Terry coup plan backfires
ENGLAND'S desperate World Cup campaign was thrown into further disarray yesterday when an attempted challenge by John Terry on Fabio Capello's authority was met with an angry backlash by the former captain's team-mates.
Terry, who was sacked by Capello as captain in February, promised in his press conference yesterday that he would challenge his manager in last night's crucial team meeting and said he did not care if he upset the Italian. But his comments at yesterday's press conference, which were watched live by England players on TV, prompted derision and disbelief among the squad.
Apparently emboldened by the weakness of Capello's position after draws against the United States and Algeria, Terry said that he was ready for a no-holds-barred team meeting. He said: "If it upsets him (Capello) then I'm on the verge of just saying: 'You know what? So what?' I'm here to win it for England."
More than once over the three press conferences he gave yesterday, Terry positioned himself as the man to take on Capello at all costs, claiming he would challenge him over tactics. "We have done in the past, and will do if we feel it needs to be done," he said.
Three days ahead of the crunch game with Slovenia, England players were astonished that Terry, who many feel has been as disruptive as any player to the squad's preparations, had put himself up as their saviour and the man to challenge Capello. There are misgivings among the players about the boredom they endure spending enforced periods 'resting' in their rooms but they do not believe that Terry has the right to become their unofficial spokesman.
Many of them also privately note that, despite positioning himself as an outspoken leader, Terry has often failed to speak up during team meetings. There was also disquiet that Terry had made public the fact that the players were allowed to have a beer in their hotel after the Algeria game -- given it was a private moment and could be misinterpreted by an already disillusioned English football public.
Terry said: "We've got a meeting (last night) to watch the game and see where we went wrong. As a group of players, we owe it to ourselves and to everyone in the country that, if we feel there's a problem, there's no point in keeping it in. If we have an argument with the manager and it upsets him -- us expressing our opinions -- everyone needs to get it off his chest. That's exactly what we'll do."
Later he said again that he was going to tell Capello where he was going wrong. "He's feeling the same, the players are feeling the same and if we can't be honest with each other then there's no point in us being here."
Terry also said that he had been instrumental in persuading Capello and his key assistant Franco Baldini to relax one of their main rules after the Algeria game and allow the players to drink alcohol. Terry presented himself as the prime mover in forcing a change.
Terry said: "I don't want to say it was me but I went to see Franco after the game and said, 'Look, let everyone have a beer and speak to the manager. Flipping hell, let's just switch off'. We did. It was nice to see that side of the manager. Obviously, it was his birthday. He was sitting there with a bottle of red wine with the staff and it was nice."
"Since we have been here, I know me personally and other lads have been to him (Capello) and Franco and asked for certain things. Sometimes it is a 'Yes', sometimes it is a 'No'. More football than anything else. (At the meeting) if we see anything that needs to be changed we will go and do our job whether he says 'Yes' or 'No'. It is down to the manager and he will make the final decision."
There are understood to be concerns that Terry's behaviour within the camp has been disruptive. He has had differences of opinion on the training ground with members of Capello's staff.
Much of Terry's frustration seems to be connected to a remarkable misunderstanding on his part when he was sacked by Capello as captain in February that led the Chelsea man to believe that he could still one day get the job back. He was understood to be furious when Capello named Steven Gerrard as the replacement for the injured Rio Ferdinand this month.
(© Independent News Service)