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John Giles: Bosses take hit when players fool around

JUST a few months ago, Italian managers seemed to have all the answers but recent days have shown that Capello, Ancelotti and Mancini are subject to the same fundamental rule of football. Anything can happen and often does.

They are all good managers and in any type of business the best talent will always follow the money or in the case of this latest fashion for Italian coaches, the money will reach out to them.

But no matter how high the wage or how impressive the CV, there isn't a manager alive who can legislate for the type of scenarios that Mancini, Ancelotti and Capello are dealing with at the moment.

I don't think Giovanni Trapattoni needed to learn the lesson before Paris and I don't think that the other three worthy gentleman need to be tutored in the subject either.

They all know that they are a bad bounce or a poor referee away from the sack and that the nature of their employment is at all times fragile.


But they can hardly be expected to combine the role of marriage counsellor, agony aunt or even midwife with the standard job specification.

Between John Terry and Ashley Cole, a mess has been created which could yet derail Chelsea's season and seriously undermine England's World Cup challenge.

The issues which have arisen are personal and have nothing to do with football, yet I have no doubt that Terry's marital problems have impacted on his performance level and, in turn, weakened Chelsea.

The Terry affair rumbles along in the media and the latest chapter saw Wayne Bridge withdraw from the England squad. Bridge's action has now initiated an even more treacherous set of circumstances for Capello.

I have no doubt that there will be players within the England squad who will be deeply unhappy about the way Terry has behaved and even less comfortable with the notion that Bridge should have to take the hit.

That can't be good for morale and to add insult to injury for Capello, Terry's form has been poor in Chelsea's last three games. If that becomes something more than a temporary glitch, England have real problems at the back.

There is still time for some sort of accommodation between Bridge and Terry to be worked out before Capello must name his final World Cup squad but not much hope that this will happen.

More immediately, Ancelotti must be pulling his hair out watching Terry's problems impact on his season and that was before the Cole saga took flight.

The fact that Cole cannot play for the next three months will only salt the wound. Ancelotti is dealing with a full-blown crisis at Stamford Bridge over which he has no control and which is being acted out on the front pages of the tabloids.

It was very telling that Roman Abramovich felt he had to step in and draw a line in the sand for his players but it came too late to have any real impact.

I notice that Alex Ferguson has banned some of the trappings of modern football and told his academy players not to wear personalised boots.

Once again, it's a worthy effort but far too late. The genie is out of the bottle and as long as footballers are paid as much as they are, what they do when they are not playing football will be the subject of intense scrutiny.


As is the case with Carlos Tevez. How can football prepare Mancini for the circumstances surrounding his Argentinean striker?

I can just imagine one of the Leeds lads ringing Don Revie in my day to tell him that the arrival of a baby was taking longer than expected and that he should expect him when he sees him.

I can remember standing in the tunnel before a Fairs Cup game in Spain against Valencia when the club doctor told me that Catherine, my second born, had just arrived into the world.

Cynics might suggest that Revie knew what he was doing when he made sure I got the telegram right before the game; a bit of motivation before the battle.

If it was, it worked very well! I was walking on air, scored after 15 minutes and we won 2-0 pulling up.

Those were very different days but footballers weren't alone. For reasons of necessity, most men could not spend time hanging around a hospital and had to work.

Not any more, and Mancini can do little but pray that nature takes its course rapidly.