Comment & analysis round-up
Quote of the day: “The club will give John and his family all the support they need in dealing with this.” – a statement from Chelsea.
Runner-up: “It’s shocking, absolutely shocking. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.” – Vanessa Perroncel.
Today’s overview: Sex. Football. Affairs. Betrayal between teammates. And the England captain.
The tabloids are in dreamland this Saturday as they get to character assassinate Chelsea and England captain John Terry after it emerged that JT had an affair with the girlfriend of his former teammate, Wayne Bridge.
The Mirror’s John Cross screams “Shamed John Terry facing axe as England skipper” before fleshing out details of the affair writing “father-of-two Terry, who is married to Toni Poole, was close friends with ex-Chelsea team mate Bridge who only split up with French model Perroncel in December.” Continuing the dish the dirt, fellow hack Rebecca Evans raised tensions writing “England captain John Terry cheated on his wife with the girlfriend of his best pal and ex-team mate Wayne Bridge. The shameless Chelsea star, 29, had a secret affair with French model Vanessa Perroncel, 33, who has a two-year-old son with Bridge.”
But how can Rebecca Evans justify her statement that Terry and Bridge were supposedly “best pals.” In a separate article the gossip-monger flimsily defended her position scribbling “Bridge became one of England skipper Terryâ€™s closest colleagues after signing for Chelsea in 2003. The two men lived within a few miles of each other in Surrey. They shared a love of dog and horse racing and Bridge was invited to Terryâ€™s stag night. Vanessa and Bridge, 29, were guests at Terryâ€™s Â£1million wedding to Toni Poole at Blenheim Palace in June 2007. Toni and Vanessa also became great mates â€“ a friendship cemented when they found they were pregnant at the same time.”
Over in the Daily Mail the “best pals” theme is extended to the two women of the story. Sam Greenhill scoffs “until last week, no one knew that Terry was having a secret sexual affair with Bridge’s girlfriend. When Miss Perroncel’s relationship with Bridge collapsed last July, it was to Terry’s wife Toni, her best friend, that she turned for support. The two women are even understood to have holidayed together. The court has not said when Terry’s affair began or how long it lasted, but there was one unconfirmed suggestion that it was still going as recently as last month.”
Kicking John Terry when he’s down, Paul Byrne seems only to happy to announce “this is not the first time married John Terry has been caught playing away. In September 2003 he allegedly romped with model Rebecca Ryan while in the England hotel in Manchester for a Euro 2004 qualifier… He also scored with Nicola Ulian, 27… Lianne Johnson, 21, claimed she had sex with Terry in a nightclub toilet in April 2005, even though she had a broken leg and was on crutches.”
Also laying into JT is hack Richard Pendlebury. “Even by the skewed moral standards of today’s professional football, John Terry is in a class of his own. Public drunkenness and urination, brawling, serial philandering and other regular displays of boorishness had been no impediment to his being England captain.”
Stressing how bad the episode is for John Terry, Sam Wallace commented “there is not much that passes for a moral code among the young wealthy men who earn millions as Premier League footballers but Terry has still managed to break it with his latest claimed transgression.”
So what happens next for John Terry?
Beginning the defence of JT, Oliver Kay argues against automatically stripping the Pensioner of his England armband. “Donâ€™t sack him because of allegations he had an extra-marital fling. Whether the allegations are true or not, they have no relevance to his ability to continue to be one of the best centre halves in the world… Terry is a giant of a player. He is a man who leads by example on the football pitch and that is the only example that matters.”
Martin Lipton is less matter-of-fact about Terry keeping the England captaincy, hauntingly jotting “if there is more dirt to come out, at all, then it is difficult to see how he could resist that as well. Even if you are not a gambler, JT, you have to put all your cards on the table now, and let Fabio decide what he thinks of your hand.”
Going to the other extreme, Matt Lawton forwards himself as the defender of family values and decency bleating that not only is JT’s England captaincy in doubt but “Terry could even miss the World Cup if Fabio Capello decides that his presence seriously destabilises the squad and jeopardises their chances of success in South Africa.”
Henry Winter is convinced JT will lose his standing in England. “Unless Terry somehow pulls off his greatest ever piece of defending, surviving the firestorm of headlines hurtling his way, then it would be little surprise if England were led out by Rooney for their first World Cup game against the United States in Rustenburg on June 12.
Lastly, Oliver Kay states his belief that “Terry is a contradiction, living in a manner that suggests he can get away with anything in his life when, in reality, he can get away with nothing. He lives by his own rules… but he does so in the knowledge that impeccable, unimpeachable standards are expected of him. It is an impossible combination. There is a naivety here, but it is underpinned either by extreme arrogance or extreme stupidity.”
Away from the Terry scandal, Terry Venables jumps on top of calls on Friday that Wayne Rooney is the “white Pele” by twisting the analogy just slightly to say “Rooney is the nearest thing to Diego Maradona these shores have ever produced.” Clasping onto typical stereotypical cliches, Venables chugs “just like Maradona, Rooney is a talisman to those who play with him at United and increasingly more so, England… Like Maradona, he knows where the target is and like the Argy legend, he can score all types of goals.”
Contrasting Venables’ wafer-thin analysis, Henry Winter is at pains to details Rooney’s on-field strengths. “Rooney has the mettle to play with his back to goal if required, to take the hits from centre-halves. He has the faith in his first touch to keep demanding the ball, however tight the space. He chases loose balls and lost causes without hesitation. He makes mistakes but never hides.”
Staying with United, Des Kelly throws his weight behind the fans’ green and yellow campaign to try and remove the Glazers from power. “The anti-Glazer protests have actually re-animated the fan base. When Unitedâ€™s late winner went in, a huge swathe of Old Trafford was waving green and gold scarves. It was a bizarre, inspiring sight, because the message from the crowd was quite clear: ‘We support our team, weâ€™ll enjoy our win – and weâ€™ll despise the Glazers throughout.'”
Bad news for Spurs fans this weekend as Marc Isaacs prints “Tottenham winger Aaron Lennon has suffered a fresh setback and could need a hernia operation just four months before the start of the World Cup.”
Staying with bad news, Alex Cook writes “Avram Grant will take charge of Portsmouth at Manchester City on Sunday but it may be the last time he sends a team out as manager of the troubled south coast club.”
With just days left in the transfer window, clubs are frantically trying to tie up some late deals.
In the Mirror, Burnley are linked with Chelsea’s Jack Cork, Liverpool are chasing Marouane Chamakh and Milan Jovanovic on free transfers as well as West Ham defender James Tomkins, Arsenal are also eying Chamakh plus Nice forward Loic Remy, Spurs have turned down Birmingham’s approach for Roman Pavlyuchenko while they plan to sell Robbie Keane to Sunderland, and Newcastle are upping their pursuit of Crystal Palace striker Victor Moses.
The Sun claim Bolton has completed the loan signing of Jack Wilshere, while the Daily Mail report that Birmingham are still tracking Ryan Babel. Also in the Mail we learn that Manchester City have made a Â£7million move for Parma midfielder McDonald Mariga while Benjani will move to Sunderland, and Fulham finally look set to sign Stefano Okaka on loan form Roma. Lastly in the Mail, West Ham are reported to be back in for Celtic striker Scott McDonald.