The end came at 10am yesterday morning when David Bernstein, chairman of the Football Association, rang John Terry to inform him he was being stripped of the England captaincy.
Terry, pictured, who took the call at Chelsea's training ground in Surrey, was informed that he would not be considered to lead the national side until the completion of his trial on charges that he racially abused the Queens Park Rangers player Anton Ferdinand during a match last October.
Terry entered a not-guilty plea on Wednesday, whereupon his trial was set for 9 July, a week after the final of the European Championship. As England captain, Terry was due to lead the side to Poland and Ukraine, but Mr Bernstein and the FA board have decided they had to remove him from the position. He will still be available to play for England in the finals.
The decision was made without consulting Fabio Capello, the England manager. Two years ago, Terry had been similarly dismissed following newspaper allegations of an affair with Vanessa Perroncel, a former partner of Terry's former team-mate Wayne Bridge. Then, it was Capello who had made the decision and the Italian is believed to be unimpressed that it was taken out of his hands this time.
Mr Bernstein spent yesterday canvassing opinion of the FA board members before reaching a decision last night. An FA statement read: "Further to Wednesday's confirmation that the trial will not take place until after the tournament, the board has discussed the matter in detail and has collectively decided it is in the interests of all parties that John has the responsibilities of captaincy removed at this time.
"This decision has been taken due to the higher-profile nature of the England captaincy, on and off the pitch, and the additional demands and requirements expected of the captain leading into and during a tournament.
"This decision in no way infers any suggestion of guilt in relation to the charge made against John Terry."
Hugh Robertson, the Sport minister, who has been a critic of the FA's governance of the game, said: "I completely support the FA's decision. It would have been impossible for John Terry to have continued as captain with this charge over his head."