Sean Lennon, Wadham Football Captain

‘Terry has, quite correctly, been punished’

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Fabio Capello had no choice but to sack John Terry. It is important to note here that this is not, as some have suggested, because he is bowing to the pressure of the media circus. Capello has demonstrated a few things during his reign, few less strongly than his personal disregard of the opinion of the press.

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 players’ leader in the dressing room cannot be a man that his team-mates do not trust. From a footballing perspective, this is why Terry had to go. The sacking has sent the right message of attempting to defuse personal drama without having to remove Terry from the squad. The onus is now on the players to both act as professional squad members; neither is receiving preferential treatment, they are both expected to turn up and do their jobs.

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.

‘The strength of the media response is laughable’

The strength of the media response is laughable. The punishment should be accepted as it is, and the footballing nation should move on. 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.

Andy Dolling, Keble Football Social Secretary

‘Capello has given in to media pressure’

I, like many, was not surprised to hear that Fabio Capello decided to strip John Terry of his England captaincy following allegations that he had an affair with Wayne Bridge’s ex-girlfriend. After all, was it not the most suitable way in which to deal with the issue in terms of giving the nation’s press what they wanted? The plight of a national hero is seemingly quite an attractive prospect to the British media, papers having riddled their front and back pages with the story and intensely advertised the affair on television in an attempt to profit from the misfortune of the former figurehead of England football. Capello perhaps did do the right thing if his intentions were limited to preventing public controversy surrounding himself – the media brought the issue to the fore, and its pressure has led Fabio Capello to the sensible conclusion. But is media pressure not a very poor justification for sacking the man who so many believe to epitomize English football and its fighting spirit?

The pundit, Mark Lawrenson, in his case for John Terry being sacked, stated that as England captain one has to be “squeaky clean”. But this is arguably down to the fact that the press in this country is so keen to make a villain of successful people if they slip up. This may be a wild claim, but just look how politicians get treated by the British media – the same apparently goes for a leader in a sporting environment. The captain of any football team should, in an ideal world, be judged for his performance on a football pitch, both as a leader and a player. In terms of these attributes it would be hard to criticize Terry, and without the media’s attack on his personal life, football fans across the country would still be completely behind the man who wears his heart on his sleeve and has been known to shed a tear at his side’s defeat.

The logical conclusion, if one assumes like the media that the England captain should possess positive characteristics other than simply those present on a football pitch, would be to give the position to a well-rounded respectable individual. However, considering the alternatives to John Terry, one’s mouth is not watering at the prospect of impeccably behaved role models, as Rio Ferdinand takes over as captain with Steven Gerrard as his vice. Perhaps not keeping to the “squeaky clean” theme, Fabio Capello has without hesitancy appointed an accused drug cheat and a violent thug who starts fights in nightclubs. These men have had their low points and the nation has stood by them due to their ability as footballers – it is a great shame that Capello has given in to media pressure and not done the same for John Terry.