Thursday, 4 February 2010

A question of loyalty

The old cliché ‘there is no loyalty in football’ would often be used in media circles when discussing a change of manager at a club, the transfer of a player to a close rival or the notorious greed of some footballers moving for financial gain. However, the latest media storm involving a Premiership footballer has changed that notion for good. The tabloid revelations about Chelsea and England captain John Terry and his alleged affair with the girlfriend of former Chelsea team-mate Wayne Bridge has caused widespread outrage in Britain and across football.

Some would say Terry had it all. The Chelsea and England captain was the man to lead England into the World Cup in South Africa in the summer and be the first captain of his country to lift the trophy since Bobby Moore in 1966. In his personal life, Terry was married to his childhood sweetheart and was the proud father of twin girls.

How the mighty do fall.

The demise of Terry’s image is well underway after the ‘super-injunction’ he attempted to use to prevent the damaging story from being released was thrown out by the judge – an act that will be reverberating across the land of celebrity for a while yet. The attempt by Terry to cover up the revelations summed up the desperation of a man trying to save his ‘goldenboy’ image, and will almost definitely of harmed his image even more. No wonder then as to why crisis PR expert Phil Hall has been called into Camp Terry to try and save the reputation of a man who is under increasing pressure in both the media and football community to give up the England captaincy.

What will happen in the coming days is very much a mystery. It has been reported that Fabio Capello will soon be travelling to meet with Terry to discuss his tenure as captain. Other reports suggest Terry is Dubai-bound to rescue his marriage.

All I do know is that people won’t forget this in a hurry. The cheating Premier League footballer is no new phenomena – just read the News of the World each Sunday and you can read about the latest antics of some of the most highly paid individuals on the planet. However, an unwritten rule has been broken between friends and that for most will be the pill most hard to swallow.

The calls for Terry to resign as captain will rage on. Capello I’m sure will not be drawn into a domestic dispute by any means. He was made England manager and his sole target was to win a major tournament, not to act as a marriage counsellor for his philandering captain. A decision will be made and that will be purely a footballing one – if that is the case Terry will retain the captaincy. Whether morally acceptable or not, England have a World Cup to win.

It does make you wonder though what goes on in some of these footballer’s heads. Many are young men who are thrust into the limelight, paid ridiculous amounts of money per week and worshipped by thousands. I believe many lose touch with reality, living in a bubble of ignorance and totally unaware of the role models they become and the impact they have on people’s lives, especially children.

As for Terry, it now seems that his priorities have somewhat changed. Suddenly, winning the Premier League title and lifting the World Cup in June pale by comparison to facing the end of his marriage. Let it be a lesson to the others in the future, but I fear it won’t.