An armband without honour

Rio Ferdinand

Fabio Capello has stripped Rio Ferdinand of the England captaincy and chose to reinstate John Terry. The same John Terry who has the morals of a warthog and the same Fabio Capello who repeatedly said Terry would never captain England whilst he was still manager. The England manager can’t make a decision without being intensely scrutinised, but this is one I must concede as a dark day for English football.

When England won the World Cup in ’66 their captain was Bobby Moore – one of the greatest defenders of all time. He was capped 108 times but unlike David Beckham’s 115 caps Bobby played every minute of every cap he received for England and was never booked. This is an unbelievable record for anyone, but particularly impressive for a defender. It shows not only how good Moore was as a player but also how honest, respectful and genuine he was on and off the pitch. I could talk for days without rest about the icon and gentleman, but I think Sir Alf Ramsay said it best about Bobby “My captain, my leader, my right-hand man. He was the spirit and the heartbeat of the team. A cool, calculating footballer I could trust with my life. He was the supreme professional, the best I ever worked with. Without him England would never have won the World Cup.”

Sadly, the Bobby Moore’s of English football no longer exist. There are no role-models to set an example for the future generation. I think Rio Ferdinand can feel hard done by as he was the closest thing England had to a role-model. We all know he had his fair share of controversy when he was younger but fatherhood changed him and has become someone so full of respect and carries himself in such a dignified manner. Sadly, Fabio Capello has not shown Rio the respect he deserves by discussing the captaincy with him before stripping him of it. Why he felt the need to permanently take the armband from Ferdinand and hand it back to Terry instead of on a temporary basis is anyone’s guess.

Fabio Capello has without a doubt handled the decision badly and in my opinion should never have given the armband back to John Terry. However, to be fair to Capello he’s not exactly spoilt for choice for potential captains. The main reason for him making the switch was because he wanted his captain to play in every game and with Ferdinand out for the rest of the season he felt it was time for a change. But out of all the England regulars who could he possibly award the captaincy?

For most European countries, the player who has been with the club the longest or has the most caps becomes captain. The current England player with the most caps is Ashley Cole, I needn’t say anymore. Then comes Steven Gerrard who has also had his fair share of scandal in recent years and Frank Lampard who turns 33 in a few months and may see Euro 2012 as his last international tournament. Wayne Rooney has 69 caps and I’ll be the better person by not making the obvious pun, but with all the scandal surrounding him and his adultery he is far from ready to represent England as captain. From reading the forum boards it’s evident that although the decision to strip Ferdinand of the captaincy has been controversial, everyone is in agreement that Gareth Barry should never start for England, so there’s no way he can be captain! Joe Hart is a guaranteed starter for England but has only appeared for England on 8 occasions.

In England’s last match against Denmark it seems everyone else had a go at being captain for the day but John Terry. The defiance from Fabio Capello shown that day has since gone as he hands the armband back to John Terry. This will have serious repercussions for the England dressing room as Rio was so popular and well respected by all of his peers.

As Capello announces his squad today for the friendly with Wales I wonder what the man of the match in the Tottenham Hotspur v West Ham game will have to say. Probably nothing, but that’s because Wayne Bridge is a better man than John Terry.

Wayne Bridge and John Terry




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