Terry, Fit To Captain?

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FA Call It Right – Joe Lynskey

So often the recurrent nightmare of the English footballer supporter resurfaces itself. A national media is spoon-fed ‘heroes’ from our national game that give them easy ingredients to cook up a whirlwind of scandal, usually best prepared around 3-4 months before a pivotal international tournament.

In the case of John Terry, a man with a history of wrongdoing and now at the centre of a racist scandal, it is hard to give the player in question a leg to stand on.

If Terry is found guilty at his trial in July, the English team, the FA, and the English nation itself must face up to the international critics that their side was led out to a major tournament by a man who racially abused a black player on the pitch. To make matters worse, the victim was fellow English centre half Anton Ferdinand, and the environment in question was the most shamelessly public of all – on the pitch in front of the Sky cameras.

In a team that, despite its many dwindling stars, still holds a nucleus of players that gets an English football fan excited, there is no need for the FA and Capello to persist with such a player as captain.

Terry’s talent as one of the most solid central defenders in the world is tainted by scandalous and criminal antics off the pitch that a peak at Wikipedia will tell you date back to 2001.

On the pitch, too, he is no angel, and his performances in a misfiring Chelsea side this season have been on the slide. So often he is the one at the heart of the on-pitch brawl and the unnecessary retaliation – as a supporter of any Chelsea opponent would justify.

Whilst Terry’s passion for the game and for his country remains unquestioned, the most traditionalist of England fans are so used to seeing the images of English courage and honesty leading their team out – the comeback of David Beckham to captain following France ’98, Alan Shearer, Bobby Moore. It would take the most ardent of Chelsea and Terry supporters to condone him taking on this role in June for an England team looking to being through the next generation.

Would any of these supporters see Steven Gerrard, Joe Hart, or Harry Redknapp’s golden boy Scott Parker as a detrimental replacement for England’s chances at the Euros? I doubt it.

FA Called It Wrong – Beccy Oldham

‘Innocent until proven guilty’, the basis of our criminal law system and a presumption that appears to have been flouted with the FA’s decision to remove Terry’s armband for the second time in two years. The alleged race row involving QPR’s Anton Ferdinand comes after John Terry had been previously stripped of his captaincy two years ago, after being caught in the midst of an affair with Wayne Bridge’s partner at the time. 

The incident that occurred at Loftus road in October between Ferdinand and Terry should of course be treated seriously and professionally. Racism within sport has no place and it must be echoed with consistency.

John Terry’s plea of not guilty heard in Westminster Magistrates court on Wednesday has spark controversy in the consistency of the FA. If they believe John Terry had been racist towards Anton Ferdinand, would a suitable punishment be to half heartedly remove his captaincy and allow him to continue playing? If the FA were that concerned about the equality in their game and how Terry’s international colleagues would feel playing against him instead of their image across the globe, Terry would have been banned outright.

Fabio Capello has previously stated to the media that he was in support of the viewpoint that everyone should be presumed innocent until proven guilty, and that he did not see the need to remove Terry from the head of the under pressure England squad. Yet after deeming Terry to have ‘punishment enough’ for an affair which had no reflection upon his leadership capabilities, Capello has been severely undermined by his bosses at the FA, posing questions regarding the state of the English camp before the European Championships this summer.  Are the FA more concerned about protecting their own face than playing good football?

The hearing now set for a week after the European Championships, leaves Terry, although accused of being a racist, eligible to play for the squad, but not being deemed fit enough to captain. If the FA were looking for a way to self-handicap their squad for the summer, they’ve found a perfectly solid way of doing so. 

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