The John Terry Saga
There was finally some closure on the John Terry saga this week as the Chelsea captain received a four-match ban and a £220,000 fine from the FA. LS Sport’s Jack Arscott shares his thoughts…
It is almost a year since the red mist descended on John Terry at Loftus Road and the Chelsea captain, for so long seen as a repository of everything that was good about English football, uttered the words that will haunt him for the rest of his life. The spectre of what he said on that day has hung heavy on the game ever since, its latest manifestation being his retirement from the England team which he has captained almost constantly for the last six years.
The fact that he was cleared in a court of law of racially abusing QPR centre-back Anton Ferdinand during a Premier League match will probably be lost in the mists of time. Ultimately the same Football Association that stripped him of the England captaincy in February, found him guilty. However disproportionate his subsequent four-match ban might appear, his reputation, already sullied by revelations of marital infidelity, is unlikely ever to recover.
But, sifting through all the repercussions of Terry’s now infamous outburst, how much of it really matters?
It goes without saying that the racism itself has been a shocking throwback to the dark days when black footballers such as Viv Anderson, Paul Canoville and Garth Crooks were routinely taunted for having the perceived temerity to play football. Former Arsenal midfielder Paul Davis, to name but one, has called the suspension ‘lenient’ and hinted that it risks throwing the ‘Kick It Out’ campaign into jeopardy. None of this should be underestimated.
That said, the Chelsea talisman’s withdrawal from the international scene is nothing other than a new dawn for the national side. Since the frustration of Euro 2004, which was supposed to be the moment the country’s golden generation announced itself to the world, Terry has come to symbolise, along with Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard, a wasted cohort. Much as these three talk up England’s chances before every competition, they are part of the problem. In short, what England need is a clean break.
True, we have lost one of the most brutally efficient defenders in the world, somebody with the ability to inspire his friends and deflate his enemies through sheer blood and thunder. Granted, there is no ready made replacement. Undoubtedly, it could be said that this England set-up has had enough turmoil already.
Call me a hopeless optimist but my view is that all of this will be forgotten if the current manager takes full advantage of Terry’s announcement and ushers in a new era built on youth. Step forward, Roy Hodgson.
Words: Jack Arscott