Dalglish and Capello – brothers in denial

There was something all too inevitable about Fabio Capello’s departure from the England job this week. Reportedly angered by the Football Association’s unilateral decision to remove John Terry as national team captain, Capello resigned at just after 3pm Wednesday afternoon. Such is the mood of distrust between the parties that the FA made little attempt to change the Italian’s mind. Capello’s is a fit of pique that costs the Italian around £2 million in lost wages, but more importantly generates questions about the former national team manager’s conduct.

Just as Kenny Dalglish has garnered critical media coverage for his staunch support of Luis Suárez over the past three months, in the face of widespread condemnation of the Uruguayan’s conduct, so too will questions be asked of Capello. After all, there are significant parallels between the two men, each of whom has singularly failed to understand the national mood surrounding racism in the country’s favourite sport.

The Italian’s resignation followed an hour-long meeting with FA Chairman David Bernstein at the body’s Wembley headquarters. It was a meeting in which the former AC Milan manager expressed his frustration at Terry’s removal, against the manager’s wishes, as England team captain.

After all, argues Capello, Terry has not been proven guilty of racially abusing Anton Ferdinand. Not by an independent panel, as was Suárez when he abused Manchester United captain Patrice Evra, and certainly not by the courts. That verdict may come in July after the magistrates court in charge postponed Terry’s originally schedule hearing.

Capello’s is a simple mantra: Terry is innocent until proven guilty. Simplistic, might be a more accurate description. Capello’s is a message that is widely understood, and may have garnered more widespread support among the football community had the Terry affair not threatened to engulf England’s Euro 2012 campaign. The unrelenting controversy and media scrutiny that a tournament involving England brings would only be heightened by Terry’s name on the leadership ticket.

The risk to the FA, of course, was that every managerial decision, every question to the team’s captain, and every result during the tournament would be placed in the context of Terry’s potential guilt. It was a risk too far for a conservative organisation. No spin will airbrush history if Terry is found guilty of racially abusing Rio Ferdinand’s younger brother.

In the context, and for once with right on its side, the governing body reacted quickly, and without apology, to sack Terry. Indeed, the FA’s decision was taken without consultation, undermining Capello’s authority in the process, and prompting the Italian manager to burn his bridges during an interview with Italian TV station RAI on Tuesday.

What more could the FA have done, except critics add, remove Terry from the squad altogether. Inept though the governing body is normally guaranteed to be, the FA had almost no choice but to demote the Chelsea defender. Many argue that the FA should never have allowed this halfway house to exist at all.

The new manager, whether it is the much discussed Harry Redknapp or another man, may well find it impossible to take the Chelsea man to Poland and Ukraine at all. Yet, Capello has received widespread support from fellow managers, including United manager Sir Alex Ferguson. The collective managers’ union can never countenance team decisions being taken by a higher authority, without admitting to an overwhelming sense of impotence.

“There’s nothing wrong with having an opinion,” said Ferguson shortly prior to Capello’s departure.

“It’s a difficult situation for both sides. When you are the manager of a team and have a captain that is an important part of that team then you don’t want to lose him, so I can understand there’s a lot of discussion and controversy about it. There will have to be a coming together of the FA hierarchy and Fabio Capello because he’s the team manager, he has the importance of that position. Without question the most important person at a football club is the manager.”

In that prediction Ferguson was right, and Sir Alex’ support for fellow managers is long-standing. But it is also a poor barometer of the bind that the FA found itself. While the manager may be the “most important” man at any club, Capello’s position was certainly no more valuable than the bigger picture. This is, after all, an association that has promised a tough stance on racism. Terry, as the body’s leader on the pitch, quickly became anathema once the courts had put back its decision until after Euro 2012.

Capello’s is another case in a sordid campaign for managers when it comes to dealing with issues of race.

The Suárez and Terry incidents in the autumn have brought far too myopic a response from those involved. Dalglish’s agenda was different to Capello’s, of course, but each came from a position not of responsibility, but self interest.

The Liverpool manager strongly voiced Suárez’ innocence long after an independent regulatory commission ruled, in microscopic detail, on the affair. Capello has fallen on his sword for a man who may yet been proven guilty of a deeply inhumane act.

Yet, both Dalglish and the now former England manager have misjudged the country’s mood; misunderstood that while short-termism can be a catalyst for deflecting attention, ‘doing the right thing’ is the only permissible route when it comes to question of race. Dalglish’s stance set race relations back a generation at Liverpool. Capello has fallen on his sword because of his poor command of the substantial implications of the Terry case.

It is as if denial of the issue has taken over; an old school misunderstanding of the societal changes that have taken place while Capello and Dalglish were cossetted away in the surreal world of professional football.

The bandwagon will move on of course, but the England job, dubbed a “poison chalice” by Ferguson, will remain an impossibly difficult challenge. It is one that Ferguson must be grateful the FA will not try, for a third time, to foist upon him.

Dear Liverpudlian friends,

After reading this article you may be tempted to post a long conspiratorial diatribe, blaming the FA for “making an example of Luis Suárez.” You may wish to protest the striker’s innocence or, indeed, you may think about couching your post in quasi-legal language, of which you have no genuine expertise. You’re almost certainly desperate to blame Patrice Evra for it all. STOP! This has been heard before, and the small number of you that did not include racist or foul language were afforded space on this Manchester United blog. There is, however, a proper home for you. It’s called RAWK and you’ll be more than welcome there.

Yours, the editor.

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Comments

  1. AbelXavier says

    Just a quick point – the difference between the suarez evra case and the terry ferdinand case is that there wasnt enough evidence to proceed to a court of law in the evra case – hence the ‘probably guilty’ finding of the FA panel. If there had been enough evidence, the CPS would have taken the case up as they have done with Terry, and quite rightly tested it in a court of law. The key issue is that, witout a judgement beyond reasonable doubt, LFC fans will continue to believe that suarez is innocent and evra lied. This was caused by the FA who, rather than put the issue to bed, actually complicated things further with their ‘probably’ verdict. Lets just hope that on saturday things are lively but not nasty as is often the case in these games. Most right-minded football supporters just want to see a damn good game

    • says

      Abel – it wasn’t “probably” – it was the ‘balance of probabilities’ – the same standard as in any civil case. It’s a standard very commonly used in the English court system. With Evra nobody actually made a complaint to police. This wasn’t a case of the CPS refusing to move to prosecution.

    • monkeybone says

      like it or not, Evra’s evidence is dodgy, and when do the FA charge him with bringing the game into disrepute after insulting Suarez sister. Lift your heads out of the clouds. And Ferguson’s call for LFC to sell Suarez, as in his view he is a disgrace to the club! Why then, did he not sell Cantona after he kung-fu kicked a supporter?

      • says

        monkeybone – yet more moral equivalence and excuses from Liverpool supporters. It’s just incredible. Evra’s evidence was highly compelling – 115 pages of report tell us that. The entire football community – managers, administrators, independents, the PFA, Kick it Out, the media – has annihilated Liverpool’s argument so do yourself a favour and just give up making excuses for racism. There’s nobody and I mean nobody outside Liverpool that supports the club’s position.

        What’s Cantona 15 years ago got to do Luis Suarez being a racist? Absolutely nothing, but you’re happy to point to it as a smokescreen. Desperate, pathetic stuff, from a desperate, pathetic club. Liverpool was once a great institution. You’re now the laughing stock of the football community.

  2. Alfonso BedoyaAlfonso Bedoya says

    I completely agree that Terry had to be dealt with… and not just because I think he’s a loathsome cunt, that I wouldn’t have made captain in the first place… but because simply… it was the right thing to do.

    But I do think the FA made a huge mistake, by not getting Capello involved first.

    They could have explained the situation to him, let him break the story, and so allowing him to retain his authority in the eyes of the players and the press…

  3. squigs says

    Capello is head of the national team and Alfonso is essentially right. The comparison with Dalglish is unfair, Dalglish has been a disgrace and not been brought in for his frequently incendiary comments. Capello hasn’t looked to justify Terry’s actions yet he is the bad guy.

  4. Sir Cecil says

    A lot of nonsense. Bernstein of the FA says today “”When you look at the statue of Bobby Moore outside Wembley, that is the stature that we are looking for from England captains”.
    Yet Bobby Moore was accused of being a shoplifting thief prior to the Mexico World Cup. Was he stripped of the captaincy? Of course not.

  5. SuaRed says

    AbelXavier, you’re 100% correct. Suarez v Evra would be thrown out of a court of law!

    Ed, Suarez was convicted because the panel felt he was ‘probably’ guilty! That is fundamentally what the ‘balance of probabilities’ is!

    iDon, you’re an idiot…

    The Suarez v Evra case is in the past and he has paid his fine and served his ban! Now lets move on!

    • says

      SuaRed – factually he is not correct no. The balance of probabilities has a clear definition, to which you’re assigning another. You do realise that the vast majority of cases (not criminal) are tried in England under this system. Right?

  6. Sir Cecil says

    The charge against Terry involves no complaint from any other player or official or spectator at the game. Not a single person, including Ferdinand or any other player on the pitch, heard a racial slur. This is fact as reported at the time and since. The only complaint received was from a supporter of a rival club who saw a clip on Youtube and lip-read Terry’s alleged words. No audio of any slur could be heard. What’s more, parts of the scene are obscured by out-of-focus players passing the camera.
    So not only is the issue unproven, absolutely NO-ONE has heard or can bear witness to the alleged slur. Once again, NO PLAYER, OFFICIAL or SPECTATOR at the game heard any slur. Indeed, no-one in the world, even on TV, actually HEARD a slur. Terry is being charged based on partially obscured lip movement! And of course, he has been relieved of the captaincy with NOT A SINGLE WORD OF HIS DEFENSE having yet been heard in court. Shameful and ridiculous.

  7. Alfonso BedoyaAlfonso Bedoya says

    Commenter said:
    The charge against Terry involves no complaint from any other player or official or spectator at the game. Not a single person, including Ferdinand or any other player on the pitch, heard a racial slur. This is fact as reported at the time and since. The only complaint received was from a supporter of a rival club who saw a clip on Youtube and lip-read Terry’s alleged words. No audio of any slur could be heard. What’s more, parts of the scene are obscured by out-of-focus players passing the camera.
    So not only is the issue unproven, absolutely NO-ONE has heard or can bear witness to the alleged slur. Once again, NO PLAYER, OFFICIAL or SPECTATOR at the game heard any slur. Indeed, no-one in the world, even on TV, actually HEARD a slur. Terry is being charged based on partially obscured lip movement! And of course, he has been relieved of the captaincy with NOT A SINGLE WORD OF HIS DEFENSE having yet been heard in court. Shameful and ridiculous.

    Does Anton Ferdinand not count?

  8. Rooneydidurnan says

    I find it hard to take United fans stance on abhorring all things racist when they regularly sing about Park eating dogs in his own country. Whilst this maybe witty and humorous, it perpetuates a very real racial stereotype that all people from Korea eat dogs. Amazingly you can do it, as much as you can’t call a Sportsman tight, an Irishman potato obsessed and a Welsh a sheep botherer. If these comments were made in a work place and someone took offence there would be disciplinary action. So why is that when you pay the price of admission it makes you exempt? Don’t come back with some Bernard Manning stance that its all a bit of fun and it doesn’t hurt anyone. It’s akin to the pedophile who says I’m into 14 and 15 year olds, its not like I’m into young uns. Racist is racist in all its forms. There is no moral high ground here for United fans, just ask Harold who was shopped by Stoke City fans. Sadly whilst there are more morons who sing about Hillsborough but complain when Munich is mentioned and vice versa, there will sadly be these stupid incidents in the game.

  9. triggs says

    Commenter said:
    The charge against Terry involves no complaint from any other player or official or spectator at the game. Not a single person, including Ferdinand or any other player on the pitch, heard a racial slur. This is fact as reported at the time and since. The only complaint received was from a supporter of a rival club who saw a clip on Youtube and lip-read Terry’s alleged words. No audio of any slur could be heard. What’s more, parts of the scene are obscured by out-of-focus players passing the camera.
    So not only is the issue unproven, absolutely NO-ONE has heard or can bear witness to the alleged slur. Once again, NO PLAYER, OFFICIAL or SPECTATOR at the game heard any slur. Indeed, no-one in the world, even on TV, actually HEARD a slur. Terry is being charged based on partially obscured lip movement! And of course, he has been relieved of the captaincy with NOT A SINGLE WORD OF HIS DEFENSE having yet been heard in court. Shameful and ridiculous.

    Anton Ferdinand complained. And the CPS deemed that there was sufficeint evidence to be confident of a conviction, hence the charge.

    The real issue here – in the same way as the last time he was stripped of the captaincy – is that he should have stepped down. But his ego would not let him. In most other industries you would likely be suspended, regardless of innocent until proven guilty. Why should football be different?

    • Sir Cecil says

      Ferdinand did NOT bring the complaint.
      As for his last sacking episode (again totally unproven and the subject of numerous legally-obliged retractions by the press to the woman involved – look them up on Google), if you REALLY think an ALLEGED affair with a neighbor who was an EX-GRLFRIEND of a player who had long-since walked out on her and their kids and was living in a different city and cavorting with other girlfriends, then that sums up the mentality of the anti-Terry brigade. Terry must go they said, while the man who had walked out on her and his children, to play around with other women, was “the victim”. It’s so inane it’s almost laughable.
      The press has been determined to make Terry suffer, as they swore to do when he took out a super-injunction against them. And all that needs to be done to destroy someone’s life is to write what the mass rabble want to hear. The message is out there for all celebrities to see, that if you take out a european law super-injunction against the press in this country, you’ll be ruined. To his credit, Terry has taken it all on the chin and never responded in any way apart from positively through focusing on his work and ignoring as best he can the ludicrous baiting going on. You’ll hear everyone poking their noses in and giving their opinions and passing judgments, but not Terry. Has he ever refused to shake hands with anyone, or bad mouthed Bridge or complained about the FA or Capello when he fired him, or the press? No. He;s conducted himself like a man, unlike the low class press, like The Mail in particular, that thrives on feeding scraps of offal to its small-minded mob of tribal snarlers.

      • Alf says

        A super-injunction for what? For reporting what a swell guy he is? John Terry is an ugly, self serving piece of shit… if he had an ounce of respect for his position as captain, he’d have stepped down voluntarily, and not left Capello or the FA with any decision to make… regardless of guilt or innocence.

        But as is typical with Terry… he’s more concerned with his own, “ahem”, legend than what’s good for the team.

    • Sir Cecil says

      “And the CPS deemed that there was sufficeint evidence to be confident of a conviction, hence the charge”

      Yes, just like the charges and “very strong case” the taxman brought against Redknapp. Imagine, if his case had not been heard until after the Euros, I suppose he would have been wrongly deprived of a chance to be considered for the England job too. No matter that he’s been innocent all along!
      You people really should try upholding the innocent-until-proven-guilty sentiment you know – it’s not without possibility that you yourself, the person reading this, might benefit from it one day.

      • says

        Sir Cecil – you’re way off the mark. This is not about Terry’s innocence at all. It’s about the tenability of doing a job while this accusation is hanging over him. It’s far more akin to ‘suspension pending an investigation’ which is very common in the workplace. He simply cannot be captain with this charge in place. The FA should have acted earlier. If he’s not guilty there will be nothing stopping the new manager appointing him captain again if he so wishes.

  10. Liam says

    What makes me laugh about the Terry episode is no one seems to realise that he’s back in his own half when he starts.If you watch the clip he runs back in defence and Anton is on the edge of his area,which puts at least one third of the pitch between them, when all this happend and
    no one heard it.If no one heard what he said how the hell can it be proved against him.If Terry say’s that he was talking to himself,who can prove he wasn’t.

  11. Banksy says

    Typical Man U supporters, always so pure so decent. I was at Old Trafford in the mid sixties when John Barns played, the racial abuse he got from the united supporters was worse than anything you could hear today. But as always Unt supporters will say it never happened, I was there I saw it I heared it.

  12. squigs says

    Has he complained about Capello?

    Yes, didn’t he call a press conference during the world cup to slag off his methods and give his opinion that Joe Cole and Wayne Rooney were the only two English players who could open up a team. A stunning piece of dissent and interference during the middle of the world cup.

    Terry was sent off against Spurs in 06-07 for a remark he made to Ledley King. Rather obvious what he said concerned race.

  13. sheesh says

    The lion-hearted John Terry is so selfless he would never ever have contemplated undermining Capello’s authority..oh wait, there was that press conference in South Africa.

    • Sir Cecil says

      Laughable. Capello was so offended he made Terry his captain again at the first subsequent opportunity.
      Why do you people believe every word the press feeds you?
      Capello appointed Terry, re-appointed Terry, and has now RESIGNED rather than agree to have Terry sacked, and you sit there with a straight face and suggest Capello is so weak he would have put up with being “undermined”?
      The FA undermined him and he told them to get stuffed. He’d have told Terry the same is indeed the player undermined him.
      But you go on believing what The Sun and The Mail serve up for you.

  14. sheesh says

    Commenter said:
    Laughable. Capello was so offended he made Terry his captain again at the first subsequent opportunity.
    Why do you people believe every word the press feeds you?
    Capello appointed Terry, re-appointed Terry, and has now RESIGNED rather than agree to have Terry sacked, and you sit there with a straight face and suggest Capello is so weak he would have put up with being “undermined”?
    The FA undermined him and he told them to get stuffed. He’d have told Terry the same is indeed the player undermined him.
    But you go on believing what The Sun and The Mail serve up for you.

    This may come as news to you but an amazing device called a television was invented some time ago. It is through the means of watching a television that you can witness live events even if they’re happening thousands of miles away. Terry participated in what is called a press conference which was covered by various news outlets including sports and news channels.
    Dress it up all you like but Terry’s failed coup was one of the biggest embarrassments the England team has been subjected to in several years.
    Terry was reinstated after 1 year by Capello because the Italian thought the player had been punished long enough. At least when he was captain, England managed to qualify for the World Cup. In the time that Terry was out of the captaincy picture, Gerrard was captain during the disastrous World Cup campaign and Capello thought he therefore wasn’t a viable option moving forward. Ferdinand couldn’t (and still can’t) be relied upon to be fit for each and every international. In that instance, who else do you turn to? Rooney? He isn’t even captain of Manchester United.
    Then there’s the issue of passing the captaincy armband around like it’s a game of pass the parcel. In the end, Capello may have looked at Terry’s experience and influence in the dressing room and decided to give the armband back to him.
    You can play down his behaviour all you like but football fans will rightly remember Terry as a complete and utter cunt.

  15. says

    “There’s nobody and I mean nobody outside Liverpool that supports the club’s position.”

    This might be a little hint towards Liverpool and their tribal fanbase that they might wrong on this issue.

  16. uncleknobheadffsuncleknobheadforfucksake says

    capello has wanted out for longer than this, this just gave him a reason

    our fault for giving him the deal prior to our world cup embarrassment, itie speccy shitehouse

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