Sunday, 21 March 2010

Terry's stark attack on German ref heaps further pressure on the man who must hold England together at the World Cup

THERE are those who say John Terry is cracking up under the strain. That the man ear-marked to lead England into the 2010 World Cup in South Africa is falling apart as the on and off field pressures rise inexorably at the climax of a long, tough season with Chelsea.
This morning we are told his scathing assessment of German referee Wolfgang Stark as Chelsea plunged out of the Champions League on Tuesday against his old foe Jose Mourinho's Inter Milan will land him in hot water. Scalding in fact. It may even boil over into a full-scale UEFA ban.
After Inter's niggly but necessary 1-0 win at Stamford Bridge completed a 3-1 aggregate defeat, Terry said: "It was a bad performance from us but a really bad performance from the referee.I'm not going to use the word conspiracy. But I'm so frustrated by what happened. The penalty on Didier Drogba was blatant and how the ref and his linesman missed it frustrates me.'
Terry defended his half-time and full-time rants at ref Stark, saying: 'When a decision didn't go our way Iwent to speak to the ref as captain - and he just turned his back on me.
'We spend two years talking about the Respect campaign and he refuses to talk to me. I pulled and pushed other players away and he turned his back.
'I wasn't shouting. I went to try to talk to him and when he wouldn't talk that is when I got frustrated. That is just pure disrespect.
'It is not good enough at this stage of the competition. We didn't get one decision. For two years running we've been let down by bad refereeing. We need to talk to UEFA.'
Last season, Didier Drogba and Jose Bosingwa received length European bans when they hit out at Norwegian referee Tom Henning Ovrebo as Chelsea crashed out against Barcelona at Stamford Bridge.
And of course, UEFA are unlikely to forget the death threats levelled at Sweden's Anders Frisk by angry Chelsea fans after their exit in 2005 - Frisk never really recovered from the Jose Mourinho-led attack and retired from the game.
Today, with Arsenal on top of the Premier League following their 2-0 win over West Ham yesterday, Terry and Chelsea must bounce back against Blackburn while Manchester United face a cracker against Liverpool.
Terry, whose father was in hot water of his own according to the newspapers on Friday, has already lost the England captaincy over his affair with Wayne Bridge's partner Vanessa Perroncel this season. The whole nation talked about the non-handshake with Bridge (pictured above) when Chelsea lost 4-2 to Manchester City. Every female columnist in Fleet Street attacked his wife Toni for taking him back.
Terry is under constant scrutiny - and accidentally injured a Chelsea steward as he raced away from Stamford Bridge is his Range Rover last Tuesday in another incident splashed all over the front pages.
But he won't back off. He won't ease the pressure on himself, showing off his captain's armband, insisting he is in control and having his say. He adds: '
'It must be looked at. We are disappointed but I can't look any further than the referee's performance. If I get myself in trouble, then so be it.'
Today against Blackburn we shall see if Terry can still perform under these conditions. As Chelsea push for the final two trophies available to them - the Premier League and FA Cup - the real John Terry will be on show.
Under the kind of pressures which would destroy most of us in everyday jobs, he has to deal with the £140,000-a-week scrutiny of bosses like Carlo Ancelotti and Roman Abramovich. It can't be easy. Watch the big man today. Decide for yourself whether he can play a pivotal role in South Africa this summer without cracking.
Personally, I think it might all get too much for the man. But Fabio Capello will be the judge of that.

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