Chelsea Fans Should Back John Terry Whatever the Outcome of his Trial
It seems like we constantly have been tackling the Terry-England captaincy issue in the recent past, and, well, that’s because we have been. If you allow your mind to go back about five months, I don’t think anyone will remember being seriously shocked when Terry lost the captaincy in February.
It was not two years to the day (Friday, 5 February 2010) that Chelsea fans looked on in shame and defeat as our beloved leader and legend was stripped of the England captaincy for allegedly sleeping with Vanessa Perroncel, the former girlfriend of England and ex-Chelsea teammate, Wayne Bridge. Terry’s function as a role model, posed by the captaincy, was called into question, and the atmosphere and feeling in the England camp leading up to the World Cup that summer was palpably tense.
In that instance, Capello caved to media demands to strip Terry of the captaincy. Recall that the whole incident was tightly entangled with the media to begin with, only coming to light once the super injunction was lifted. And even after, there has been no factual corroboration to back up these claims, with both parties denying the allegations, Perroncel going as far as to sue the papers for defamation. (I might also add here that just yesterday, Manchester United’s number one family man, proven Serial Adulterer Ryan Giggs, was made captain of Team GB for the upcoming 2012 Olympics. Talk about morals and double standards).
In this year’s case, Capello proved he does have balls after all, and stood up for something that is right. The accusations are thus far untrue, as nothing has come out since Terry was first accused in October to substantiate the claims made. If nothing else, they have been somewhat mitigated in the eyes of many as far as the viability of the inconclusive evidence is concerned. By resigning after Terry was stripped of the captaincy, Capello showed what he stood for, including his right to make footballing decisions regarding his team without the FA doing things behind his back, and Terry’s innocence until proven guilty.
The incident smacked of similarities (other than the date mentioned above) to the previous one, as the media was conducting its usual witch hunt of the footballer they love to hate, right in time for a major tournament for the England team, just to make sure they shoot themselves in the foot before the danger of investing hope and belief in the England team has time to develop.
Undoubtedly though, Capello had learnt from his mistakes; it was not too long before this episode that Capello, on his own terms, had restored the captaincy to JT, once it became clear who would always be the natural leader, on and off the pitch. And undeniably, we all knew who would still be the true captain at the Euros in June, despite Steven Gerrard wearing the armband, thus making him captain, but in name only.
Terry’s stellar performances on the pitch, even noted by the Daily Mail(!) (albeit in a one sentence caption under a photo), only further attests to how much he is willing to give for his country. Terry may be vilified and belittled by the footballing body that governs the teams he plays for, the media circus, indeed by all of England. Despite that, Terry keeps his head down, quietly denying the blasphemy against him once or twice with words, but really doing his talking with his timely goals, vital goal-line clearances, and body-on-the-line blocks. And that, along with his true captain’s nature, can never be taken away from him. I’m sure I speak for every Chelsea fan who has watched JT in an international competition, time and again giving his all for his beloved country, knowing it will change nothing; or seeing him play with every fibre of his being, wearing his heart on his sleeve, instead of the captain’s armband.
I write this on the day of Terry’s court case. I am nervous for JT, knowing that despite his top lawyer, the ambiguity of the evidence, and whatever other relevant factors have made themselves known over time, the FA, media, and everybody else have set out to crucify JT, and I for one don’t feel like the defendant and the prosecution are starting out on equal footing. If it’s anything to go on, the absence of the championed ‘innocent until proven guilty’ clause has completely evaporated in this case, and that is going on the assumption that it existed, as it relates to Terry, to begin with.
I know I will be behind Terry no matter what, and I hope every Chelsea fan can say the same. To be clear, I support Terry for footballing reasons (I a certainly do not look to him, nor any football players really, as a moral compass) and I will do so always. Unless he is incontrovertibly proven guilty for acts of racism, I will maintain his innocence. Call me naïve, but even if he is charged, a racist slur, such as the one with which Terry supposedly abused F*rdinand, makes someone perhaps cold-hearted, ignorant, or close-minded, even bigoted, but it does not make that person a racist. And let me ask, when exactly did Mr Ferdinand come out and make the accusation on his own? Name any similar actions we know of that Terry committed in this vein; count the number of present and past black players Terry has played with-and indeed befriended-over the almost two decades he’s been at Chelsea.
Sure, you can say, Terry was best friends with Wayne Bridge and look what happened there, but once again, was that ever proven? Answer: resounding no. So maybe Terry doesn’t exactly do himself any favours, but is that reason enough to convict a man on such a grave condemnation? Notice I am not necessarily saying JT did not say those words; but do we know the context? Or, is everyone completely in control of everything they say all the time, particularly in a heated, high-tension situation? Maybe in a utopian society, but in real life, that’s unfortunately impossible. However, in ‘real life,’ defendants get a chance to, well, defend themselves.
If, and we have to look at this realistically, Terry is found guilty, it is a legitimate question whether he should lose the Chelsea captaincy; either choice makes a profoundly serious statement. Hopefully we will never have to cross this bridge, but whatever the outcome, I strongly believe JT will never be hung out to dry by his loyal supporters.