Saturday 6 February 2010

Terry sacked as England captain

Following John Terry's sacking as England captain yesterday, I thought I'd better write a follow up after my earlier post in the week. I'm surprised by the decision as I thought Cappello would stick by him. It certainly says a lot about Capello's no nonsense manner.

I think the reason why Terry was sacked is that all the speculation about his private life was just too much of a distraction and would have remained so had he stayed as captain during the World Cup.

We saw this type of distraction during the last World Cup, with the side show of the 'Wags'. By sacking Terry, Capello has sent out a message that all the celebrity nonsense that surrounds English football will not be allowed to overshadow the England team.

I've heard a few people say things like 'I don't care about John Terry's private life, I'm not interested' For them it's all about the football.

I admit I've enjoyed reading all about it, in the sense that it's just general gossip and I like hearing a bit of gossip. It's a soap opera with a plot line more interesting than anything that's going on in Eastenders or Hollyoaks at the moment!

Having thought about things, it shows how big celebrity culture has become in recent years. Back in the 80's and 90's I didn't care about the personal lives of top England players, and I couldn't name any of their wives or girlfriends. Why did I need to know this stuff? They were just footballers, that's all you needed to know.

Today they're sports stars and celebrities, with the two worlds merging together. Because the celebrity side of things has become so huge, I now feel that I actually want to care about and have an opinion on these things, hence this post!

So where does Terry go from here? His reputation is in tatters, but he's only got himself to blame. Some footballers are like overgrown kids who don't want to take responsibility for their own actions.

As is the case with such things, more stories have emerged about his private life which makes me think that he's done well to keep them under wraps for so long! A case of 'chickens coming home to roost' and all that.

I found out this week that he's hired the PR advisor Phil Hall to handle the publicity surrounding him. It's interesting that this is the same Phil Hall who was responsible for advising the celebrity TV chef Gordon Ramsay, who had is own problems with extra marital affairs splashed across the tabloids.

As well as Ramsay, Phil Hall was also hired by RBS banker Fred 'The Shred' Goodwin' who last year was at the centre of adverse publicity about bankers bonuses and pensions. Clearly this Phil Hall loves a challenge!

It's getting to the stage where some young footballers at top clubs will need to have some kind of life coaching or training on how to deal with media scrutiny and managing their personal and professional lives to avoid such scandals.

In saying this, it's a very British thing to be so obsessed with the private lives of public figures. Hearing reports on how countries like France and Italy have covered this story, they all seem totally baffled by the reaction over here.

High profile men having affairs? They just shrug their shoulders and move on!

One of the things I've realised about this incident is that you can't totally separate your professional and privates lives from each other. The way you conduct your life in private will always on occasions impact on your work and how you're perceived professionally.

It's really telling how someone like Terry has tried to exploit his position as a footballer and celebrity for commercial gain, whilst failing to understand that this commercial success is in part linked to his own reputation built both on and off the pitch.

It seems obvious but for many footballers and other sports stars they don't quite get this. Maybe Terry can prove to be warning lesson for all future football stars on how private lives impact on professional success. I doubt it though!

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