The retirement of John Terry is slowly but surely bringing down the curtain on what a lot of people around the world considered to be England’s golden generation. The generation which finally ended up giving the people of England nothing except broken dreams and unfulfilled promises. Their gifts were scars, nightmares and heartaches. John Terry was supposed to be the leader of this generation, the man who was supposed to lift the trophy at the end of the day. Alas! That never came in a England shirt.
I think John Terry just did the math and found out that that the FA would have a 99.9% chance of success in the hearing that was to follow. So he called in the press and issued the following statement:
"I feel the FA have made my position with the national team untenable. Representing and captaining my country is what I dreamed of as a boy and it has been a truly great honour. I have always given my all and it breaks my heart to make this decision. I wish Roy and the team every success for the future."
- John Terry
With that he went back on another of his famous statements - "I will never turn my back on my country". Well John, sorry to tell you but you just DID. The words "I’m not going to throw away my international career for anyone, I am proud to represent my country, I will never turn my back on England" now have a hollow ring to them.
All these praises heaped upon him by his club managers may be true only in light of what he did for Chelsea. Twice stripped of the national captaincy only to be entrusted again for the job, Terry couldn’t deliver like everyone had hoped, and created situations untenable for himself to continue in the England setup without hurting it.
So what will his time at the helm be remembered for? His capability as a player may never be in question, but his ability to inspire his fellow mates, to give them the extra push in the their hour of need never came to being. His tenure turned out to be filled with regular wins against minnows, repeated failures to qualify for major tournaments, and more famously, for his share of controversies which the team could have done without. He may have been a great leader for his troops at club level but at the big stage, his team and leadership never came to the fore. The end results were countless chokes, eternal afflictions and heartbreaks.
The England set-up as it is needs a revolution more than an evolution. Old-timers hanging around do provide some much-needed experience, but with Terry there was always the extra baggage; the elephant was always in the room. So a few years after losing, maybe not his ability but certainly his credibility, John Terry walks out. But even as he does, even as he makes a sensible decision, he goes out playing the victim. At the end of the day, he doesn’t have much to show for his time on the international stage. His legacy may be defined by his club successes, but to most it will be his tarnished reputation, his controversies with Wayne Bridge and his girlfriend, his abuse of Anton Ferdinand and of course the HANDSHAKES (who can forget them) that will remain in memory. They will always stick out like a sore thumb.
Let’s forget for a moment what his club career has been like. As England captain, nobody ever questioned his pedigree and commitment on the field. Boasting of a 65% winning record in his 34 games as skipper, he was the most successful captain in terms or statistics, but both he and his team came up way short when it really mattered. Booby Moore comes a close second with a 63% success rate, though his tenure as skipper extended to 90 games. Moore went on to lift the World Cup, while Terry’s side was never able to get even a sniff of any silverware. So that should end the debate of who England’s greatest ever captain is. In fact, it is a no-debate.
"John Terry is the captain of all team captains, he was born with the captain’s armband on his arm" – Carlo Ancelotti
"For John Terry, dying in the pitch would be glory. You would need to kill him and maybe even then, he would still play" – Scolari
Thomas Edison once said that ""John Terry is one per cent inspiration, ninety-nine per cent perspiration", but then Edison stole most of his ideas from other people, including that quote from me.
So let's postulate that leaders fall into two categories: Inspirational and Perspirational.
The biggest problem with John Terry is that he spent quite a lot of it shagging anything that moved, including his team-mate's wife. And if it didn't move then he shagged it until it did. He also spent a lot of time running around on the pitch for England shouting at or insulting other players.
Since he never had a moral compass, then his leadership skills were sadly lacking. I think his style of leadership would fall under the category of nagging (or haranguing to use a longer and more impressive word). Would you rush to enrol in the "John Terry School Of Inspirational Management"?
Nor would I.
So there you have it.
Was he solely responsible for England's failure during the 00's? No he wasn't.
Could England have chosen a better captain than John Terry during the 00's? Definitely yes.
I imagine that his on-pitch motivational speeches were along the lines of "If we don't win I'll fu%& your wife/girlfriend/daughter"*.
John Terry retires, at the age of 31, with a record of 78 caps and six goals. England may be better off without a man who has caused no end of problems over recent years. Terry’s self-regard was just breath-taking. Adios amigo. You may not be missed after all.