Affair looks like a scandal too far for skipper Terry
Controversial footballer now faces being stripped of England captaincy
Published 31/01/2010 | 05:00
John Terry is lauded for his leadership on the football pitch, scoring the winner for Chelsea yesterday -- but his well-publicised womanising, drinking and gambling have made him a controversial choice as England captain.
Until now, Terry's colourful private life has been largely ignored by a succession of club and international managers, but that could be about to change. The news that he has had an affair with the former girlfriend of Wayne Bridge, a player seen as a near automatic choice for England's World Cup squad, amounts to a major problem for manager Fabio Capello.
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Bridge, who was once one of Terry's best friends, is said to be "in bits" about the affair with Vanessa Perroncel, a French-born lingerie model who is the mother of Bridge's son Jaydon, three, and Capello can ill afford disharmony in the dressing room when England travel to South Africa in the summer.
Capello, a strict disciplinarian, can hardly claim he wasn't warned when he chose Terry as his captain.
Terry, 29, has been dogged by tabloid reports of affairs for years, and he was reported to have cheated on his girlfriend, and later wife, Toni Poole with at least eight women before they married in 2007. Terry said, before the wedding: "I've misbehaved and slept with girls behind her back and that's not right. She knows about it all now and we're moving on. I'm not going to cheat on her ever again." Terry married Poole at Blenheim Palace in a £1m ceremony which was largely funded by a deal with OK! magazine. Bridge and Perroncel were among the guests at the wedding. During the time Bridge played for Chelsea, he and Terry were near neighbours in Oxshott, Surrey. It is alleged that Terry began an affair with Perroncel, 33, after Bridge signed for Manchester City last January.
Perroncel, who refused to move to Manchester, was said to have ended their relationship, saying at the time that no one else was involved.
In 2001, Terry and three team-mates were fined two weeks' wages in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, when the players were accused of drunkenly mocking American tourists at Heathrow.
He was arrested in January 2002 after a fracas at a London nightclub in which a doorman was injured, and was later cleared of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, unlawful wounding, possessing a bottle as an offensive weapon and affray. In 2004, Terry and Bridge, together with a third player, were reported to have gambled £40,000 a week between them on horse and dog racing.
Last month Terry received the backing of the Football Association after he was exposed facilitating tours of Chelsea's training ground on behalf of a known ticket tout. Last year his father Ted Terry was filmed allegedly selling cocaine to an undercover reporter, months after his mother, Sue, had been cautioned for shoplifting.
East London-born Terry, who has three-year-old twins, Georgie John and Summer Rose, with Poole, holds the title of Dad of the Year, after winning a public poll run by Daddies Sauce. When he won the award last June he said: "My family mean the world to me."