Ruthless Capello gives Terry sack
No room for sentiment as Ferdinand named captain
Fabio Capello lived up to his reputation as a ruthless manager yesterday by stripping John Terry of the England captaincy without even questioning the player over the scandal that has gripped English football or giving him the opportunity to plead his case.
Capello simply told Terry that the furore around him was in danger of damaging the England team's prospects at the World Cup finals this summer and that it was in the team's best interests that he step down.
A source close to the England manager said: "It was not one specific problem, it was everything. The situation was becoming worse every day."
Rio Ferdinand was appointed Terry's successor on a day when Capello confirmed beyond doubt that he is a no-nonsense operator. Having been expected to allow Terry to put his side of the story, the England manager made it quite clear that he had made his decision before his meeting with the player yesterday afternoon.
There was no forensic cross-examination of the allegations that Terry had had an affair with Vanessa Perroncel, the ex-fiancee of his England team-mate Wayne Bridge, and there was no discussion of how that might affect the compatibility of the pair as players. Instead Capello said that he believed the scandal was harmful to the team and that it would be best if Terry was moved aside.
According to sources, Terry was respectful and quiet in the meeting. He was said to be relieved that he would still be part of the England team and promised, according to sources, "to be focused on being the best player he could be for England and Chelsea".
There is no suggestion Capello asked Terry in any detail about the allegations that his private box at Wembley had been touted against the rules of the stadium, which is owned by the Football Association. Those allegations emerged yesterday morning, but it would appear Capello had made up his mind on Terry's future long before then.
There was no offer from Capello for Terry to tender his resignation. Rather the England manager said it was "his decision" that the player step down. Capello thanked him for his contribution as captain and the meeting was civil and calm, according to sources.
At no point did Terry make any apology and there was nothing in his statement after the meeting that expressed remorse or took responsibility for his actions. His replacement with Ferdinand as England captain means that he will not be under any obligation to speak before or after the friendly against Egypt on March 3.
To add to the drama, while the meeting was taking place in Capello's office at Wembley Stadium, an announcement was made by the publicist Max Clifford on behalf of his client Perroncel to say that she would not be speaking about the episode.
It is alleged Terry has paid her £500,000 not to sell her story to the newspapers.
It has been concerns such as the fact that more details are likely to emerge that has been the driving force in Capello making his decision to sack Terry now. Those close to the England manager said that he could not risk further disclosures contributing to the sense of chaos around Terry.
Those close to Capello said he had taken a great deal of thought over the wording of the statement which was subsequently released to explain the decision. "Every word has been chosen for a reason," said one source. The key line is said to be Capello's assertion that the decision was in the interests of what was "best for all of the England team".
It is noticeable that the vocabulary and grammar of the statement is imperfect and suggests Capello and advisers such as Franco Baldini only permitted minimal input from the FA. Capello said: "After much thought, I have made the decision that it will be best for me to take the captaincy away from John Terry.
"As a captain with the team, John Terry has displayed extremely positive behaviour. However, I have to take into account other considerations and what is best for all of the England squad. What is best for all of the England team has inspired my choice. John Terry was notified first. When I chose John Terry as captain, I also selected a vice-captain and also named a third choice. There is no reason to change this decision.
"I would like to take this opportunity to thank the FA, particularly (chairman) Lord David (sic) Triesman and (chief executive) Ian Watmore for allowing me to make this decision in my own time and in the best interest of the team."
It is understood Watmore joined the meeting after Capello had talked Terry through his decision. The attitude among Capello and his advisers is that there is no issue with Bridge being picked for future England squads.
Bridge was part of the Manchester City squad who watched the news break live on TV as they travelled to Hull ahead of their game today.
Terry was driven to the meeting direct from Chelsea's Cobham training ground but not before a decoy car had been used in an attempt to give reporters and photographers the slip. In a statement yesterday, Terry did not make any apology.
"I fully respect Fabio Capello's decision," he said. "I will continue to give everything for England."
Ferdinand was not informed that he had got the captaincy until after the meeting. Steven Gerrard, who originally lost out to Terry when Steve McClaren named the latter captain for the first time in August 2006, will be the vice-captain of the team.
During Terry's time as England captain, they won 18 games, drew six and lost four. (© Independent News Service)