Honestly, the high horses on which some people seat themselves. Take this quote from the Mirror’s Sue Carroll, “How ironic that the hopes of resurrecting the passion and glory of ’66 have come crashing down before the first ball is even kicked in South Africa, thanks to one man.”
Ludicrous, utterly ludicrous. There is no doubt that Terry has done wrong, but the continuing uproar is wide of the mark. Terry has, quite correctly, been punished. Being sacked from the England captaincy will be a bitter blow to a man who clearly took great pride in the job. The decision was the right one; the player’s leader in the dressing room can’t be a man that his team-mates don’t trust.
Moreover, the England captain’s job is almost as much a PR role as it is a football one. Numerous leaders, club captains, will assert their influence on the pitch, but the England captain is also essentially an ambassador for the footballing nation. Retaining Terry would hardly have sent the right message about the integrity of the England camp. The punishment was sufficiently stern without taking any rash steps; Terry remains an essential cog in the England set-up, especially with Rio Ferdinand’s worrying form and fitness.
Two further reasons exist why the punishment need not be repeated at Chelsea. Firstly, Wayne Bridge is no longer a Chelsea player, so there is no need to appease the wounded party. Secondly, and rather more pressingly, Chelsea’s only focus is the success of their own side. John Terry is still the most effective leader of a side seemingly marching toward the title, so Carlo Ancelotti would have to be bananas to dethrone his captain. If football clubs took the time to punish players for every personal indiscretion, club bosses would never be able to leave the office for the paperwork.
So please God can we let the hyperbole and moral superiority die? I frankly don’t care what sort of a character he is, if he can stop Torres et al in South Africa, I’ll be cheering him on just like everyone else. Besides, Chelsea fans aside, the nation’s supporters have a rather humorous stick with which to beat him. Surely punishment enough.