I was pleased when Rio Ferdinand was named England captain. Not because I’m arsed about England but because I was looking forward to the preferential treatment players of this status get, like John Terry and Alan Shearer before him. Kick someone in the head or rugby tackle them, who gives a fuck, you’re England captain, you can do what you like.
Sadly, less than a year later, Rio has had the armband taken away from him and Fabio Capello didn’t even have the decency to talk to him first.
He talked to the newspapers and basically said John Terry was going to get it because Rio gets injured. He didn’t confirm this was what was going to happen but more or less said that was the deal.
He then came to Old Trafford to watch United vs Bolton but didn’t make any formal arrangements to meet Rio, despite telling the press he intended to “talk to” our player then. I guess Rio wasn’t going to run around after him, Fabio didn’t run around after Rio, so they didn’t meet.
That evening, Capello announced that Rio was no longer captain and that after a year without the captaincy, Terry had been punished enough.
When Terry had the captaincy taken away from him, Capello met with him to explain why. We’re not just talking about the morals of the player, because where England players are concerned, Terry is no worse than plenty of others. The issue is with the dressing room. How can you have a captain who is having it off with the mother of his team-mates’ children behind his (and his wife’s) back? If it had been Coleen Rooney who had been wooed by JT and Wayne Rooney who said he wouldn’t be going to the World Cup, would Terry have even got near the team again, let alone had the armband returned? No way. If something is wrong and deserved punishment, it shouldn’t matter which team mate is getting fucked over, whether it was Bridge or Rooney, Milner or Lampard.
So, Terry deserved an explanation but apparently Rio, whose only crime is being injured, doesn’t. Still, maybe there’s some justification behind Capello’s decision, even if there is no justification for the way he has gone about it.
Let’s have a look at the injuries then in the 6 games that have been played since the World Cup.
vs Denmark – Terry played, Rio injured.
vs France – Terry injured, Rio played.
vs Hungary – Terry played, Rio injured.
vs Montenagro – Terry injured, Rio played.
vs Switzerland – Terry injured, Rio injured.
vs Bulgaria – Terry injured, Rio injured.
Both Terry and Rio have been injured for 4 of the 6 games.
So the injuries excuse is rubbish so essentially, for whatever reason, Capello wants Terry as his captain. He made the decision soon after Rio lifted the European Cup with United on a night when Terry missed what would have been the winning penalty and wandered around the pitch crying, making no effort to support his team mates. I can only assume Capello is drawn to losers… the reason why he took the England job in the first place no doubt.
So, what does Rio do now? Not face to face, but again through the press, Capello has said that Rio is still a very important player. Is that good enough for Rio? England have taken the piss out of him. If his injuries are an issue, then take the armband off him and give it to someone who isn’t injury prone too. If his injuries are an issue, then take the armband off him and give it to someone deserving, not someone who shamefully had it stripped off them after doing the dirty on an England team mate.
What consquences this decision has on the England team is not my concern, although you don’t have to be a genius to work out that JT isn’t the most popular man in the England camp, particularly after his World Cup press conference stunt, so it’s hard to imagine everyone in that dressing room will be overjoyed that Terry is captain and the more popular Rio Ferdinand got fucked over in the process. But what is important to us is how it effects our player. He’s been embarrassed by the decision of the FA and Capello and it’s not nice to watch. Will this have a negative effect on him?
Quite honestly, the only bad thing Rio could do in this situation is to carry on playing for England. Fancy having to endure lining up behind Terry, the new captain, knowing that the job should be yours. It’s humiliating.
Like Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs before him, Rio needs to get his priorities sorted, and England have given him a great excuse. Quitting International football will give him have a longer club career, representing a team who have always stood by him.
So come on Rio, do the right thing. Don’t just hand over your armband but your boots too.
UNITED > England.
The RoM 2017-18 Season Preview is available for just £5. It includes an EXCLUSIVE interview with Paul Scholes, a Q&A with the country's top journalists about our transfer targets, articles by brilliant United writers, and so much more. All profit goes to Trafford Macmillan so please support this fantastic cause.