As you read this article, scores of PR professionals and agents are working overtime trying to salvage what is left of John Terry’s reputation. Now that the injunction which had kept his indiscretions secret has rightly been lifted, the whole world including his wife and his “mate” can see the sort of person he is.
But scores of PR people aren’t needed to mitigate the relationship with his wife – that is between the two of them. No PR company is going to save the “friendship” with poor Wayne Bridge – what person could ever forgive a friend for sleeping with the mother of his child? No, the PR people are missing out on their Friday night cocktails for one reason and one reason only; the England Captaincy.
Terry’s only focus is to be in South Africa and win as captain. Although we at FI give England little chance of actually winning (their greatest asset is their manager) they do have a small chance and Terry knows that the winner will be photographed holding the World Cup aloft, replacing that iconic image of Booby Moore for the next 40-odd years. As the only English supporter at FI, I find this prospect quite distressing.
Nonetheless, that is the sole focus of Terry and well-paid advisors; how to hang on to the prospect of this legacy.
The answer should of course be, he cannot. There are two sporting roles in England which require more than just ability and performance to hold. They are the captaincies of the football and cricket teams. The only sporting positions of real influence over and above the actual sport. The cricket team is in safe hands with a man who is intelligent, able and who actively seeks to avoid non sport-related media coverage. The previous was not and was swiftly removed. Football must follow suit; they cannot – must not – measure his merit solely on what he does on the pitch, ignoring his importance as role-model and leader.
So the question is, what does Terry do now? Well it’s quite simple really. Any sane person who looks themselves in the mirror will give the same answer to the question, “am I fit to lead my team?”. Knowing this, the only way he can salvage any respect from this latest episode is to preempt anyone else’s decision and do the only honourable action left to him.
Because how can the FA possibly let a man with such a sordid past and present continue to represent the country’s most loved and cherished sporting institution? How could they ever be forgiven for letting millions think that his actions are in any way appropriate to the highest sporting position in the land?
For the good of the country, all it’s football fans and even Terry himself, he should let his PR team go for their drinks.
He should pick up the phone himself, call the FA and Chelsea and offer his resignation as captain of both, stating that he no longer believes himself worthy of either.
If justice is served, keeping the Chelsea position and a sliver of self-respect would be the best he could hope for.