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