Adrian Chiles, face like a bruised thumb, looks over at Jamie Redknapp, before a television audience of millions and says “Well, we should give John Terry credit for being man enough to accept responsibility for what he did tonight.” No Adrian, no. Let’s be very clear shall we? John Terry did not behave like a ‘man’ (whatever THAT means). No, he behaved like a spoiled child who had been caught doing wrong and had subsequently been caught lying about it. His assertion that he is ‘not that kind of player’ is staggering, his complete lack of self awareness is laughable (his description of the incident during half time was HILARIOUS). Following one of his previous high profile indiscretions, several Premiership players were asked for their thoughts on the former England captain. For me, the response of Craig Bellamy was the most telling. When asked to comment Bellamy replied simply “I don’t want to talk about John Terry. Everyone in the game knows what sort of man he is.” And Bellamy was right. Everybody knows. The players know, the managers know, and worse, the media knows. Outside of the Sky Sports bubble where everything is nice and players are role models and everyone has ‘respect’ for everyone else, the fans know too.
And let me be quite clear again. This is not meant as some kind of anti-Chelsea rant. Despite Terry, Drogba, Cole etc I have no issue with Chelsea. I have been to Stamford Bridge. I have sat and had a drink and talked and laughed with Chelsea fans. They all, to a man and woman seem like perfectly reasonable people. They deserve better. We all do.
Football is famously called ‘the peoples game’ though only a fool would imagine that this is still the case. We should all shoulder some of the responsibility for allowing the game to be taken away from us while we stood back, seduced by the bright lights and the big money. No more. The first baby step towards reclaiming our game from the millionaires, from the TV execs, and returning to the people is this. When Drogba (or Ashley Young or Luis Sanchez) cheat, the media should call them a cheat. When Arsene Wenger (or Ferguson or Dalglish) issue some ridiculous post match analysis, we should call them idiots. And we should acknowledge, often and at increasing volume, that yes John Terry, you are EXACTLY that kind of player and you have gotten away with this kind of idiocy only because we have allowed it. This was our game once. Let’s take it back.