Two or three years ago, John Terry was one of the few players representing a rival team that I had a certain amount of respect for. I regarded him as a very good player, a great leader, and someone I would have been very keen to see partnering Rio Ferdinand at the back. However, his increasing arrogance on the pitch coupled with his off field romps with teenagers, as well as being exposed as actually not being the greatest centre back in the Premiership, has seen my opinions on Terry change dramatically.
Terry was a United fan as a lad and aged 14, had the chance to sign for us. His dad is a Manchester United fan and brought Terry up in the same way. “As a boy, I supported United and people were always saying to me: `You’ve got to sign for United, the team you support’,” said Terry. “United were champions at the time, and I went there and had my picture done with Cantona, Giggs and all the trophies. It was a great experience for me.”
However, Terry snubbed United to sign for Chelsea, him citing the way they looked after him as the reason. The assistant manager took him and his family out for meals and whenever he needed a new pair of boots they were at his doorstep the next day. “Being looked after like that was enough for me to choose Chelsea,” said Terry.
Until Roman Abramovich came to Chelsea, Terry would have been forgiven for kicking himself every day for snubbing United over Chelsea. Between signing for Chelsea and Abramovich buying the club, he saw Chelsea win one FA and one League Cup, as well as a UEFA Cup Winners Cup. In the same time period, United won six league titles, two FA Cups and one European Cup. However, Abramovich gave Terry some reprieve, but after two seasons of success, the decline of Chelsea begun under Jose Mourinho last season, and whilst moving to second in the league at the weekend, are nothing like the force they were just two years ago.
Within this time, Chelsea have seen FA charges slapped on them every few months, on average. Comments from the manager, tapping up scandals and behaviour on the field have all contributed to a fairly negative image of Chelsea, an image the proper fans are embarrassed to see.
Instead of lead his club out of this embarrassing predicament, Chelsea captain John Terry has stood back and allowed his players to behave in any manner they wish, and at times, has been the driving force behind the poor behaviour. It was only this season at Old Trafford that Terry tried to take the red card out of referee Mike Dean’s hand, after it had been shown to team mate John Obi Mikel.
Terry was named captain by Steve McClaren but since the appointment of Fabio Capello as new England boss, speculation over Terry’s future as captain has been rife. Capello has decided to rotate the armband amongst players he sees as potential captains, with Steven Gerrard leading the team out in the last game they played.
Our very own Rio Ferdinand has been named captain ahead of England’s friendly against France this evening, with many people tipping Ferdinand to be the permanent captain. He is one of the few players who comes close to transferring his great club form for his country, and has shown himself as a good captain for United when filling in for Gary Neville.
However, it is Ferdinand’s behaviour off the field that may put his long term England captaincy in doubt. The missed drugs test four years ago has already been mentioned in several of the rags today, highlighting this country’s unforgiving nature. Fortunately for Ferdinand, Capello appears to be his own man, and won’t let the opinion of the fickle fans or petty press sway his opinion. There is also the the issue of the disastrous Christmas party which was said to be organised by Rio Ferdinand, however, this is something Ferdinand has denied, and at a reason press conference, asked the journalists why they were claiming it was all down to him. Read in to that what you will.
Regardless, in terms of behaviour on the field, Ferdinand is certainly a role model. He has picked up just 19 yellow cards and 1 red card in his 255 appearances for the club (on average, 1 yellow in every 13 games, so roughly, 3 yellows a season), which is a disciplined record for a defender (compared to 49 yellow cards in 342 appearances Terry has picked up, an average of 1 yellow in less than 7 games, almost double that of Ferdinand).
Today, Capello has confirmed that he is looking for a captain who is composed on the field and respectful of officials, an obvious dig at Terry. “We need to be role models when we play for England and for our clubs,” he said. “Part of this involves fair play and respect towards the referee and the public who come to see the games. In that respect, we need to get back something we may be losing a bit. A captain must be an example to follow in training and a leader during the game.”
Will Ferdinand’s commanding yet respectful attitude on the pitch be enough to secure the England captaincy permanently?