Tuesday, 22 June 2010
Forget the scripted ‘apologies’ put forward by Wayne Rooney and John Terry this week. They were merely the FA’s attempts at firefighting the wreckage of England’s World Cup campaign.
No, the most eye opening revelation was Rooney’s impromptu outburst, spoken directly to the fans, at the final whistle in Cape Town on Friday.
There was Rooney without the backing of his media team, or the FA press officer, or his manager, it was his own views and I imagine one shared by the rest of the ‘senior’ (i.e. the most arrogant and therefore the most overpaid) players.
Rooney let out frustrations that have festered ever since their arrival in South Africa, be it with the strict regime of Fabio Capello or the cabin fever resulting from their relative isolation in Rustenberg as well as the poor performances on the field, where he and the rest of the players put in as dismal display as you will ever see from the Three Lions against Algeria on Friday.
But rather than that anger be rightly directed at himself and his team-mates, it was those perky fans who incurred his wrath. They had the ‘cheek’ to boo a rotten performance after travelling thousands of miles to support them. It is never their fault.
It gets better. John Terry, obviously forgetting he is not the captain anymore, decides to launch a public berating of Fabio Capello, dictating his methods, tactics and even team selection.
The problem with players like Terry, Rooney and Lampard is that they rule the roost at their clubs. They do what they want, are paid what they want and so have become so arrogant they oppose anyone who questions their authority.
We already know these players live in a different World to our own, but the reaction of a man who we thought was most in touch with his roots, who grew up on a council estate in Croxteth yet treats his own fans with such disdain, shows how distant they really are and the complete lack of empathy they have for the normal men and women who spend money they haven’t got to support the team.
Terry’s outburst also shows the chasm that now lies between the manager and players. The press have some many people to blame they are running out of ink, meanwhile we somehow have to pull together and salvage a World Cup we can still actually progress in if we beat Slovenia.
Do that and disaster will have been averted, but I can’t help but feel some of the cuts run to deep to ever truly heal.