Will this ridiculous story never die? John Terry, cleared in court in July, was found guilty of a Football Association charge relating to the comments he made during an altercation with Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand last October, and with the appeal process still to be run the fall-out continues to become more and more spectacular and pathetic.
So far, this affair has accounted for death threats, sickening club tribalism, Fabio Capello’s job, Terry’s captaincy, a bit of Rio Ferdinand’s pocket money and Terry’s England career. After the FA’s release today of its written reasons for banning and fining Terry over the incident, Terry’s club and country team-mate Ashley Cole could easily follow.
The FA report called Cole’s evidence into question, and earlier today, the Chelsea left back took to Twitter to lash out at the FA:
Hahahahaa, well done #fa I lied did I, #BUNCHOFTWATS
Quite apart from the dastardly mis-use of hashtags, Cole’s tweet was a staggering error of judgement that could spell the end of his England career on a tantalising cap count of 98. I have no great sympathy with the Football Association and the way it has handled the two major race rows on its hands over the past year, nor do I struggle to imagine that Cole is genuinely angry and feels he has every right to be so.
But this tweet just seems so utterly stupid. It is possible that Cole has already decided that he’s not willing to play for England after (as he perceives it) having been accused of lying by the FA, and that he really doesn’t care how this all shakes out for him.
With 98 caps to his name, just two short of becoming only the sixth player to win 100 caps for England, one has to think that a little studied patience might have been a more wise approach for Cole regardless of his grievance.
The options would have been better for him – he could have played two games and then issued a calm statement saying that he could not, on reflection, represent England any further after the report’s publication. He could have waited until after this coming weekend and issued the same statement, leaving his 99th and 100th caps hanging there to strengthen whatever point it is he’s trying to make.
But this is football. Everybody is always sinned against, and everything “our” clubs and its representatives do is always right. Everyone must instantly have their say, in as vicious and one-eyed a manner as possible.
Would it have been too much to ask for Cole to just button it and remember that he is a highly-paid professional and there are proper channels through which to air grievances? Of course it would. Much easier to label an institution as a “bunch of tw*ts” with no regard for the consequences.
Ashley Cole, by the way, is a 31-year-old man. He has also apologised (through his lawyers).