In defence of John Terry. Sort of.
After days and days and days and bloody days of tabloid back-slapping, scandal and champagne-cork-poppery, the media finally bumraped Fabio Capello into submission and he sacked John Terry over allegations about his private life earlier this afternoon. Now, let’s get something sorted up top. John Terry is a bellend of unbelievable proportions. He is an end of such bellish quality, a preening twat of such low integrity, class, wit, style, morality, respect, intelligence, human decency and basic fucking awareness that the vast majority of us wouldn’t flick piss at him from our jacuzzis of piss if the whole world was an ocean of piss and he was crackling nicely in flames before us like a chestnut roasting on an open piss. As much as we may dislike him, even before we all knew he had been adulterously popping his 3-inch in the ex-girlfriend of his mate and work colleague, there are much deeper issues that are evidently at play here which are not necessarily Terry’s fault. So I’m going to bloody stick up for him.
First of all, the role of England captain is a bit of a pile of tug, the equivalent of being, say, the person who has to give out the handouts in a class because the lecturer is busy doing other, more important stuff like proper teaching and that. Terry is merely there to repeat what Capello said in the team-talk ten minutes ago in a barks-orders-on-the-field-like-a-good-old-fashioned-English-centre-half-like-Terry-Butcher-with-the-bandage-round-his-head-blah-blah kind of way. In Italy, the captain of the national side is simply the one with the most number of caps for his country and they did pretty bloody well at the last World Cup without bricking a bumload about whether their captain could be like fucking Henry V.
Of actual interest in this scandal is the stuff about privacy laws and Terry’s failure to place a ‘superinjunction’ on the leak of the story. (By the way, what the Christ is a ‘superinjunction’? The alter ego of a regular, newspaper-reporter injunction? ‘Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s a…’ No, you’re right, that joke isn’t funny…) Just because being the England captain is a relatively public role does not mean that we automatically have a RIGHT to know everything about John Terry’s private life. There is a fine line – but a big difference – between ensuring the freedom of the press and giving The News of the World the legal licence to effectively pull your bum out and check for evidence of a kinky, spanky sex life. And who the hell gave you the right to think that, just because he is England captain, John Terry represents you? Or that the FA, or Capello, or Chelsea, or FIFA give a shit whether you think he is an adequate role model? It’s sport for goodness sake. He doesn’t have to answer to you. Quit moaning.
Also, nobody seems to have considered that this ‘news’ story boils down to a story about the questionable fidelity of a footballer. (Shock! Horror! Exclamation mark!) Footballers are not really the moral Aristotles of our fractured Britain. In fact, how can any of us relate to the moral realities of being a Premiership footballer? From the age of about 7, you are constantly told how special and talented you are, and how you will play for Manchester United and earn millions and be the most wonderfulest football kickerer in all the universe and that you are more special than any other boy your age, blah blah. Then, you earn more money than you will ever be able to spend at the same age your mates have just discovered handjobs and driving Citroen Saxos into lampposts. And with all the money, all the free time, your dream career sewn up, the pick of attractive women, the jealousy of blokes all over the world and a belief that you are the greatest human that’s walked the Earth since the Lord God Stephen Fry himself, is it really surprising if you have a slightly blurred world perspective? John Terry may well be a quite remarkable tosser, but it’s easy to judge when we cannot say for certain we would have done any differently if we were him.
So as Terry has gone, who do we present to the angry proles as our new captain? Another argument in his defence is the wave upon wave of unrelenting moral vacuums in the England team who might step up as fabulous ‘role models’. At the moment the favourite is Rio Ferdinand (drink driving, three other driving offences, made homophobic comments on live radio, missed a drugs test) over Steven Gerrard (punched a man in a nightclub, stood trial for ABH, persistent and high-profile diving) and Wayne Rooney (cheated on his girlfriend by sleeping with a prostitute, stamped on Ricardo Carvalho’s balls, at least three red cards for violent conduct, persistent and high-profile diving). And these are not three radical examples. Of England’s best lineup – minus Hargreaves who will probably miss the World Cup with injury and excluding good eggs David James, Emile Heskey and Aaron Lennon – the rest of the eleven includes Glen Johnson (alleged theft of a toilet seat from a B&Q, no, honestly…), Ashley Cole (Jesus in a Prius! Where to start? Fined for swearing at a police officer, speeding fines, nearly ‘crashed my car’ at Arsenal only offering £55000 a week instead of £60000, illegally met Chelsea representatives ahead of a move without the permission of Arsenal, also cheated on his wife, Cheryl Cole), Gareth Barry (stripped of Aston Villa captaincy for publicly attacking the club, promises to join Liverpool and switches to Manchester City for more money) and Frank Lampard (filmed a sex-tape with Rio Ferdinand, Kieron Dyer and an unnamed girl in the resort of Ayia Napa in Cyprus in 2000). You see the problem with the ‘role model’ argument?
So let’s not applaud John Terry for being a tricksy little hobbit, but consider the basis on which we want an England captain to be selected. Yes, there are footballers who are not niggling little bumtards like the majority of the England squad, but we need to appreciate the reality of football a little more – John Terry doesn’t deserve to be punished for the ugliness of that reality.