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Cole: Keano The Only Boss On The Pitch Captain

cole keaneIn light of the debate of whether John Terry should remain England captain following his disgraceful behaviour towards team mate Wayne Bridge, former United player and current United season ticket holder, Andrew Cole, has spoken about the role of the football captain.

“Captaincy in football is massively overrated, almost to the point of being irrelevant,” said Cole. “In cricket, a captain makes frequent, crucial strategic decisions. He often has vital input in selecting the batting order, he decides who bowls and when, sets fielding positions and strategy. Football captains are rarely anywhere near so important. In my whole career I can only cite Roy Keane as being, effectively, a boss on the pitch, dictating play tactically as well as emotionally, and even then Keano was often his master’s voice, for Sir Alex Ferguson. I hate to disappoint those who buy into the notion that every captain gives a Braveheart speech before a game, calling for his troops to die for him and the cause, but it’s a myth.”

Cole used the United example to explain his point further, looking at the different types of player who have captained us.

“In any given dressing room you can have 11 strong personalities, 11 captains, each capable in their role,” he continued. “Sure, some captains are shouters – Gary Neville – but so are many non-captains. Some captains are quieter and let their feet do the talking – Ryan Giggs. Others wouldn’t dream of telling you how to play, just lead by example by working hard in training and giving their all on a pitch – David Beckham. Does captaincy really require a unique temperament? No. I use Manchester United as an example because I know them best, but in recent memory Rio Ferdinand has been captain, so too Vidic, Evra, Van der Sar. It can be taken as an honour for the man with the armband but the captain’s identity, on its own, is never going to win you a match.”

About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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  1. Fred says:

    @MikeKelly12: Hahaha! I hope so, the ABUs would be outraged. :-D

  2. Fred says:

    In fact if you type “rio ferdinand” into Google you can watch the ABU “tweets” roll in by the second! Hilarious!

  3. Fze123 says:

    Agree with Cole here. Keano and Robbo were absolutely magnificent; leaders, role models, fighters and incredible figures at Utd. Along with Robbo they are one of the best captains the world has ever seen. They played because to do two things; motivate the team and simply win.

    Great news about Terry being no longer captain. It just had to happen, any decent and wise manager would do the same. Good decision by Capello, however I am still waiting for him to apologise for the “United’s war machine is running out of steam” bullshit. Just because Fergie rightly said that the national team will not win the WC he decided to have a dig at us. He also said an English team will reach the final. It probably means he thinks either the rentboys or the arse will reach the final. Which is hilariously stupid, even we have a better chance.

    I hope this news affects Chelsea’s performance against arsenal, hopefully it will cast a cold atmosphere in the dressing room. Poor Terry, he’s probably in tears right this moment. However, this will not feel as bad as he felt when he missed that penalty in….Need I say more.

  4. Gotta hate tiny tears says:

    He’s Mr Chelsea and captain of his land
    But Fabio’s gonna take away his armband
    ‘Cos he had dirty sex with Wayne Bridge’s ex
    He cheated, he cheated

    He used to meet her at the Hilton Hotel
    While Wayne was playing one-twos wth Darius Vassell
    He cheated, he cheated

    He cheated (cheated), cheated (cheated)
    The gagging order’s been deleted

    He’ll claim he’s persecuted, misunderstood
    Go share your sob stroies with Tiger Woods
    You cheated

  5. mikekelly12 says:


    The only reason Terry will be in tears is because he’s gonna have to get rid of all his knock off “John Terry England Captain” Merchandise he was gonna get his old fella to knock out at the world cup!!!

  6. Gotta hate tiny tears says:

    sky sports news says “the meeting lasted 12 minutes the john terry had to be smuggled quickly out of wembley stadium”
    Thats cause he owes wembley a shit load of money

  7. NotoriousRedDevil says:

    Rio being made Captain has made my day. I couldn’t give a toss about ingurland, if they do well I suppose I’m happy cos my mates are. Now Rio has been made Captain despite not playing for months is fantastic, he basically got a promotion a concept a bit difficult to grasp for most the people out there. If Ingurland win the World Cup with Rooney scoring a hat trick does that then meand United are World Champions 3 times.

    @mikekelly 12 – You’re probably right, now Rio is captain that extra game ban will be overturned, not because its the right thing to do its because the new Ingurland Captain needs games to be fit and in form for the World Cup.

  8. Kings says:

    At last someone has the balls to put that fucking cunt in his place, although fuck knows why he made him captain in the first place. Still hearing ‘British Bulldog and true leader’ comments – what the fuck! Bet Jason Cundy must be boiling at hearing that news.

  9. scholeslovechild says:

    Maybe Don Fab will swap Terry for another player and leave the vice and third choice in place.I agree with one of the earlier posts Rooney would be a great choice.Wayne thrives under responsibility you can see that.Rooney for cpt!

    Thanks for a great friday John :-)

  10. McQueen says:

    This is great news! I was hoping Mr Capello had the balls to drop that sack of shit! And speaking of good captains I think Rio is actually a very good one – dominant, vocal and commanding.

    P.s. what is up with the number of bullshit comments on this thread? You really do have to trawl through ten tonnes of shit to actually read some decent comments related to the topic

  11. McQueen says:

    My above comment is a little harsh, on reflection, and is basically just directed at Trevor, who seems to be high on something and filling up half this thread with bollocks!

    Most of the posters on this site seem very knowledgable and passionate and i thoroughly enjoy reading your comments on a regular basis. Thankyou!

  12. McQueen says:

    @ Trevor – I think I was overreacting a little so sorry for that but you do have a LOT of posts on this thread that are not relating to the article, I was already in a bit of a bad mood so I feel I took it out on you a bit sorry!

    (I am also well aware of the irony that I now have three posts myself, only one of which is loosely related to the topic, so apologies for that!)

  13. rooney the new king says:

    did anyone read the hilerious piece done by goerge graham, I am not being funny how can he sit there and say arsenal can finish above united and chelsea will win the league. did he see united pick apart arsenal, he should worry arsenal can hold onto third spot. chelsea should be worried of trying to hold onto second place let alone thinking they will win the league add the age the depth and their captains mental state, and if united keep up their form I think united will power their way to the title.

  14. Toms says:

    Keane and gerrard are the only ones I’ve seen teams just miss characterwise when they were not on the field. Gerrard because he singlehandedly won liverpool those trophies. Keane because.. cmon the 4-2 arsenal game back in 05/06?. Guts blood and steel to drive a team that was lacking “football characters.”

  15. rooney the new king says:

    Toms – the 4 2 win was actually the 04/05 season, the result at arsenal in the 05/06 season finished 0 0

  16. King Eric says:

    McQueen – ha ha quality pal. Raging at people then apologising! Eh eh calm down la.

    Priceless that Rio is captain. As people have said the abu’s will be fuming.

  17. rooney the new king says:

    King Eric – what did you think of goerge grahams hilerious piece that he thinks arsenal can finish above united and he still thinks chelsea will win the league, did he see arsenal get owned by being outfootballed. I have always said this when going toe to toe with united in a title race this close its like trying to beat mohamad ALI in a long boxing match or trying to outbox ALI there is only one winner. and what is up with peoples retarded pridictions that they always tip chelsea to win the league when the days of 2006 are well and truly over. its 2010 people not 2006 keep up with the times its like tiping liverpool to win the league when the 80s are over.

  18. King Eric says:

    rtnk – Yeah I did hear his comments. Similarly Paul Walsh and someone else who I forget were saying on Skysports on Wednesday that the Rentboys will be too strong. What the fuck? This is after watching their performances against Hull and Burnley. I have been saying all season they are poor. No width, no pace, no plan b and fuck all passion and determination. As per usual they will bottle it. I really do expect them to drop points all over the place. They are looking knackered. They have fluked their way through the season with inept refereeing and teams bending over for them. If they faced the sort of performances United do week in week out they would be fucked. I said before the draw at Hull they would drop points at the KC, I said it on here numerous times. All these scandals are really gonna derail their season.

    As Fergie said yesterday we can “kick on” now and I am fully confident on recent displays added players coming back we can extend our run in the league.

  19. King Eric says:

    Also like you said why do they get tipped every season? They have added fuck all aside from Jerkoff who has played just SIX games and Turnbull and Sturridge. How is that gonna help them prise the trophy away from Old Trafford which has been there since mid 07?

  20. rooney the new king says:

    King Eric – if you are gonna comment further on this page, what I find really frustrating is the pundits cant retrack their statements they have made such idiots of themselves all season. To be fair I was worried at the start of the season so I am not gonna totaly throw stones at glass houses. But I still had hope our rivals were so mediocre and so bad I held on to those hopes our experience would win the day so that may come true. lets not get to carried away uniteds only weakness is our lack of depth upfront.

    - lets be frank these pundits are such ronaldo lovers that they continue to down united because we lost ronaldo we have a phew new stars now the roonster and micheal jackson back from the dead. I wonder where brett has gone since the roonster has made ronaldo look shit not heard from him much LOL jk ronaldo was a good player, I will still say he was good for 2 years last year was ronaldos worst year for many reasons many know my reasons. does anyone else think we were carrying ronaldo last year.

    you are kidding me even after these results they still are backing chelsea. so chelsea are unstoppable and europes greatest for scoring some typical boring xhelsea goals against arsenal, yet united a side who battered arsenal britans greatest ever footballing side was punked and outfootballed double standards me thinks.

  21. King Eric says:

    great post. “Michael Jackson back from the dead and the roonster”. Quality.

    I also wonder where “Justice for Heysel” has gone. A couple of us were arguing with him after he said there is no way Rooney is world class. Just prior to his hat trick at Pompey away!

  22. King Eric says:

    Agree about Ronnie. Last season to be fair became an embarrasment with his constant pouting, histrionics and petulance.

  23. mufcdevils says:

    only if keane was still young

  24. rooney the new king says:

    King Eric – I have not long been on this site but who is Justice for Heysel is that brett you mean. I have been tempted to change my username to micheal jackson back from the dead but I will keep with RTNK because its so damn true.


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