So John Terry has been stripped of the England captaincy which, in this knee-jerk world of unfettered outrage from the press and social media alike, is totally unsurprising. In fact, the only shock is that it took this long to happen.
As I wrote in a previous post, I have some sympathy with the Football Association as the trial date of July 9th has put them in an impossible position and given the delicate nature of the racism issue this was always the most likely outcome irrespective of Terry’s actual guilt. However, quite how Fabio Capello will react to the news that a certain aspect of his role has now been assumed by his superiors in Soho Square remains to be seen.
It has been well disseminated throughout the press that, even after the trial date had been set, the Italian had not changed his mind about the Chelsea man being the most suitable man to lead his team in Poland and Ukraine. Some might say that was a view taken with professional pragmatism rather than social sensitivity in mind, others that it it was simply naïve. Either way, Capello will feel undermined that such a decision has been taken out of his hands. An FA statement on the subject confirmed that ‘Fabio Capello has not been involved in The FA Board discussions which reached this conclusion, but understands that The FA Board has the authority to make this decision.’
Almost as if to pour salt into his wounds, the very next line of the statement comically reads: ‘Fabio Capello will take the decision as to who will be made captain moving forward’. What is not immediately visible, as it is (probably) written in lemon juice, is that those words are followed by ‘subject to review from the The FA Board’.
Anyway, the decision has been made and the question of who should now wear the armband is dominating Twitter.
Mischievously, some people are suggesting that Rio Ferdinand should be next in line but, even removing the political maelstrom that this move would create considering his brother’s involvement in the racism case, his form and fitness surely preclude him from reprising the role he held prior to Terry’s reinstatement last year.
Wayne Rooney’s suspension for the first two games of Euro 2012 prevent him from being considered for the role while calls for Steven Gerrard to step up are weighed down by the fact that his body is not as strong as it used to be with the 31-year-old only having featured in nine of Liverpool’s 23 Premier League matches this season.
Frank Lampard is not guaranteed a place in the starting eleven either for club or country so is unlikely to be in the running and Ashley Cole is hardly the kind of character to win the hearts and minds of the public seeing as that is what the England captain’s primary role appears to be these days, if certain sections of the press are to be believed.
Gareth Barry? Do me a favour.
But the person who is being mentioned more than any other is Scott Parker, which is nothing short of baffling. Now don’t me wrong, he has proved to be a very effective player over the last 18 months and is enjoying an excellent campaign at Tottenham but is he really the man to lead England into a major tournament?
A former colleague of mine at Setanta – and someone whose opinion I have always had have huge respect for – backed the former Blue’s appointment by tweeting: ‘Scott Parker deserves a go. Established member of the team and, most importantly, clean as a whistle.’
Now there are two things wrong with this assertion, in my mind. Firstly, having a grand total of 10 England caps to your name hardly makes you an ‘established member of the team’. To put it into perspective, that is less than a third of the amount accumulated by that renowned international stalwart Stewart Downing.
Secondly, ‘clean as a whistle’? Since when have footballers become our moral guardians? Surely that should be the preserve of religious leaders or even Members of Parliament? However, with revelations of widespread child abuse having rocked the Catholic church in recent years – not to mention the growing irrelevance of religion in modern society – and the expenses scandal having showed our MP’s to be dodgier than Harry Redknapp’s accountant, perhaps footballers are as good a role model as any.
In which case, if we want to be squeaky clean, maybe it’s time to just be done with it and persuade Gary Lineker to come out of retirement. It’s either that or Theo Walcott.