The Inevitable English Controversy

February 11, 2010

John Terry

Just over two weeks ago reports started to break in the British media surrounding an affair that involved John Terry, captain of the English soccer team, and one of his teammates ex-girlfriends. With less than five months to go before the World Cup kicks-off, the last thing that England fans wanted to see was more controversy within their beloved squad. Unfortunately for the fans, John Terry, 29, and Captain of Chelsea Football Club in London, betrayed his former Chelsea teammate and close-friend, Wayne Bridge, by having an extra-marital affair with Bridge’s ex-girlfriend and mother to his his son, Vanessa Perroncel.

England Manager Fabio Capello and John Terry

This past week, England manager Fabio Capello took unprecedented actions to quell the discontent within his prized English squad by stripping Terry of the captaincy. Capello, who is renowned for his strict moral beliefs and no nonsense attitude as manager, felt that Terry was not in a position to command the same respect and leadership after the recent revelations of his personal life. Capello is known to be completely indifferent to what players do with their personal lives as long as they adhere to the rules of the law, however, Terry’s infidelity and complete betrayal of a fellow teammate forced the manager to act immediately.

The main question that England fans across the globe are asking themselves is: How will this change of captaincy so close to the World Cup affect the team’s chances of hoisting the Jules Rimet trophy for the first time since 1966? Online forum and message boards in the United Kingdom have already outlined the decision by Capello as the sole reason that England will not win the World Cup. Such cynicism is not shared by England fans here in New York who still feel optimistic about their squad.

When asked if England’s chances will be affected by the change in captaincy, Phillip, an England fan from Newcastle living in New York City, said, “No I do not think so. As usual in adversity, unity will overcome it. We also have to think about what the World Cup actually means to these players. This is the pinnacle of a players career to win and even play in a World cup and it will not come between the players no matter how sore the argument is. Anyways, Ashley Cole is the first choice left back and therefore to our knowledge the 1st team will have no beef.”

Arthur, a student in New York City, had a similar response. “I don’t think so. Same team, same talent. Legend of a manager. They’ll push on. It’s not as if the World Cup is starting tomorrow. Capello will ensure that this incident stays in the rear-view mirror. He’s already stopped answering questions about the issue.”

Both fans feel that the captain is less important than what many British fans and media make of it, and that the rule of manager Fabio Capello is the most crucial component to England’s chances in the tournament. The captaincy has been given to central defender and former vice-captian Rio Ferdinand, with Steven Gerrard taking up the vice-captaincy.

England fans will have to wait until March 3rd to determine whether this latest scandal will affect their squad as England is poised to face African Cup winners Egypt in a friendly on that date. The actions undertaken by John Terry were undoubtedly wrong and hurtful especially towards another teammate and time will tell whether the resolve of the England squad can maintain amicable working relations to ensure the highest level of performance in South Africa come June.


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