Heavy-handed Bernstein the trouble for English football
Four months out from the European Championships, England are rudderless. The FA’s decision to reprieve John Terry from his duties as England captain, and the subsequent resignation of Fabio Capello, have created a messy situation for the national team.
In big global sporting tournaments, stability is paramount to success.
FA chairman David Bernstein has claimed that the axing of Terry as England skipper, as he awaits trial for allegations of racially abusing QPR defender Anton Ferdinand, would serve to provide stability to an England team who have in recent years lacked togetherness.
The claim is laughable. Bernstein and his colleagues have acted to completely undermine the role of a manager within a football team.
Fabio Capello was well within his rights to resign from his England post, as he promptly did upon meeting the FA chairman. John Terry is Capello’s choice as England skipper, and the duo had underseen steady process within the setup over the 18 months following the diabolical 2010 World Cup campaign.
Sir Alex Ferguson, who well knows that Terry’s great foe Rio Ferdinand, brother of Anton, sits in his Manchester United dressing room, was full of empathy for Capello, stating that “without doubt, the most important person in a football team is the manager”.
This is not an issue of who fans and pundits alike prefer to have as England captain. There is one man in England who chooses his man for the role, and the FA wouldn’t allow him to do it.
John Terry is undoubtedly a polarising figure in England – frequently the subject of media attack – but that is beside the point. Rio Ferdinand and Steven Gerrard (to a slightly lesser extent), are also disliked by massive numbers of football followers.
As for Bernstein’s claim that “This decision has been taken due to the higher profile nature of the England captaincy, on and off the pitch,” what ever happened to the entire notion of innocent until proven guilty? Terry claims he will “fight tooth and nail” to clear his name, so in effect he has been reprimanded over allegations which remain unsubstantiated.
John Terry is the natural England captain. He has skippered Chelsea for nearly a decade under numerous managers, without his authority or role ever being questioned. When Terry plays for England, he plays with an attitude and commitment obviously lacking in some of his peers.
Personal prejudice toward Terry from sections of the media continues to affect the stability of the England team. David Bernstein has acted in a manner which has put the England national team into a level of disarray from which it will take some time to recover.
Capello was not even consulted over the decision prior to its announcement, as Bernstein spoke of his “authority” to make such a decision. The result is that Capello will not have the opportunity to oversee the continued growth of the talented youngsters the Premier League has unearthed.
Jack Wilshere, Kyle Walker, Daniel Sturridge and Danny Welbeck, to name a few, will have their England careers stalled under a completely new setup.
Capello and Terry were making progress with England, but now a team without a manager or a captain will take time to rebuild, with the European Championships just a matter of months away.