What will we learn from Terry's winning ways?
TIPPING POINT:How long can it be until the type of loathsome attitude exhibited by John Terry is seen here too as winning at any cost gets precedence, asks BRIAN O'CONNOR
JOHN TERRY can be a bit of a s**t sometimes. No one I reckon can quibble with that. After a decade of unfortunate headlines about parking his Bentley in a disabled spot, parking himself on Wayne Bridge’s other-half, taunting Americans just after 9-11 and racially abusing Anton Ferdinand, it is in fact generally assumed ‘JT’ is not the most elegant of men. But he is confident in his inelegance. And that can never be underestimated.
Those of us possessed of a similar s**tty quotient, but lacking the armour-plated self-belief to carry it off completely, know precisely how far confidence can get you, with work, with school, with hot women whose judgement is a bit wonky.
Mark Twain said you need only two things in life: ignorance and confidence. And that mix is a glaze on the cream dolloped on top of the pie that the fortunate few who remain unacquainted with the concept of doubt are allowed munch through life.
Terry, it can also be assumed, is just such a stranger to uncertainty. And as well as being his strongest plus point, it is also the former England captain’s biggest minus.
Even now it would be nice to think he could alter the habits of a lifetime and issue a brief statement apologising to Anton Ferdinand for calling him a “f***ing black c**t.”
It wouldn’t fix things, nor would it turn back time, but it would exhibit a little class and might dilute a lifetime of shame for himself and his family. Purely from a self-interest point of view – a view Terry is no stranger to – it is the way to go. In less than 10 years, his playing days will be over. If he doesn’t go into management, that will mean the end of having thousands of fans chanting aspersions on his mother’s character and all the rest of it. But the reputation of being racist is going to follow him far longer.
Except that’s not his way. Instead he is still mulling on an FA appeal, a step most impartial observers reckon has FA chance of succeeding, but which would be characteristic of the man.
It’s impossible to feel sorry for Terry. His words were horrible. Pointing out how they were said in the heat of the moment is no excuse, although it does provide a hint of context. Owning up immediately, proclaiming his idiocy, and begging Ferdinand’s forgiveness would have saved everyone concerned a lot of grief, maybe even salvaged his England career into the bargain. But that isn’t Terry’s way. Because the blind spot of all dumb arrogance is an inability to admit fault.