John Terry, the now former England captain, was yesterday granted leave in order to tend to personal issues recently reported in the press. What a complete debacle. As Terry no doubt continues to digest the ignominy of losing his captaincy he must be left wondering where it all went so wrong. Terry committed a totally personal act and has paid the ultimate price professionally. However, as he takes time away from the game to recover, let`s assess the impact the media have played in his downfall.
John Terry is merely another unfortunate victim of the vulture-like invasion of privacy that the English media offer. Even former England captian David Beckham, popular amongst most, suffered at the hands of the press as revelations about his private life were blown out of proportion in a World Cup year. (Not to mention the tabloid hatred after France `98). Beckham survived the episode relatively unscathed, a reflection maybe on the leniency associated with coach at the time, Sven Goran Erikkson.
Erikkson himself was not shy of tabloid revelations. Our media tore into the England coach at the time over totally personal love interests and shamelessly set him up with the infamous `fake sheikh` that left his position untenable. Sven was obviously naive and at fault for such exposure. However, as the FA were forced to part company with Erikkson just weeks before the World Cup, England`s subsequent failure can definately be linked to the disarray it caused.
The ensuing McClaren era provided darkness. The media were essentially, at least in part, responsible for his appointment as they drove the campaign for an English coach. They were also the first to sack him with their headlines after a set of disappointing results. They are not idiots. They are just paid to be. And they are good at what they do.
Fabio Capello, a squeaky clean disiplinarian, cannot be got at. The shrewd Italian is business-like and evidently cut throat, as John Terry will vouch for. Unable to expose Capello, the media therefore took the option of destroying John Terry`s world (cup). Terry was stupid in what he did. But did anyone really think he was intelligent before such events? Capello did not relieve Terry of his duties due to an aversion to his personal behaviour. He simply knew the force of the media, along with the potential prolonged repercussions, and seeked to protect both his and the England team`s professional interests.
Love him or loath him, the media have played a crucial role in dislodging the best captain we have. He joins the long list of England`s best to be sniped at, including Gazza, Lineker, Rooney, Campbell and Beckham to name but a few. Terry, however, ran into the wrong man in Capello.
The press will no doubt have another pop before the tournamnet in an attempt to unsettle our challenge. Simultaneously they will build the belief that we can win, before taking great pleasure in shooting us down when we inevitably don`t. The `Golden Generation`failed. But who coined the term `Golden Generation`? I doubt it was Hoddle, Keegan or Erikkson. Or whoever was in charge when we possessed this so called generation. The tabloids did. If anyone can handle our trying media it seems to be Capello. However, I think the press can be added to the list, along with penalties, `bad luck` and a distinct lack of truly world class players, as to why England do not win World Cups.