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Fabio shows Terry who's boss

At last someone has done the decent thing. It may have taken England manager Fabio Capello the best part of a week to come to his decision but, when he relieved John Terry of the captain's armband yesterday, he reached the right end.

A considered one. An honourable one. The only one which could restore pride and honour to those who aspire to lead their country.

Terry might be a fine defender and natural leader of players on a football pitch. That has never been in doubt.

But leadership is more than shaking fists and screaming orders.

It is about commanding respect. It is about having the trust of all those around you.

Terry had lost both. He had lost the respect of some players after allegations he had an affair with Vanessa Perroncel, the ex-girlfriend of his England team-mate Wayne Bridge, also a former club-mate of Terry's at Chelsea.

That was clear from the wave of support for Bridge at Manchester City and elsewhere.

Capello would have asked himself whether, in the preparations for the World Cup and in the heat of South Africa itself, he could rely on an unbreakable bond between players and captain.

He believes that, after the revelations of last week, the answer is no.

The morality of Terry's behaviour, which has been debated by many over and over again, would have been part of Capello's thinking too.

When he took his £6m-a-year job, Capello held auditions for the captaincy and he said then the successful candidate would be a role model.



Salacious

On so many counts off the pitch Terry has let him down. Not just in salacious headlines. The defender was also accused of using his role as England skipper for personal gain when an agency, to which he was linked, included his status in an email offering his services to enhance their business.

Terry might have ridden out the storms if the latest furore had not involved a team-mate.

But in the past week Terry has become a figure of ridicule, taunted by supporters and his flaws and follies -- and there were many -- scrutinised by many in and out of the game.

"After much thought, I have made the decision that it will be best for me to take the captaincy away from John Terry," said Capello in a statement.

And it is best for the manager. No doubt. Even so, Capello could have done without such disruption five months away from the World Cup.

It appears Rio Ferdinand will take over the captaincy, with Steven Gerrard as his deputy, and there is logic in that considering they were the ones Capello auditioned when he took over.

But whoever wears the England captain's armband in South Africa, they have to accept that they have a responsibility which goes beyond what they do on the football pitch.

In so many ways the England captain has become a symbol for their nation. He embodies the emotion and the expectation which accompanies England at every major tournament. His face is in every newspaper and magazine. His thoughts are sought by media and fans alike.

He is the figure who encapsulates the English side. It is not always an enviable task. It can be onerous. But it is the greatest honour which can be bestowed on an England footballer.

Terry never quite got that.

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