THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

9 February ~ Not only has Fabio Capello joined Wayne Bridge in an elite group who have given up highly prestigious work over a matter of principle concerning John Terry, he has also become the latest football man to succumb to his own hubris. Capello said he was "gravely offended" by the FA's decision to go above his head and prevent Terry from captaining England. It must be difficult for any manager to have restrictions placed on his work, but only in the universe of football would the reined-in boss react so extremely and with such haste.

Capello might have been hurt by the FA, but they were entitled to make the call on the captaincy – as the manager found out when he asked his lawyers to check his contract. Not only were the FA contractually able to the make the decision, but they were wholly correct in the way they approached the matter. The FA took the decision off Capello's hands, allowing him to avoid offending either Terry or the players uncomfortable playing alongside the Chelsea defender.

The FA deserve credit for the way the dealt with the situation. Surprisingly enough, they also deserve some praise for making the entirely reasonable decision to prevent Terry from wearing the armband. The danger of England winning the tournament and Terry lifting the trophy, minimal as it is, was too great a risk for English football.

Perhaps the courts will find that Terry did nothing wrong, but the captaincy is an ambassadorial role that is ill-suited to a man in his position. His only task as captain is to shake hands with opponents. He can barely manage that with his own team-mates at the moment.

Capello's resignation was the act of a man that has become too accustomed to getting exactly what he wants. He was paid an astonishing sum of money – about £500,000 a match – to pick a team every man on the street could piece together. He hasn't even succeeded in the role – or given himself the best chance of doing so by learning the language his players speak. But he couldn't bear his authority being challenged in the slightest. In any other walk of life, Capello would simply have to face the fact that when someone employs you, they can exhibit some authority over you.  

Capello is just the latest overindulged employee in football to launch into an almighty huff when his mollycoddling bosses adopt a firmer approach. Carlos Tévez was allowed to cut corners at Manchester City last season, but when his behaviour took a predictable turn for the worse in Munich, he was rightly reprimanded. Despite the player's complete lack of respect for his club and its supporters, Roberto Mancini offered to make peace with Tévez if the player apologised. But such is the pride of the cosseted player, he will not countenance such modesty.

Over the past few seasons, Manchester United fans have taken to singing: "We're Man United, we do what we want", but everyone employed in the sport seems to think they can do as they please. But what else can be expected from a system that puts so much money in the hands of people who do so little to earn it. Paul Campbell

Comments (15)
Comment by t.j.vickerman 2012-02-09 12:36:42

'The FA took the decision off Capello's hands, allowing him to avoid offending either Terry or the players uncomfortable playing alongside the Chelsea defender.'

But they didn't. They merely prevented him from captaining the country until the trial is over. Why didn't they take this decision when it first came to light? And it is a fudge - a strange halfway house between doing nothing at all and taking a firm stance.

I don't believe for a moment that this is the primary reason for Capello's decision. I think, and don't blame him for a moment, that the job of England manager is not worth even his extravagant salary. He knew the players weren't capable of much this summer and was fed up of the xenophobic and hyperbolic criticism coming his way.

To borrow from Rafa Benitez, it is a fact that Fabio Capello (in terms of win percentage) is the most successful manager England have had.

Comment by jertzeeAFCW 2012-02-09 12:57:51

Of course the John Terry saga has nothing to do with why Capello left.

Capello has seen the light and finally realised England are shit.
Years and years of poor coaching for young kids has left thousands of pro's unable to trap a cement bag or use their "other" foot.

Capello has realised that England will fail again and he doesn't want his reputaiton tarnished by a load of overpaid thickos with only one foot that they can kick with.

Comment by geobra 2012-02-09 13:46:35

I have seen two takes on the story in Italy.

One is that Capello felt increasingly isolated once his sidekick Franco Baldini returned to Italy to become general manager of Roma.

The other is that this is, more or less, a consensual divorce. The John Terry story enabled both sides to extricate themselves from a marriage that had long turned sour with a modicum of dignity.

If Capello's successor is to be English, I think it should be Hodgson. He may have failed at Liverpool, but his record at Fulham and WBA speaks for itself. He seems more temperamentally suited to international management than Redknapp, who surely needs the adrenaline of the weekly, or twice weekly, game. He also has more knowledge of the game outside Britain. Maybe he lacks Redknapp's charisma, but that didn't stop Sir Alf from leading England to World Cup victory in 1966. And it wasn't exactly part of Capello's make up either.

But I expect the fan in the street will get his way, and the job will be offered to Redknapp.

Comment by Coral 2012-02-09 13:47:55

Oh dear, am I reading The Sun?

"He was paid an astonishing sum of money – about £500,000 a match – to pick a team every man on the street could piece together. He hasn't even succeeded in the role – or given himself the best chance of doing so by learning the language his players speak"

Firstly McClaren was given the task of picking a side anyone could have done and how did that go? To then say he has not succeeded in the role is pushing it. He qualified for two tournaments out of two and the one he managed in we lost to a fantastic German outfit. Capello was far from the reason England did not achieve the usual quarter final bump out. Rooney for one could put his hand up. And further to that, he can speak whatever lnguage he wants, it appears to work given his win percentage. It is also not he issue what he is paid, 500k for a game or not. That is what he was offered, and was your mateys fault in the FA.

Still, let's not let facts get in the way of jingoistic blather.

Comment by Guernican 2012-02-09 13:56:29

I'm sorry, but what a laughable piece of jingoism this article is.

I'd imagine the conclusion everyone else seems to have arrived at - that Capello was sick and tired of England and that this was a convenient excuse - is far more likely.

And how on earth can you go from one paragraph's "The danger of... Terry lifting the trophy, minimal as it is, was too great a risk for English football" to "His only task as captain is to shake hands with opponents"?

It's not often I feel so forcefully about an article on this site, but this feels like it belongs in a second-rate tabloid. Once the subs have had a look at it.

Comment by Rick in France 2012-02-09 14:08:05

Spot on, great article! Hopefully the FA are now going to start being a bit more decisive, as they could have been in this case in fact by making the decision about John Terry somewhat earlier

Comment by geobra 2012-02-09 17:16:53

For what it's worth, the evening sports show on RAI2 has just claimed that the translation of the interview Capello gave to the state TV service on Sunday contained errors which made it sound as though his disagreement with the FA's decision was also an act of insubordination. Their view was that he would never have willingly walked out so close to a major tournament. But as they broadcast the incriminating interview they are not exactly unbiased.

Comment by JimDavis 2012-02-09 20:48:41

"but only in the universe of football would the reined-in boss react so extremely and with such haste." Funny, I owe my current employment to a fellow who had an argument with my now boss and then walked out. No I am not a football manager.

Comment by Nefertiti2 2012-02-09 21:05:29

According to the Guardian Capello always acknowledged that it was the FA s call (even if he disagreed with them). This was left out of the press reporting of his remarks in Italy . I'd hope for better reporting from wsc.

Comment by madmickyf 2012-02-10 02:29:10

Even though I find Mr Terry to be an odious individual I'd like to know why WSC feels free to convict him in the Court of Public Opinion before the case has even gone to trial? As some have already commented that is tabloid jounalism you'd expect from the Sun.

Comment by tempestinaflathat 2012-02-10 08:32:05

"the captaincy is an ambassadorial role that is ill-suited to a man in his position. His only task as captain is to shake hands with opponents"

Um... right. Yes, this makes perfect sense. It's an important, significant job, an ambassadorial role... which only involves shaking hands.

Good grief. I've been reading WSC for nigh on twenty years now, largely because it offers a thoughtful, reasoned, intelligent view far beyond anything the newspapers can manage. This, on the other hand, might have come straight from a junior writer at a tabloid. Awful.

Comment by Broon 2012-02-11 06:03:55

Very good article (those of you comparing it to tabloid journalism clearly never actually read any tabloids). I'm never usually slow to agree with people accusing the English of being jingoistic, or of the team of being shite, but cleary Capello did not leave because he "knew" this team wouldn't stand a chance at the Euros; if Denmark and Greece can win this competition, of course England can too. Terry has not been convicted (not even in the 'court of public opinion' if Chelsea fans count as normal members of the public) but the evidene and suspicion is strong enough that his continuing as captain of a squad comprising many black and mixed race players is untenable until the court case is over (and in the minds of some of his team-mates, probably not even then). How Capello didn't see that is mystifying, the FA were entirely correct in their actions, and Capello's hissy fit was perfectly in tune with his known levels of hyper arrogance.

Comment by grippersi 2012-02-12 10:56:21

The more I read, hear and think about England FC, the less I care.

Comment by madmickyf 2012-02-15 03:08:45

"Terry has not been convicted (not even in the 'court of public opinion' if Chelsea fans count as normal members of the public) but the evidene and suspicion is strong enough that his continuing as captain of a squad comprising many black and mixed race players is untenable until the court case is over"

Surely the strength of the evidence is yet to be tested, that is the purpose of the court hearing. As for 'suspicion' are you seriously suggesting that Terry be condemned on that basis? Do you live in Salem, Massachusetts by any chance?

Also "if Denmark and Greece can win this competition, of course England can too" shows your arguments are hardly based on logic and reason!

Comment by Guernican 2012-02-15 13:58:33

"but the evidene and suspicion is strong enough that his continuing as captain of a squad comprising many black and mixed race players is untenable"

But not, apparently, from a club squad which has even more black and mixed-race players, you silly fool.

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