I read a column on the London underground this morning. It was about the John Terry and the England captaincy affair. The writer, Gavin Brown, avoided taking a moral stand on the applicability of the 7th and 10th commandment to professional football. Just pointed out that Terry is universally disliked.
Some things bemuse me about the attitude of football fans. For example the obsession with the 10th commandment (“You shall not covet your neighbor’s whatever…”) rather than the old fashioned 7th (“You shall not commit adultery”). Had Terry only indulged in the 7th commandment this whole affair would never have unfolded.
While the Terry family’s reputation on the matter is very dubious and represents the epitome of bad taste, the real victims of this particular affair is the Terry household – his wife and twin children who one day will be old enough to Google their father’s name. The other woman in question was an ex-girlfriend of a teammate and did things in free will. No family was harmed – only the feelings of those that still consider women as property of men.
What I find even stranger is the obsession of the English public with the England captaincy. This is probably rooted in rugby and in cricket. Well, in rugby and cricket captain’s matter. They make the key tactical decisions. In football a captain is almost irrelevant. Xavi does not captain Spain or Barcelona. Zidane never lifted an international trophy for France. The armband in football is merely a piece of cloth.
But of all moot debates in football, the English captaincy is probably the most rainforest and server memory consuming.
Which brings us to the point. The writer is correct to point out Terry is a very disliked footballer. For one – I hate him. Terry has tried to make amends with his famous slip in Moscow – but I still don’t like him. I still see him as a major threat to United’s trophy cabinet.
I can remember other captains who were universally disliked. Lothar Matthaus for Germany. Roy Keane for United. Which makes me slightly retreat from the position that captains don’t matter.
Universally disliked captains seem to matter quite a lot.