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John Terry and the England captaincy : Paragons of virtue?

In all the fuss over John Terry’s misdeeds this weekend, one common theme has emerged. While Manchester City players and fans are no doubt getting behind Wayne Bridge with consummate ease (much like some of the right winger’s he’s faced while at Man City), Chelsea players have been stating their support for their skipper John Terry. Despite this, there seems to be one unanimous call to arms and that being that John Terry should be stripped of the England captaincy.

The general feeling is that the England captain needs to be a whiter than white, pure as driven snow, virtually godlike being, with no blemishes on their character. Oh really? What kind of world do people who assume this live in? It doesn’t bear any scrutiny when you look at former England captains. Here’s a quick breakdown of three fairlty recent “perfect” characters who have captained the Three Lions.

1. Tony Adams : Oh yes, remember him? Big Tony has thankfully got himself together now, but let us not forget that for a good proportion of the time that he was England skipper he was out of his face at every available opportunity, pissing himself because he was too drunk to wake up and crashing his Ford Sierra (now that dates him) into a brick wall while four times over the legal limit, earning himself a four month prison sentence into the bargain.  All that while being an integral part and occasional skipper of the England team.

2. Peter Shilton : Lest we think John Terry is the first England skipper to be up to no good behind his wife’s back, the erstwhile former most capped England star was caught by the husband of a lady called “Tina” partially clothed and parked down a country lane. In his haste to escape, the keeper drove into a lamppost. In court he admitted “taking a lady for a meal” (there’s a euphemism if ever you need one) and was banned from driving for 15 months as he had been over the legal limit when crashing the car during his escape bid.

3. Alan Shearer : Oh yes, the squeaky clean Geordie legend had his moment in the spotlight too when out on a players break in Dublin in 1997, the Newcastle man tired of having bottle tops flicked at him by Keith Gillespie and warned him not to continue. The cheeky Irishman did and so they went outside to resolve the situation in the most adult way possible. Which led to Gillespie being sprawled out, unconscious and bloodied in the gutter.

So John Terry is by no means a trendsetter here. I mean, if you really want to drag morality into the debate, you could argue Bobby Moore was accused of stealing a bracelet from a jewellers in Colombia prior to the 1970 World Cup Finals. A charge that was never proved due to a lack of evidence. So being England captain and “bad boy” behaviour is no new thing. I mean look at Lineker nowadays, dumped his missus and now shacked up with some young fresh meat and starring with a myriad of naked models in order to flog a few bags of crisps…

Terry’s behaviour as a person should be judged on him as a person and he should be condemned for it depending on your view of what he has done. It shouldn’t be the reason for him to lose the England captaincy. That reason needs to be a football decision, not a character one. The decision should rest between Fabio Capello, John Terry and Wayne Bridge and nobody else. Why? Because if Terry’s continued captaincy impinges on the team morale and effectiveness in any way then he has to go. Not because the morally minded press have decided his behaviour is “not becoming” of an England captain. Thankfully, Capello seems to be taking that line in his decision making and, in time, a little bit of Italian common sense may prevail.

But not until the media have had their pound of flesh from Terry in the meantime.

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Article title: John Terry and the England captaincy : Paragons of virtue?

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