JT’s week gets worse
With Richard Willcox
Just when John Terry thought his week couldn’t get any worse, after being shown a straight red for an act of stupidity in the Champions League semi-final, he’s going to be making the news again for all the wrong reasons.
Terry was sent off for Chelsea in their second-leg clash against Barcelona on Wednesday night, in an off-ball incident in which he walked up and kneed Sanchez in the back, deliberately. This was followed by a hollow apology in which he claimed that ‘he was not the type of guy who did that kind of thing’ despite the fact, that by definition, in doing that type of thing, you become that guy. That might sound a little philosophical for JT, but for everyone else it’s pretty logical.
He can’t consider himself down on his luck however. His Chelsea team-mates put in the performance of a lifetime to ensure Chelsea progressed to the final. It could have been much worse if they had not pulled off that miracle. Yes, he misses the final, but it could have been much worse.
And while rumours were circulating that he might not be allowed to lift the Cup, as captain, should Chelsea overcome Bayern Munich, UEFA were quick to put paid to speculation by confirming that he would be allowed. He will have to watch from the stands however.
This was of course the latest in a string of controversies the England Captain has been embroiled in. Perhaps the most serious, according to everyone other than Wayne Bridge, was the ongoing allegation and subsequent charge of racial abuse against Anton Ferdinand (QPR). The case is to be heard on July 9th this year.
And so the big question was, would Anton Ferdinand, and his team-mates, shake JT’s hand ahead of the match on Sunday between Chelsea and QPR? The last time these two teams met back in January (and the first meeting since the incident), the FA called the handshake off, with mixed reactions from fans and pundits. There were no plans to do so again – so the question remained, would JT be extended the hand of friendship?
Earlier today we had our answer without even having to wait for the game – Anton Ferdinand had been advised by his lawyers NOT to shake John Terry’s hand, for fear it could prejudice the forthcoming trial.
Cue panic at the FA. They had already turned down a request from the QPR board to have the customary pre-match handshake abandoned – it wouldn’t be very sportsmanlike. But knowing that this was now going to happen, that Ferdinand and perhaps the entire QPR team, would not shake his hand, they had little option. In front of a packed Stamford Bridge, things could get ugly.
And so, a little under an hour ago, we had this statement from the FA:
“The Premier League position on the pre-match handshake convention remains consistent.In all normal circumstances it must be observed. However, after discussions with both Chelsea and Queens Park Rangers about the potential and specific legal context in relation to John Terry and Anton Ferdinand the decision has been taken to suspend the handshake convention for Sunday’s match.”
Does this mean drama will be avoided at the ‘Bridge on Sunday? I highly doubt it. Chelsea’s fans have a habit of getting behind their captain no matter what. And Ferdinand has reiterated his commitment to playing for the team this weekend, so it’s going to be another feisty affair for sure.
So here’s my question – are the FA right to again call off the pre-match handshake?
Would love to hear everyone’s opinions…