It seems that anything going wrong in the world lately can be attributed in some way, shape or form to John Terry. Economic turmoil – John Terry’s fault, poverty in the Third World – blame JT, the real villain behind JR’s shooting? Did they interview JT yet?
Seriously though, as if we weren’t sick enough of the fuss over his joining in our Champions League celebrations – at which time you’d have thought getting changed into a full kit (alongside all his team-mates who did the same) had become an act of treason – some utter twat goes and injures Gary Cahill, and JT somehow ends up being the villain of the piece yet again!
The country is bloody obsessed.
Of course, we should expect it really, both JT and Ashley Cole have already been royally booed during the friendlies. And that is by no means a new phenomenon. JT, Lampard, Cole, they’ve all faced that for years irrespective of the shirt they may have on their back at the time – and supporters from opposing clubs quite happily admit that hatred. But what about the covert booing from the bully boys who send armies into battle on their behalf? And I’m not talking the military here, I’m talking firms. Ok, it’s not organised – as such – but its pretty strategic nonetheless.
Again, not a new thing, the ‘generals’ plan Operation Sabotage before every major tournament England have any involvement in. Or maybe I’m just flattering them with that title and gangleaders would be more appropriate than generals? Covert or not, it is just bullying after all. They might not hide under hoodies wielding baseball bats but in today’s technological world, the camouflage of a laptop usually suffices anyway. Internet warriors, with permission to gang up by virtue of chosen career. Think I’m exaggerating? Well, given bullying is about intimidation, spreading malicious gossip/rumours/lies, using their position to an advantage in order to undermine or show others in a bad light, then I’d have to say the current media climate fits that criteria nicely.
In this instance though, it seems combat gear has been traded in for wigs and robes, as yet again, John Terry is tried, and convicted by a very public judge and jury. Why this time? Well because Rio Ferdinand wasn’t recalled to the England squad. I’m sure Liverpool supporters are usually ripped a new one for adopting the ‘victim’ role and yet, Kelly’s inclusion (not one I agree with by the way) has been received by a collective cry of ‘woe is us’ from the red side of Manchester. Now clearly, their defender’s omission from the start displeased them (along with Carrick’s), not because they want him in the squad, of course, they never want their player’s to have anything to do with England anyway, but on principle. A far as they were concerned, the only reason Rio could have been dropped was because John Terry stands accused of racially abusing Anton Ferdinand.
What we were told, of course, was that the decision was for ‘footballing reasons’ and whilst plenty (including Rio himself quite publicly) might question such a generalised rationale, when even his own manager scoffed at the idea that the defender could manage a game every 4 days, then as far as I’m concerned, that’s a footballing reason enough. Not so for the anti-JT brigade though, as far as they’re concerned, it could only have been a straight choice between the two. Well, it kind of was, and the decision from the start was that John Terry – whose manager didn’t question his inclusion – was deemed to be the best fit. Given Cahill and Cole would also be expected to play alongside him in the first-choice back four, then for me, that is again a decision based on ‘footballing reasons’ alone.
What I also know is that right from the off, John Terry was quite clear that whatever might be going on in the background, he would always be prepared to play alongside Rio Ferdinand in the England defence. I’m not sure whether Rio always said the same and that’s a question only he can answer, although clearly, given the blunt and somewhat disrespectful statement from his ‘representative’ following Kelly’s call up, it’s apparent Rio cares little for Roy Hodgson’s management of the squad so far anyway. Jamie Moralee says “Lampard, Terry, Barry, Gerrard; all ageing but they go to the tournament. Why is Rio different? To treat a player that has captained and served his country 81 times (in this manner) is nothing short of disgraceful. Total lack of respect from Hodgson and the FA as far as I am concerned” and whilst the sentiment is understandable, questioning the inclusion of former team-mates on the basis of age, for me, is what really smacks of disgraceful and lacking respect.
Now don’t get me wrong here, I’m not saying I agree with Kelly’s inclusion ahead of an experienced defender like Ferdinand. Through injury, we’ve already lost enough experience in the England squad, but none of us are party to what has been said (or even felt in the atmosphere) behind closed doors – but that, alongside the footballing opinion of Sir Alex Ferguson himself is likely to have been what’s tipped the balance away from Ferdinand, not John Terry. Whatever might be said about his influence at Chelsea, he certainly doesn’t call the shots within the England boardroom and since he doesn’t select himself, or indeed have any say in who comes and goes, the blame cannot be laid at his door.
Neither am I condoning the events surrounding JT and that game. That appears to have given the public permission for the current witch-hunt though. I’m not going into my opinion either way because that’s for another post and another time – and that’s the whole point – it’s a separate issue and should be treated as such. JT was a complete pillock, no question. Should he have been suspended or sacked pending the outcome though? No. He’s not a risk to the public, it’s not something that will happen again in the interim, therefore there would be no grounds to suspend him – even football players have rights. He’ll have his trial but it will happen in the right place, behind closed doors, in a court of law. It won’t and never should have been a trial by press, particularly when society’s conscience is so devoid of its own morals in the first place.
Now let’s just get on with the Euros shall we?