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Terry divides opinion again with England exit
(AFP) / 24 September 2012
For many Chelsea fans John Terry, who dramatically retired from England duty on Sunday, is a club legend fit to be spoken of in the same breath as Stamford Bridge greats such as Ron ‘Chopper’ Harris.
As far as they are concerned he is a man who has been let down by the ‘blazers’ and been hung out to dry by officials looking to cover themselves.
For them allegations of racially abusing Anton Ferdinand last October are a media-generated storm in a tea cup, all the more so as he was cleared of criminal charges by a London court in July.
Yet, judging by phone-ins following Sunday’s announcement, there are plenty of other football fans who are far less enamoured of ‘JT’.
Both groups would probably agree on Terry’s merits as a tough-tackling centre-half who never gives up on the most desperate of goal-line clearances.
Someone in no doubt about Terry’s worth as a footballer is current England manager Roy Hodgson, who had made it clear he wants the 31-year-old in his squad as the team try to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
This makes the timing of Terry’s international retirement in one sense puzzling, although the fact a Football Association improper conduct hearing into the Ferdinand incident was due to start on Monday may provide an explanation.
“Representing and captaining my country is what I dreamed of as a boy and it has been a truly great honour,” said Terry.
“I have always given my all and it breaks my heart to make this decision. I want to wish Roy and the team every success for the future.
“I am making this statement today in advance of the hearing of the FA disciplinary charge because I feel The FA, in pursuing charges against me where I have already been cleared in a court of law, have made my position with the national team untenable.”
Terry made his England debut in 2003 and within three years became captain under coach Steve McClaren, a position he maintained when Fabio Capello took charge of the national side.
But the Italian stripped Terry of a role he clearly coveted following lurid allegations the defender had had an affair with French model Vanessa Perroncel — a former partner of team-mate Wayne Bridge.
That happened shortly before England’s disastrous 2010 World Cup campaign in South Africa where Terry, in what was an admirable display of common sense or a dereliction of duty depending on your view, challenged Italian boss Capello’s authority by calling for the manager to relax his hardline regime.
However, Capello remained a fan and restored Terry to the England captaincy.
Yet after the furore involving QPR’s Ferdinand in a Premier League match last October, FA officials felt they had no choice but to stand Terry down from the captaincy.
FA chairman David Bernstein did so without first consulting Capello, a move that prompted the Italian’s resignation.
For Terry and his supporters the fact he has been acquitted in a court trial should be the end of any attempts to clear his name.
They cite FA rule 6.8, which governs disciplinary hearings and states that the results of relevant civil or criminal proceedings are “presumed to be correct and the facts presumed to be true” by FA commissions.
However, the FA are likely to insist their charge is distinct from the racially-aggravated public order offence of which Terry was cleared in July.
Terry admitted in court he called Ferdinand a “fucking black cunt”, but only in a denial after he believed Ferdinand had accused him of using those words.
The panel who gave Liverpool striker Luiz Suarez an eight-match ban when finding him guilty of racially abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra last season said just using racist language was enough to constitute a breach of FA rules.
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