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The Antagonist - The England team are a universally flawed bunch

Published: 05 Feb 2010 - 07:12:36

John Terry, John Terry and more John Terry.

Terrygate has dominated newspapers, TV and online coverage all week and looks set to run and run. The public just don't seem to be able to get enough of it.

The media, naturally enough, are desperate to eke out the story and are continually trawling the Chelsea social set to find new angles on the affair, interviewing disparate acquaintances with tenuous connections to the Terrys such as Lizzie Cundy, wife of C-list leather-punter Jason, who appeared on consecutive mornings this week on GMTV.

Described as 'a family friend', her only apparent contribution to the debate was the assertion that we need Terry at the World Cup because he's a jolly good player and then she trotted out the usual cliche about giving the family some space.

Pity JT didn't give VP a bit more space and all this could have been avoided.

So, what does Fabio do about it?

A change of captain would certainly help to diffuse a situation that is rapidly becoming an unnecessary distraction in the run up to the World Cup. However, when we start looking at the possible options things maybe aren't so clear.

Presumably, the captain must be a player who is likely to be first choice in his position, barring injury, for all the major games. So who have we got?

Rio? Oh yes there was that drug test thing a few years ago and he's a bit inclined towards practical joking and driving a bit recklessly.

Ashley C? Extra-marital affairs a speciality and likes driving his Lamborghini in excess of 100mph then blaming it on chasing paparazzi and losing his licence. Also, he's generally a bit of a plonker so, maybe not.

Becks? Probably won't be a regular and there was the rather tawdry Rebecca Loos interlude in 2004 which occasionally comes back to haunt him.

Stevie G? Recently been in court on an assault charge. Bish, bosh...bit of a risk.

Joey C? Involved in a love dispute over a glamour model and ended up, bruised and battered, wandering the London streets shirtless, phoneless and skint until his dad ordered him a cab.

Fat Frank? A leaked video of his involvement in a holiday orgy didn't help his case, and more recently the ditching of the mother of his children would make him a dangerous choice.

Wazza? Maybe the best of a bad bunch but even he is not squeaky clean and unfortunately doesn't appear to be able to shake off his 'grabagranny' tag.

Not so straightforward is it?

Why do all the above (and many, many more) seem to have such blemished records?

My theory is threefold.

Firstly, here are young men who are, almost exclusively, not the sharpest knives in the drawer. I partly exclude Fat Frank here who, I believe, may have acquired a few GCSEs but, nevertheless, the majority think with their feet (and sometimes other parts of their anatomy) rather than their brains. This can often lead them into making rash, unconsidered decisions they will later regret.

If you add to this the fact that most of them are relatively young, naive and inexperienced when they achieve success, you can see that already we have a recipe for disaster.

Secondly, the nature of their profession, like other sportsmen, demands extreme levels of fitness and energy. The competitive nature of their work encourages the presence of high levels of testosterone which normally can be harnessed during training or matches but, in social circumstances sometimes need other outlets (I'll leave you to work that one out).

Finally, the amount of money slushing around in the game these days makes top players extremely attractive to the predatory type of woman who hangs around on the celebrity fringes waiting for crumb of encouragement from egocentric, alcohol-fuelled footballers. These vultures are often ruthless, gold-digging publicity seekers who will go to great lengths to capture their prey and, having had their evil way, look to further exploit them through the tabloid press.

The relating of such liaisons is commonplace in the gutter press but each episode usually burns itself out in a few days when interest starts to wane or a new scandal emerges. Unfortunately, this time, Terry transgressed the unwritten law. He crossed the line. He slept with his best mate's bird.

Great press fodder but, for the bloke that's cuckolded, the ultimate insult.

If it had been anyone else other than the mother of his child, Wayne Bridge would, no doubt, have been straight on the phone to Mr T offering him support and a shoulder to cry on. Now, he is considering making the biggest sacrifice a sportsman can make; refusing to play for his country if John Terry is involved.

Betrayal of a mate is, in a nutshell, the horns of this dilemma.

Footballers are team players. Sleep around with strangers and over time you will probably be forgiven by the public, if not your partner, but mess with a mucker and you pay the price.

John Terry will pay the price. Be 100-per-cent sure of it.

He may get his wife back but he cannot hope to fully regain the respect and trust of his team-mates.

For that reason and that reason alone he has to go even if it means replacing him with slightly soiled goods.

Hopefully he will have enough dignity to make the decision himself. Later today we may find out.

- Tim Lovejoy: Football is playing out like a bad soap opera
- Blog: Professional footballers are animals

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FOOTBALL.CO.UK BLOGGER:the antagonist
Love him or loathe him you cannot ignore the Antagonist. His Friday blog tackles the big issues in our game today in an abrasive, often controversial style. He goes where others fear to tread. From wages to wags, diving to drugs - no subject is "off limits", no individual beyond reproach. Miss him at your peril!

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