James Lawton: Sadness and anger over the ultimate betrayal - News & Comment - Football - The Independent

James Lawton: Sadness and anger over the ultimate betrayal

The whole adventure of his appointment is a sorry story of colliding professional values

Fabio Capello wouldn't bend and if such a capacity is what you want in the leader of the national team there is a time and a place when it is best expressed.

This was neither the time nor the place, which means that what we have in place of unshakeable principle is something that is hard not to see as betrayal. There is an argument that Capello was within his rights to object to a decision made over his head – and without any consultation – but then this is maybe more than balanced by the nature of the problem.

The issue, the £6m man refused to see, wasn't about his right to make a certain selection or preserve a particular captain, however weighed down by the accumulated baggage of two increasingly desperate years.

It was to accept the belief – clearly expressed by his employers – that some matters move far beyond the touchlines of any football pitch. They concern how you deal with a situation carrying more significance than one football match or a decent showing in a major tournament.

The question isn't John Terry's innocence or guilt in the charge that he racially abused Anton Ferdinand. It is whether it is in the best interests of everyone concerned that he remains captain under the shadow of the court case which will not be decided until after this summer's European Championship finals.

Capello returned yesterday – after an interview on Italian television that seemed to represent something close to calculated insubordination – in open defiance of such a proposition. Terry as his captain, he made clear, was the only foundation on which he would conclude a regime which seemed to have reached rock bottom in the World Cup in South Africa.

It was brinkmanship which, short of some appalling climbdown on principle by the Football Association board which decided that Terry's situation made him untenable as captain, could end in only one way. The result is, of course, one chaotic and divisive situation heaped upon another.

The result is that English football is made, once again, a laughing stock. However, on this occasion, apart from the issue of consultation with Capello, the FA presents an easy target only to those who failed to recognise that it came to its decision on Terry's captaincy in the middle of an extraordinarily difficult dilemma

Capello's newfound enthusiasm for Terry must surely come as something of a surprise, in view of the fact that so recently the Italian took just a matter of minutes to dismiss him in the wake of the controversy over his alleged affair with the former partner of an ex-Chelsea team-mate, Wayne Bridge.

Then the case, in Capello's eyes as well as those of most of the football community, seemed open and shut. Terry had caused a huge split in the England camp. Now it seems that Terry is integral to England's hopes of making any kind of success of the European finals. This is despite the fact that the extent of the current division in the England squad seems nearly identical to the one created by the original affair.

Capello's decision to walk last night makes the whole adventure of his appointment a sorry story of missed opportunity and colliding professional values. The Italian wanted to create his own closed world of discipline and control – and then he found here a world where players had become used to following many of their own instincts.

The first breaking point came in the team's isolated training centre in the South African veld. The second came when members of the England team, and not least the influential Rio Ferdinand, brother of Anton, made clear their unhappiness with the Terry situation.

Last night it happened, the end of the project and so the silencing of any serious hope that Capello might salvage something from the wreckage of his work in England. If there was sadness, there must also be anger. This was a trial of strength that went badly wrong, obscuring not only a sense of coherent action but any semblance of a common cause for the benefit of English football.

Harry Redknapp's day of deliverance thus ended, surely, in fresh doubts about the viability of a job so many believe he was born to do.

More on England...

From dentist's chairs to fake sheikhs: England's pre-tournament crises

Fabio Capello: The highs and lows in charge of England

Who's next? The contenders to replace Fabio Capello

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
News
peopleThe report and photo dedicated to the actress’s decolletage has, unsurprisingly, provoked anger
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
property
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
The programme sees four specialists creating what they believe are three perfect couples, based on scientific matchmaking. The couples will not meet until they walk down the aisle together
tvUK wedding show jilted
Arts and Entertainment
US pop diva Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, president of Turkmenistan
musicCorporate gigs become key source of musicians' income
Arts and Entertainment
You've been framed: Henri Matisse's colourful cut-outs at Tate Modern
artWhat makes a smash-hit art show
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
Sport
Mikel Arteta pictured during Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal
champions league
Voices
Yes supporters gather outside the Usher Hall, which is hosting a Night for Scotland in Edinburgh
voicesBen Judah: Is there a third option for England and Scotland that keeps everyone happy?
Arts and Entertainment
Pulp-fiction lover: Jarvis Cocker
booksJarvis Cocker on Richard Brautigan
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke and Pharell Williams in the video of the song, which has been accused of justifying rape
music...and he had 'almost no part' in writing it
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week