For the first instalment of my sports blog it seems hard to look past the story that has been dominating news, sports and otherwise, and that is of course the ongoing John Terry affair. It is impossible to look at any news or sport website or newspaper and avoid this story. Nevertheless it did seem a convenient starting point for my new blog and thus I will be offering my view on the situation and asking the question of the extent to which his off-the-field activities ought to impact upon events on the field.
Ultimately, John Terry will not be able to escape the abuse of away fans across the country, in the short-term at least, and nor does he deserve to. Burnley supporters made this point abundantly clear with their chant of ‘same old Terry, always cheating’ in this week’s premiership clash with Chelsea which was as inevitable as it was original and witty. However, is it fair that such reactions towards him ought to result in Terry surrendering, or be removed of, the England captaincy?
Unfortunately, although it may not be fair, such seedy personal affairs will unavoidably impact upon his role within the football world. As our national captain Terry has to represent English football whether it is on or off the field. His affair with Wayne Bridge’s ex Vanessa Perroncel brings negative and unneeded attention to the England football team.
Terry is obviously not the only player in the English national set-up to have received negative media attention. Beckham underwent a similar experience after his supposed affair with Rebecca Loos while we should not forget how Ashley Cole cheated on Cheryl Cole only last year * prick*. As well as this it was not too long ago that Stephen Gerrard was caught on CCTV delivering a series of upper-cuts to a barman in a Liverpool nightclub. The key difference here is that Terry’s affair has the added dimensions that it involved the ex-girlfriend of another player that you would assume will be in the world cup squad travelling to South Africa this summer and that Terry is of course the captain of the national team.
‘Team Bridge’ t-shirts have already been displayed by Wayne Bridge’s fellow Man City teammates which illustrates the division that Terry’s actions have caused. Yet the division is not an even one, John Terry finds himself heavily out-numbered by the public and footballers alike. Ultimately, footballers are no longer just sports-stars but are now celebrities which means that their actions off-the-pitch are scrutinised as much as their performances on-the-pitch.
John Terry has cheated on his wife and childhood sweetheart, with whom he has twin children, with the ex-girlfriends of a former club, and current national team, teammate. This is pure gold dust to the media world and will boost sales of trashy women’s magazines and newspapers alike.
A part of me feels sympathy for Terry who has done something that hundreds of thousands of other married people will do this year but his dirty laundry is aired to the nation. This sympathy does not last long however. He has been given the honour that is the boyhood dream of millions of children and he is currently on wages of over £100,000 a week. If he chooses to have an affair then he ought to live with consequences.
A footballer lives their life under the scrutiny of the media’s and the public’s prying glaze, even if people think that this ought not to be the case. In the coming days it will be decided if Terry will take a break from football to escape the media attention and, after a pending meeting with no nonsense England coach Fabio Capello, whether or not he will retain the captaincy of the national team.
I would say he certainly needs to be on the plane to South Africa, whether he will be wearing the armband in this summer’s world cup is hard to say. When the whistle blows in England’s first game of the 2010 World Cup against the USA on the 12th June I doubt anyone will care who wears the armband, this story will inevitably blow over and as long as Terry does not lose the complete support of his national teammates there is no reason why he cannot, or will not, continue his captaincy. What is for certain is that the coming month is going to be an extremely painful one for John Terry and frustratingly repetitive for those people whose day heavily involves the reading of the BBC sport website or the watching of Sky Sports News.