Chelsea must wake up to reality
Published: 15.10.12 / Written by: David Gold
Chelsea are finding themselves increasingly isolated and backed into a corner over the John Terry fiasco.
Now not only has he been found guilty of using racist language towards Anton Ferdinand, in spite of his denials and a court finding him innocent, but his team mate and fellow moron Ashley Cole has waded into the controversy. Accused of being an unreliable witness, Cole did what any footballer would in that situation. Failed to engage his brain and published something immediately on Twitter.
Cole has since apologised, been welcomed back into the England fold and allowed to pose for pictures with the British royal family. He may yet be fined, but what difference is that going to make? Fining a highly renumerated Premier League footballer is completely pointless. Cole has got off lightly, and the acceptance of his apology is shameful. It is time that actions meant more than words. For Cole, he is good at using words to get out of tight situations, but his actions betray an immaturity and the behaviour of a man who does not deserve to wear the England shirt.
One of the few who deserve to wear that shirt less than Cole, is Terry of course. He is now mulling over whether to appeal his suspension after being found guilty of using racist language. Essentially, the FA acknowledge he is no racist, and have banned him for having uttered a racist word, regardless of its intent. Given that, context aside, Terry admits using the words in question, what exactly his defence is meant to be is beyond comprehension. Perhaps his expensively assembled lawyers will point this out to him.
Then again, maybe not. But now is time for Chelsea to act. They profess to be against racism in all its forms, yet their captain continues to lead them out on the field each week after being found guilty of using racist language. The club have not taken any action against him. Sure, they should wait until the outcome of Terry's appeal, if he submits one, but once that happens, something must be done. The whole club seem to be trying to wriggle out of the hole on this one. Liverpool were lambasted for the way they responded to the Luis Suarez situation last year yet Chelsea's behaviour is arguably worse. Liverpool argued a genuine case, which was plausible, if not excusable. There seemed a genuine misunderstanding but it was right that Suarez was punished to send out a message.
With Terry, there is no acknowledgement of wrongdoing and the club appear indifferent to forcing it. Their secretary was dismissed as an unreliable witness alongside Cole for changing their evidence, and Chelsea continue to hide behind the ongoing proceedings. The fans at Stamford Bridge continue to voice their support for their disgraced captain, but such actions are a disgrace to the game. The blind loyalty shown by Chelsea is moronic. There are issues bigger than football.
Manchester United are a shining example of how a club should act in such a situation. In 1995, when Eric Cantona launched himself into a fan at a match with Crystal Palace, he was banned by the club before the FA even took action. He missed the rest of the season, one in which United narrowly missed out on the title. That despite him being essential to the team at the time. That was a team who recognised that some things matter more than football, and more importantly, a team with pride and dignity.
Chelsea, if they fail to act, will lose theirs.