Tag John Terry

Tag John Terry

Ferdinand’s dignified silence in the face of Hodgson’s “total lack of respect”

Ed June 4, 2012 Tags: , , , , International, Opinion 64 comments

On the Thames this past Sunday more than 1,000 boats, canoes and ships followed the Queen’s gold-adorned barge from Battersea to Tower Bridge in the first mass flotilla on London’s artery for more than 300 years. The outpouring of national pride and ubiquitous presence of the Union Flag, so infrequently displayed on these shores, was more akin to a sporting contest, than a Monarch’s anniversary.

As ever – for this is a British summer after all – the weather threatened to spoil the occasion, which had been planned, by some, for months if not years. Despite the autumnal weather, driving rain, and high tide none of the throng is believed to have sunk.

It’s hard to draw the same conclusion about the Football Association’s public relations department though, which is going down without a trace this summer. Not so much light drizzle at FA HQ, but a force 10 gale.

First, the FA bungled its decision to strip John Terry of the England team captaincy this summer; attempting to strike a balance between accepting a man’s innocent until proven otherwise, and protecting the national game’s already tarnished image. The governing body did neither, fudging the only acceptable decision, which was to leave Terry at home while the criminal case surrounding the Chelsea captain’s alleged racial abuse of Anton Ferdinand was concluded.

Worse still, in ‘protecting’ Terry the FA has run roughshod over 81-cap Rio Ferdinand – a player, who despite an unprecedented FA ban and national team exclusion for missing a mandatory drugs test in 2003, has given everything and more for the national shirt. Plenty of Manchester United supporters have little love to lose for England, and indeed the player’s international career could have come to an end earlier, but Ferdinand has never hidden his passion for the Three Lions.

Yet, when Ferdinand was unexpectedly not selected for England’s European Championship squad on the ill-hidden pretence of “football reasons” the defender held his tongue with a dignified silence. Few players with Ferdinand’s global media appeal, and huge audience, would have refrained from hitting the tabloids.

There seemed little justification for the omission on any grounds, least of all quality or fitness. After all, having played in each of of United’s last 16 Premier League matches in the season just finished – and been an outstanding performer to boot – there was little reason to believe Ferdinand had not earned his place in Hodgson’s side, let alone squad. Four games in 13 days over Easter proved Ferdinand’s ability to complete several matches in a short time-frame, whatever Sir Alex Ferguson’s observation to the contrary.

Indeed, while many excluded players had already departed on summer holidays to popular footballers’ destinations such as Aya Napa, Miami Beach and the Gulf, Ferdinand has been training. Hard. The 33-year-old former West Ham United defender even played in Park Ji-Sung’s charity match in Bangkok, while maintaining championship levels of fitness.

The insult of being excluded from Hodgson’s initial squad was compounded on Sunday when Chelsea’s Gary Cahill, injured against Belgium during England’s tedious 1-0 win at Wembley on Saturday, was ruled out of the Championships with a broken jaw. Would Ferdinand be called up as an experienced alternative? Not a chance, with Hodgson instead selecting Liverpool’s reserve right-back Martin Kelly. A fine player though the 22-year-old may become, Kelly started just 10 Premier League games in the past season and has just two minutes international experience.

“Football reasons,” Hodgson had stated. “What reasons????!!!” retorted Ferdinand on Twitter, Sunday evening. And there was little surprise that the Ferdinand camp, although not the player, finally broke its silence following the latest snub. Enough was apparently, and finally, enough.

“Lampard, Terry, Barry, Gerrard; all ageing but they go to the tournament. Why is Rio different?” asked former Millwall midfielder, and Rio’s representative,Jamie Moralee. “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.”

After all few now believe that Ferdinand has become anything bar the sacrificial lamb to protect Terry’s place in the England set-up. Rio dropped, essentially, for being the Anton’s brother. Race will play a key role in England’s team this summer after all.

And let there be no mistake that this was, on some level, Ferdinand’s decision – the United defender has always been willing to work with Terry despite the obvious enmity between the pair. In that there is no little disgrace; Ferdinand the martyr for Terry’s continued presence in the national side.

There could be long-term consequences in the FA’s stance though. After all, should the case go against 30-year-old Terry when court proceedings reconvene on 9 July England’s campaign will be forever be associated with a criminally guilty racist. Whether Terry is captain, or not.

In that scenario heads must surely roll at the FA. Perhaps even Hodgson’s. After all the former Liverpool manager, together with FA Chairman David Bernstein, have bet their chips on Terry in the face of national and global incredulity at Ferdinand’s omission.

Hodgson’s insistence – both in public and in a private phone call with the United defender – that football alone dictates the make-up of the national squad now flies in the face of common sense, and Ferdinand’s intelligence. Lingering suspicion of a conspiracy was all but confirmed with Kelly’s call-up on Sunday.

If the FA thought that stripping Terry of the captaincy would remove the focus on the Chelsea player’s upcoming court case then Ferdinand’s treatment has only intensified the spotlight. Indeed, Hodgson’s techy response to questions about Ferdinand’s omission when the England squad was announced in May will ill-become the 64-year-old coach during Euro 2012. But questions Hodgson will face, especially if Terry performs his usual tournament trick of being caught horribly out-of-position against any reasonably mobile or technical opponent.

Few United supporters will feel any sympathy for Hodgson though; this managerial crisis is of the coach’s own making.

Blatter enters, and then fuels, race debate

Ed November 16, 2011 Tags: , , , Opinion 21 comments

Race, it seems, is top of the editorial agenda after (insert obligatory ‘alleged’ here) incidents involving Luis Suarez and John Terry in the past month. Each is seemingly a sad indictment of the English game, where racism it appears, still thrives. Suarez, claims Patrice Evra, called the defender a “n*gger” at “least ten times” during Manchester United’s visit to Anfield in September. Meanwhile, Terry was caught on camera calling Queens Park Rangers’ Anton Ferdinand a “black c*nt”. The only debate is whether Terry’s excuse of context (“No I didn’t call you a…”) is genuine or not. Ferdinand, and his big brother Rio, have been deafening with their silence on the matter.

Disturbing though the incidents are it says much for our lack of progress in combating racism that the clubs and supporters involved have divided largely along partisan lines. To Liverpool’s management, Suarez’ innocence was never in doubt. So much so, that manager Kenny Dalglish has repeatedly called for “the accuser” Evra to face sanction. Meanwhile, Liverpool supporters have engaged in an orchestrated smear campaign against Evra with erroneous ‘evidence’ of the Frenchman repeatedly ‘playing the race card’ distributed liberally by more vocal Scousers.

On Wednesday the FA charged Suarez with using “abusive and/or insulting words and/or behaviour towards Manchester United’s Patrice Evra contrary to FA rules.”

Similarly, Chelsea and the club’s supporters have unilaterally backed Terry’s claim of misunderstanding. Indeed, Chelsea fans were audibly chanting anti-Ferdinand slogans as the Londoners met Genk in the Champions League. Would United supporters behave differently if, hypothetically speaking, Wayne Rooney faced a similar charge? It is a question that supporters should honestly ask and answer.

In fact the controversies of recent weeks have unveiled the shroud of denial about racism in the game. One need only peruse popular social media sites to discover a tsunami of bigotry among match-going fans. Ferdinand was subjected to the worse kind of racist abuse on his own account, from the very supporters defending Terry.

No wonder, with denial coming from the very top: Sepp Blatter, who claimed in an interview with CNN that racism does not exist in football.

“I would deny it. There is no racism,” Blatter told the news station.

“There is maybe one of the players towards another, he has a word or a gesture which is not the correct one, but also the one who is affected by that. He should say that ‘this is a game. We are in a game, and at the end of the game, we shake hands, and this can happen’, because we have worked so hard against racism and discrimination.

“I think the whole world is aware of the efforts we are making against racism and discrimination. And on the field of play sometimes you say something that is not very correct, but then at the end of the game, the game is over and you have the next game where you can behave better.”

Blatter apes the views of more than one prominent pundit, with racist language justified on the basis of ‘banter’ or ‘high emotions’. It says much for the neanderthal element still present in our game. Indeed, the Daily Mail ran a bigoted ‘opinion’ editorial urging black players to “just ignore it” when subjected to racism and be “thankful” for the apparent progress made.

True, gone are the universal ‘monkey chanting’ and banana throwing of 1980s crowds. Racism has gone underground. Yet, surely, race should not be a matter for partisan support. Offence, if the accusations against Suarez and Terry are true, should be universal. That it is not says something for the road football has travelled, but more for the distance yet to go.

There is also a devastating charge of complacency to be levelled against the football community and, perhaps, the Football Association too. Certainly, the governing body’s dithering over both cases does not reflect well on the FA. That a number of prominent black players genuinely considered boycotting the Kick It Out campaign because of the perceived FA governance of the body (it is part financed but not governed by the FA) says much for the frustration felt within the game.

After all, racism is institutionalised in football, with so few administrators and coaches coming from the ethnic minorities, despite black players making up around 25 per cent of professionals in England. Fans of all colours should be ashamed of this.

Perhaps failure to eliminate racism in England is the result of a top top-down culture that embraces discrimination at its very core? After all women and homosexuals also face an institutionalised glass ceiling, and administrators not willing to work hard enough to eliminate discrimination. It is an industry that celebrates the macho and aggressive, and one wonders whether the football community – fans, players, administrators – will ever accept a player for what he is, and not his sexual orientation, background or race. Recent events have brought this into question.

More than 30 years since Justin Fashanu – the first gay professional to come out – was driven to his suicide football has seemingly achieved little. There is little serious attempt to do so from within the game, save for an FA sponsored video last year. That the governing body was unable to attract leading footballers to take part in the video paints just as vivid a picture. Gordon Taylor, president of the Professional Footballers Association, admitted last year that tackling homophobia is simply “not very high on the agenda,” while homophobic language is endemic throughout the football community.

The community’s reaction to the latest turn of events suggests that there is some way to go when it comes to racial equality too. While a presumption of innocence is enshrined in our legal system, there is little reason to believe that Evra is lying – the FA charge suggests the body believes his account too – or that Ferdinand uncertain about what he did (or apparently did not) say to Terry.

The FA is likely to set a very high bar for proof, keen as the body is to avoid all controversy. It takes genuine strength of will an authority to sit in judgement; something the governing body has long since lost. But now, more than ever, is the time for the body to truly govern our game.

He kisses the badge on his chest then buys a pregnancy test

Ed April 23, 2010 Tags: , , Opinion 4 comments

… or at least that’s the rumour doing the rounds on the Internet this week. The totally unconfirmed reports suggest this badge kissing football captain cheated on his wife with a 16-year-old, who later fell pregnant. The international vice-captain is said to have sought a court injunction against newspapers wishing to print the story this week.

Following the John Terry – Wayne Bridge – Veronica Peroncell love-triangle, the propensity for footballer’s sex-lives to shock has certainly diminished.

But completely unconfirmed reports that this footballer’s wife has also been having an affair with an unnamed player, believed to be the 26-year-old married English-born left-footed Scottish international midfielder at a mid-ranked Championship club, certainly adds to the spice.

Rant couldn’t possibly comment except to say that if the footballer is seeking a high court injunction this week then he is unlikely to succeed. Terry followed the same path, only to find the Chief Justice no longer amenable to the old privacy arguments. After all if those in the public eye engage in seedy behaviour then why should career protection come first in law?

Terry, who lost the England captaincy, his form and much of his dignity during the Peroncell affair, has never truly recovered from the huge invasion of his private life. The Chelsea defender’s form nosedived during the late winter months and there is a reasonable argument to say England manager Fabio Capello should no longer consider him an obvious pick.

Whether the latest rumour about a high-profile Premier League footballer is true or not the lesson is clear. In World Cup year well-paid international players are under greater scrutiny than ever, with tabloids keen to print every last salacious story they can get hold of. Privacy be damned!

The papers will pay the kiss-and-tell WAGs or mistresses well for the story too. After all Peroncell reportedly received more than £750,000 from Terry in ‘hush money’ simply to keep her tabloid silence. It’s a newspaper-driven charge that the French model later refuted strongly.

It mattered little in the Terry case. The Internet rumour mill and rapid communication tools such as Twitter hardly help celebrities keep a lid on their secrets. This week, high court injunction or not, many thousands of Internet users now have a different opinion of a certain badge kissing footballer than 24 hours ago.

If the rumour is proven of little substance then the damage to the player’s reputation may never recover anyway. Proven true then a rapid transfer out of the country will surprise nobody in the football community.

It’ll hit home financially too. Tiger Woods found to his cost that lucrative endorsements and advertising contracts soon end when a squeeky-clean image is no longer viable.

The player in question this week certainly has a great track record in the dock. He might need it if the Sunday papers are not to be replete with stories of his alleged sexual behaviour and that of his wife.

Should the rumours prove true then the consequences – much as in the Terry case – are far-reaching for player, club and national side alike.

The life of JT – drinking, shaging and leg breaking

Ed March 17, 2010 Tags: Just for fun 5 comments

John Terry, fresh from knocking off the mother of Wayne Bridge’s child, ran over a Chelsea steward last night as he sped away from Stamford Bridge following Chelsea’s humiliating loss to Jose Mourinho’s Inter Milan last night. The defender, stripped of the England captaincy last month, failed to stop according to reports.

“John Terry broke the leg of Chelsea security guard after knocking him over in his Range Rover outside Stamford Bridge last night,” reports Goal.com.

“The Blues skipper was breathalysed and quizzed by police in his home in the early hours of the morning following the incident.

“Police confirmed today that they are making enquiries into the incident – and that Terry sped off after injuring the club employee.”

Terry car crash

The incident comes just weeks after Terry, dubbed Tiny Tears, was removed from the England captaincy by Fabio Capello following the Chelsea player’s affair with Veronica Peroncell. In the affair’s wake Bridge quit the England side, with Terry failing to apologise to the enraged Manchester City player.

It’s not the first time Terry has been in trouble during an incident packed career. The defender stands accused of numerous extra marital affairs, sleeping with prostitutes, mocking American tourists shortly after 9/11 and selling stadium tours around Stamford Bridge for £10,000.

Good role model for the yoof of today then!

JT moves in on Cheryl as Chelsea casanovas get busted

Ed February 24, 2010 Tags: , , Just for fun 5 comments

Apparently they arrive just like buses. No sooner does one Chelsea cretin get caught playing away from home, then so does another. The only question being, who has more notches on the bedpost? Following rapidly on from allegations that John Terry had an affair with Wayne Bridge’s ex-girlfriend, Ashley Cole’s wife Cheryl has dumped the England left-back after newspaper reports of his infidelity. JT has not commented on rumours he is delighted.

JT Cheryl

It is not the first time Cole has been the subject of tabloid rumours. In 2006, the former-Arsenal defender sued the publishers of the News of the World for a story that claimed Cole used mobile phones as a gay sex toy. He received an out of court settlement of £100,000.

Chelsea’s management, reported sick of the adverse publicity surrounding their players’ extra-curricular activities, may fine Cole for his behaviour. Tiny tears, stripped of the England captaincy by manager Fabio Capello, has reportedly patched up his marriage

Poll: Rio right for England job?

Ed February 5, 2010 Tags: , , , Polls 2 comments

The king is dead; long live the king. Rio Ferdinand is the new England captain following manager Fabio Capello’s decision to sack John Terry this afternoon. Terry, caught cheating on his wife for the umpteenth time, found his position ‘untenable’ – to abuse the much overused cliché.

Fabio appointed Ferdinand with immediate effect and Steven Gerrard will step up to vice-captain. But is it the right choice?

Ferdinand, frequently Manchester United captain when fit, has appeared just eight times this season for the Reds, with a long-term back complaint requiring lengthy osteopathic treatment. There’s certainly no guarantee that the former-West Ham United player will make the plane to South Africa this summer.

Rant’s choice was Wayne Rooney – United and England’s talismanic striker, who would lead by example. What’s yours?

Is Rio the right choice for England captain?

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The case for captain Rooney

Ed February 2, 2010 Tags: , , Opinion 6 comments

In the wake of the John Terry sex scandal many have called for a leadership change at international level. Far be it for Rant to pass judgment on Terry’s extra-curricular activities – the Chelsea captain has always been an odious toerag anyway – but now is the time for Wayne Rooney to take the responsibility his performances command.

Rooney has not always been an obvious choice for the role, with controversy seemingly dogging the forward during the early part of his career. Rooney saw red playing for England at the 2006 FIFA World Cup for a stamp on Portugal defender Ricardo Carvalho. There have also been three further indiscretions playing for United.

There have also been allegations of impropriety in his personal life. Early in the forward’s relationship with Coleen Rooney, allegations appeared in the News of the World that Rooney had previously slept with aging prostitutes. While the forward made no comment, the prostitute in question eventually denied the claim and sued the paper, and Coleen went public in forgiving the player.

Then in 2006, Rooney claimed £100,000 in libel damages from The Sun and News of the World, who earlier printed unfounded stories that he beat Coleen in a nightclub.

But a new maturity off the pitch – marriage and the subsequent birth of a son, Kai – match that on the pitch. While the striker still plays with passion and fire the tantrums have relented and his aggression is more controlled. More to the point, Rooney is now the natural talisman for both England and United. The pressure placed on his shoulders is no more acute as captain. Indeed, he may thrive on it.

It is only in England that the public, fueled by the tabloid press, demands a stereotypical ‘up-and-at-em’ British Bulldog as captain. Terry is the ultimate embodiment of pointless fist-pumping patriotism that masks, in the eyes of too many, his obvious limitations as a player and person.

Typically other nations choose either the oldest or best player as captain, with an expectation that they lead through example. Proving the point, Spain’s captain is Iker Casillas, Italy’s is the modest Fabio Cannavaro, while Thierry Henry now leads France in the regular absence of Patrick Vieira.

Some of the great football leaders of the past had no need to recite passages from Henry V – Michel Platini, Johan Cruyff, Pélé, and Maradona to name just a few.

The England captain also serves as the team’s media spokesperson, a role that Terry both loathes and is unsuitable for. Indeed, should Terry keep the captaincy he will face a barrage of questions not about football but his sexual exploits that now, allegedly, extends to affairs with nine women behind his wife’s back.

Meanwhile, Rooney has emerged not only as an engaging interviewee with honest opinions but one that is widely respected as man and player.

Rooney has not yet been considered for the role as Manchester United’s captain by Sir Alex Ferguson. The striker lies behind Gary Neville, Rio Ferdinand, Ryan Giggs, Patrice Evra and possibly even John O’Shea for the role.

But that is of little consequence to the international role. After all, as the Old Trafford faithful know, United > England.

The day Terry went a Bridge too far

Ed January 29, 2010 Tags: , , , Just for fun 18 comments

John Terry may wish to look away after a high court today lifted a so-called super-injunction that banned publication of lurid sex secrets. England Captain Terry, alleges a popular Sunday tabloid, had an affair with former Chelsea left-back Wayne Bridge’s girlfriend. The Chelsea skipper had sought to stop details becoming public.

The News of the World, is it reported in today’s Guardian, is due to print an exposé that alleges Terry, 29, had an affair with Vanessa Perroncel, the French actress and model who dated the 29-year-old Manchester City defender until late last year.

Perroncel, who gave birth to a son Jaydon Jean Claude Bridge in November 2006, split with Bridge before Christmas 2009. She reportedly remained in Surrey following the defender’s £12 million transfer to City in January 2008.

But lifting the banning order, Mr Justice Tugenhadt said that it is no longer in the public interest to keep the relationship secret.

“I do not consider that an interim injunction is necessary or proportionate having regard to the level of gravity of the interference with the private life of the applicant that would occur in the event that there is a publication of the fact of the relationship, or that the applicant can rely in this case on the interference with the private life of anyone else,” said the judge today.

Terry claimed in January 2008 that he was sad to see Bridge go.

“He’ll be missed and I’m still in shock a little bit because it’s a shame to see one of the lads go who you have grown up with and been with a long time,” said Terry of the Bridge transfer to City in January 2008.

“I’m disappointed, but for him it was the right decision.”

Terry may now have reason to regret the decision he made to sleep with a teammate’s girlfriend far more.