“I hope we will have this reaction,” Capello said. “Terry is one fighter. He played very well the game after the final and missing the penalty. I hope for the same reaction from the other players. It’s very, very important. The pressure. You have to win. I know this very well. When you have to win sometimes the pressure is too big and when you go to the pitch it’s not the same. United played for 10 minutes like United but not after. These are very important players. Yes, if you win you are happy and it’s easier for me. But I don’t think we’ll have a problem. After, you have to look to the future, look forward. You have to forget what happened.”
After John Terry slipped (as Edwin Van der Sar did when Frank Lampard scored the goal which took the game to extra-time and penalties), the Chelsea captain wallowed in self-pity. He had no time to support Nicolas Anelka, who missed the crucial penalty, or his other hurting team-mates. He only had time for himself and did not fulfil his role as captain, the one man on that field who should have been rallying the Chelsea players, even if he was hurting more than any of them. It is totally understandable that he would be gutted, but save if for when you go home to your wife (or latest teenager). He was too consumed by his own emotions to get it together for a few minutes and be there for his team though.
People described this break-down of emotion as ‘passion’ but I think ‘selfish’ covers it better. Manchester United have lost finals and semi-finals, we’ve even lost them on penalties, but our most ‘passionate’ players, in the likes of Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs, never burst in to tears. As the role models for the rest of the team, they went around consoling others and encouraging them. Cristiano Ronaldo, for example, was in bits after we lost the FA Cup final on penalties to Arsenal back in 2005, but Keano, Giggs and Neville were his shoulder to cry on. I’m not saying men should be void of all emotion. It can be nice to see how much the game matters to them. But Terry is captain and if he is too emotionally weak to get on with his job then he shouldn’t be wearing the armband.
I don’t want to see the supposedly strongest and most important players in our team breaking down in to tears every time we lose, getting on with their own grief instead of supporting their team-mates, something Terry has done when they were knocked out by Liverpool in the Champions, as well as England’s last World Cup exit. Save the tears for home.
Then, less than a year later, Chelsea were harshly knocked out of the European Cup after the referee failed to award them penalties they deserved. Iniesta, who I’d say is the best player in the World, scored Barcelona’s equaliser in injury time and Chelsea were out. They were robbed. But they are not the first team and they certainly won’t be the last team to be denied a place in the final because of a referee’s decision. Yet their reaction was like nothing I’ve ever seen before. Michael Ballack running after the referee, screaming in his face, Didier Drogba, Salamon Kalou and Ashley Cole joining in, whilst Terry watched, doing nothing. Drogba then swore in to a Sky Sports camera. Terry had his arm around Drogba’s stomach when he started shouting in to the camera, but then just let go of him and walked off. Great fucking leadership that! Please, oh please, can our captain let our players get away with such behaviour! That is the example we need, of course!
People will talk of that D’urso incident, thinking as a United fan I have no room to talk about bad behaviour where referees are concerned. Well firstly, that incident was almost ten years ago, get over it. Secondly, four of the five players involved don’t even play for United any more. And thirdly, the manager and several players have since condemned that incident and never been involved in something on that scale since.
“We had a pivotal moment some years ago when our players surrounded Andy D’Urso,” Ferguson said last year. “I went off my head with them about that. I thought it was ridiculous and it never happened again.”
In contrast, Terry was in full support of Drogba’s disgraceful behaviour, and certainly didn’t ‘go off his head’ about it!
“I’m fully behind Didier, the way he reacted,” Terry said. “You can see the passion he played with in the game and afterwards. But the fact is the referee is the one who should face the consequences, not Didier and not us by not going through. Both sides had experienced players tonight and you need experienced referees. Did you see that game last night? There were bad decisions. It’s decisions like that which are wrong – Darren Fletcher misses the final, a bad decision. He can’t play in the final and neither can we, because of a bad decision in this match.”
How the fuck can you be fully behind a player who verbally abused a referee then swore directly in to the Sky Sports camera? How the fuck is a captain who supports his players behaving like that supposed to be seen as a role model we’re supposed to follow?
Since Terry mentioned Fletcher, let’s look at his example. When he went in to tackle Cesc Fabregas, he wasn’t thinking about the fact we were already definitely in the final, he was playing with the 100% commitment he always shows, and wanted to win the ball. So he won the ball and referee decided wrongly to award a penalty, but then to show him a red card? Scandalous! Fletcher had been our best player on so many occasions in the competition and now he was ruled out of the final because of a mistake by the referee. Did he swear at the referee? Did he say the referee had been bought off? Did he scream and shout and complain and have to be forced off the pitch? Course not. He just simply walked off the field, head hung, absolutely gutted. There’s an example Chelsea should follow.
Another example from this season which Chelsea could follow was the FA Cup semi-final against Everton. We put out a team which largely consisted of inexperienced youngsters who were all desperate to book their place in the final. We held our own against Everton and with twenty minutes to go, should have been awarded a penalty. The man who committed the foul, Phil Jagielka, admitted it was a penalty. Opposition manager, David Moyes, admitted it was a penalty. The penalty wasn’t given and we were knocked out at the semi-final. Did Danny Welbeck go mental at the referee? Did our players swear and shout in his face and the faces of the cameras? No, of course they didn’t. Despite their young age, our players displayed exemplary behaviour. Terry and Chelsea could learn a thing or two from them.
So, the England manager wants our players to follow Terry’s example? When we’re interested in having a team of cunts who win one trophy every two years, then we can ask the great John Terry for advice. Just because Capello made the wrong choice in captain, it doesn’t mean our team has to deal with consequences. Terry sets a dreadful example and if our players could be opposite to the man he is, I would be very happy indeed!