Just pretend for a moment that you’re on the board of the Football Association. And that you’re not dipping your nib in the PA’s inkwell. And that you have the future of the national game at heart.
Here's Frank Lampard doing the FA's dirty work for them
To look forward to, you have the latest appearance of the national team in a major international football tournament.
In your wisdom, the man you pay £6 million a year to manage your football team – and who can't even manage a comprehensible sentence in English – retained his post in the wake of the most disappointing World Cup finals campaign England has ever mounted.
That campaign was dogged by many difficulties: Ferdinand’s injury leading to another change of skipper; the fact that England players were ‘tired’ (unlike those Barca and Madrid lads who played a hell of a lot of European games themselves); the players were also shite; and John Terry gave a press conference that involved him standing the manager at one end of a long rug and tugging it bloody hard from the other.
It’s still uncertain as to whether he did this with the approval of his teammates or behind their backs. Wayne Bridge thinks the latter.
'No, FA I-a give-a you da finger!'
Terry’s reward for this blatant brinkmanship? Capello gives him back the armband. Bewildering. But then he is a ‘natural leader’. He’s good at speaking for others. He’s actually good at the press-conf platitudes, and he does it without the nervous wittering of a Gerrard or a Rooney.
So England run a reasonably trouble-free qualification campaign for Euro 2012, although in the last couple of games our best player is Rob Earnshaw. Terry’s credentials as skipper are less in doubt than his actual quality on the pitch. To the non-partisan fan (that’s me) he looks one-paced and indecisive, like a tortoise with the trots. Then again if you played alongside David Luiz every week you might need to call a readily available pack of Immodium. Luiz is to Terry what Sideshow Bob is to Bart Simpson.
And then he appears to call Anton Ferdinand ‘a black cunt’. And times are such that the ‘cunt’ bit is less troublesome than the ‘black’ with its indication – and Luis Suarez will tell you this is all just normal everyday stuff – that the being black bit is contributory to the cuntdom.
So here you are FA board member. Over here! Take your eyes off that cleavage and put down that gin! Here’s the summer we have in store if nothing changes:
Scenario 1: England go to the Euros with Terry as captain. England get knocked out early. Terry gets seen bawling at, say, Theo Walcott for his lack of composure. Racist? Or really simply what WE’RE ALL DOING!
Scenario 2: England go to the Euros and Terry is captain. England do well. Polish and Ukrainian fans boo black players in England shirts throughout. John Terry condemns the Eastern European fuckwits with swastikas tattooed to their scar-tissued foreheads. Three weeks later he’s found guilty of racism.
Scenario 3: England sack Terry – or rather suspend him while investigations are ongoing. England go to Euros without him and are shit. They come back. Terry is found innocent.
Scenario 4: England win the Euros. Terry holds the trophy aloft. Three weeks later he’s found guilty of racism. The first time anyone below 50 years of age has been able to celebrate national football success and the bloke holding up the pot is a certified shithead.
As far as I’m concerned – and yes it’s about as likely as Ian Bell being able to define the word ‘doosra’ – scenario 4 is worth ruling out altogether, and the only way to do that is simply to sack Terry.
Do the FA look stupid if Terry is found innocent? No. Regardless of what Capello says. And frankly Fabio can just strut his barrel-chested bantam way out of English football if he thinks he’s earned the right to make his own decisions on such matters.
Capello sacked Terry for off-the-field activities that maybe broke moral codes, but no actual laws. This is a criminal act. And it’s happened on the field.
Were John Terry in any other walk of life he’d already be suspended on full pay while the case was investigated. Furthermore no one would be pushing the case back cos of ickle John’s pressing workload. I’m guessing that Terry and his legal team thought that the postponement of the case was the best option for Terry. It’s just a shame it’s the worst option for everyone else.
While Terry blathers on about pride and commitment to the cause, it’s clear that his and Ron Gourlay’s actions mean that the most important person involved here is John Terry.
Not long ago, Capello said that the issue of who is captain is not really that important. Now he’s getting ratty about not being able to keep a suspected racist in the role.
Me, I’d go further. I’d tell Terry he can’t play for England til the case is resolved one way or another. If he’s done nowt wrong, he can come back. If he’s guilty, I’d stop him playing for Chelsea for more than a few months too.
Here's proof of John's innocence. A black friend and a nice T-shirt.
The lament footballers’ll give you these days is that they’re not politicians. They just want to go out and give 110%. Well, wake up. You are in a game watched by billions. Your fellow professionals are pushing a noble cause of ‘Kicking Racism Out’. (And the boos for Rio Ferdinand at Stamford Bridge suggest there’s a lot of work to do.) And the fact is the standing of English football is more important than John Terry’s career.
Anything else is ‘back to front’ which I’m sure Terry’ll say are the very words he used towards Anton.
In the meantime give Joe Hart the job. He’ll play every game. I don’t think he’s been caught throwing eggs at immigrants or molesting poultry, and it doesn’t matter who’s skipper – you need 11 leaders on the park, don’t you?