History relates that back in 1823, William Webb Ellis, a pupil at Rugby Public School, was clearly bored with the game of football, and in a fit of madness, picked up the ball and ran with it.  History does not relate where he ran with it, but presumably back to his house for an early bath. A somewhat preposterous claim, but he is credited with inventing the game of Rugby football. 

Since then, association football has been called a gentleman’s game played by hooligans, and Rugby football as a hooligan’s game played by gentlemen. How times have changed.  Neither game can lay claim to the sobriquet ‘gentlemen’, and both games are clearly played by hooligans.

The advent of television and the Premier League has thrust football into every living room, and hardly a day goes by without a match being played by overpaid hooligans snotting and gobbing and diving for at least ninety minutes, and often longer.

It was once said by Karl Marx, the author of Das Kapital, that religion is the opium of the masses.  No longer, as football is now the opium of the masses. Week after week, thousands congregate on the terraces, dressed in identical kit to their team, shouting, screaming and singing obscene songs.

All this brings me seamlessly to John Terry, the former captain of England and still the captain of Chelsea, who has recently been found guilty of bringing the game into disrepute by calling an opponent a fucking black cunt, even though he was acquitted of racial abuse in a criminal court. To add spice to this farrago, Ashley Cole, Terry’s team mate and character witness at the criminal trial, has called the FA disciplinary committee a bunch of twats.  As they say, it takes one to know one, and Cole now faces disciplinary proceedings of his own.  As a footnote, it should be added that Cole is also a regular player for the England team.

This three ring circus would not be complete without Roy Hodgson, the manager of the England team, an unassuming man with no obvious credentials for the job, but he is English and regarded by the FA as a safe pair of hands. To quote Churchill, he is a modest man with much to be modest about.

At a time when discretion and sensitivity should have been uppermost in his mind, Hodgson revealed in casual conversation with a complete stranger on the London Underground that Rio Ferdinand’s career with England is almost certainly over, despite the loss of Terry, a sad loss indeed.  For those of you who follow football, you will know that Rio is the brother of Anton, the “fucking black cunt”.

Hodgson’s contribution to this increasingly ugly state of affairs is to bemoan the foul mouthed Terry’s decision to retire from international football and to confirm to “Twat” Cole that his international place is secure.  As for Rio Ferdinand, it is well known not just to the complete stranger on the Underground but to the footballing fraternity at large that he will no longer be a part of his plans. Some plans!

The only people emerging with their dignity intact seem to be the Ferdinand brothers. Since 1966, our finest hour and a half, English international football has been in the doldrums. It has been poorly led, both on and off the field, and the only players in the Premier League worth spit, and there’s plenty of that, are foreign imports.

I’ve had enough! I’ve cancelled my Sky subscription and rediscovered books, reading and writing them in equal measure and feeling better for it.


The Football Association is agonising over the role of John Terry, the Chelsea and England footballer, and the part he will play in the forthcoming European Championships.  These will be played in June and July, and on past form, the English team will be back home in short order.

 As you will know, Terry faces allegations of racial abuse, and his legal advisers have persuaded the court to list the trial after the final of the Championships.  So the FA is faced with the prospect of Terry leading out the English team with a serious charge hanging over him, but his supporters point out that he is innocent until convicted, and to strip him of the captaincy, or worse still, to exclude him from the team altogether, would be tantamount to an admission of guilt.

It is worth remembering how Terry finds himself before the court.  After a police investigation, the Crown Prosecution Service were consulted, and after the usual navel gazing, decided to bring the charge.  There is a standard procedure adopted by the CPS before they bring a charge.  After considering the evidence, which includes any statements in denial from Terry, the CPS has to determine if there is a reasonable prospect of conviction.  That is the key to this matter, and one that should not be overlooked.

Needless to say, the test applied by the CPS does not mean that Terry will be convicted, it simply means that there is enough evidence to place before the court and, if accepted, would be sufficient to found a conviction.  As the lawyers would have it, there is a prima facie case to answer.

So if Terry is to play in the European Championships, and especially if he is to captain the team, the world and his dog will know that he stands accused of racially abusing a black player during a football match.  There are now dozens, if not hundreds, of black football players throughout Europe, and the world and his dog will hold its breath every time Terry goes into a sliding tackle on a black opponent.

And what happens if a black player, having felt the full force of one of Terry’s trademark tackles, complains that he has been racially abused?  After all, there’s no smoke without fire, and Terry is placing himself in an invidious position.

There are two options: bring the trial forward to a date before the start of the Championships.  If Terry is acquitted, end of story, and he is free to get on with the job he does best without a stain on his character.  Or, the less preferred option, exclude him from taking any part in the Championships, and possibly damage even further England’s faint hopes of putting on a good show. 

And what if he is subsequently acquitted?  The FA will finish with egg on their faces, not the first time, and Terry’s legal advisers will almost certainly seek substantial compensation for their innocent and rightly aggrieved client.

Time to rethink the whole sorry mess!