to captain Chelsea, he shouldn’t be allowed to play for Chelsea.
John Terry is innocent until proven guilty. I have no problem with this whatsoever. John Terry is a footballer, while at work (playing football) he allegedly committed an offence serious enough to warrant police investigation and which subsequently brought charges from the Crown Prosecution Service. In these circumstances he shouldn’t be allowed to show up for work, he should be suspended with full pay until the trial.
This in no way prejudices the trial, what it does do is stop horribly awkward situations. Given the delightfully random and yet hugely predictable nature of the F.A cup draw, Chelsea (accused) played QPR (accuser) and we have a situation where Terry and Anton Ferdinand are supposed to shake hands before the game. The F.A take the feeble step of abandoning the handshake, if we didn’t think that it was a pointless empty gesture before, we really should do now, as it was given up at the first sign of trouble.
This is not the same as the Bridge and Terry handshake scenario which was farcical but purely based on personal problems between the two men, nothing more sinister or legally binding. Rumours are already circulating that John Terry may well be considering international retirement in light of the action by the F.A to strip him of the captaincy. This could be construed as a threat “Don’t treat me this way… I’m special… you need me… you’d never cope without me” well frankly much like many a psycho ex-girlfriend it’s time for us to go our separate ways.
Look at great footballers from the past and you’ll often find that among the most talented comes the most trouble. Diego Maradona was a genius on the pitch but he also took lots of drugs and was totally uncontrollable off it. Johan Cruyff was beautiful to watch with a ball at his feet but was an egomaniac and a control freak and demanded almost total authority over the teams that he was playing in. Sometimes it makes sense to accept these issues because the players bring so much with all their troubles, not so in the case of Terry. We don’t need his shit. In the 2010 World Cup he looked past it. His lack of pace was frequently exposed and against Germany his performance was embarrassingly terrible.
Really the question should be why it’s taken so long to get rid of him, we tried before but Terry, like a persistent bunny-boiler kept coming back, he looked vaguely convincing for Chelsea, made a couple of classic “heroic” blocks and you could almost see the three lions roaring behind him, there was a fervor to get him back into the England side and re-appoint him as captain.
The F.A has no spine, Fabio Capello got it wrong, Terry came back. The changes Capello has made have often been through necessity due to injury rather than making a genuine attempt to bring through new talent. But now is the time, get rid of Terry, let Rio go, say good bye to Frank Lampard and watch with a blessed sense of relief as Emile Heskey draws his final breath.
England has a choice, Lescott and Jagielka, Jones and Smalling, Dawson and Terry’s new Chelsea team-mate Cahill. Micah Richards should be considered at centre-back. If he were fit, based on his form at the start of the season there weren’t many better centre backs than Newcastle’s Steven Taylor. This is not an area in which England are lacking, we never again need to see a return to the likes of Upson or Carragher and soon, thankfully, I hope we’ll see John Terry’s name on the list of players England are done with, because simply put: he’s not worth the hassle.