February 7th, 2012
08:36 PM ET

Why is the England football team always in a crisis?

Fabio Capello had stood by John Terry despite him being stripped of the England captaincy. (Getty Images)
Fabio Capello had stood by John Terry despite him being stripped of the England captaincy. (Getty Images)

What is it about the England national team? Hardly a year goes by where it is not afflicted by some sort of scandal.

Whether it is caused by something a player or coach says or does, or by a decision taken by the Football Association, it seems there is always something wrong in the England camp.

Fabio Capello's shock decision to resign, after the FA's decision to strip John Terry of the captaincy, is just the latest - and certainly one of the biggest - controversies to surround the England set-up.

Obviously Capello felt he was backed into a corner by not being consulted over the decision to remove Terry, and made his feelings known in very public fashion on Italian TV at the weekend.

However, I believe English football’s governing body made the right call, considering Terry is facing charges of racially abusing a black player, Anton Ferdinand, during a Premier League game last year.

Whether he is guilty or not, it is my belief he shouldn’t be leading his nation into battle at Euro 2012 until his name is cleared.

Now whether the FA chiefs should have spoken with Capello before announcing their decision to the world is another matter, although it seems to me nothing would have changed their minds regardless of what the Italian would have had to say.

But there is no doubt that it has left England in a right mess, with only four months left before the next major tournament kicks off - the Euro 2012 finals in Poland and Ukraine.

So, back to my original question: Why are England constantly haunted by turbulence and turmoil? In my opinion it comes down to two factors.

The first has to do with the high expectations people in England have for athletes who represent their nation. If you put on the white shirt, you have to be close to perfect. You have to be 100% committed to the cause and you have to say and do the right things all the time, on and off the pitch.

Obviously when you are putting normal human beings on such a high pedestal, you are asking for them to fail. Especially if you consider that these guys are followed by cameras and microphones everywhere they go. Sooner or later they will make a mistake, and the press will be there to catch it.

Which leads me to the second factor – the profile of the media in the United Kingdom. It is incredibly powerful and influential, meaning they are scared of nothing and no-one.

In many countries, journalists may find out certain information that could compromise a certain player or coach, but they don’t make it public because they are scared of the consequences. They know perfectly well that if they revealed a particular scandal then they would affect the relationship their publication or channel has with a particular football association or club.

Well, in England, that just does not happen. Journalists know they have the full support of their employers, and will leave no stone unturned in pursuit of the truth. They feel that they can report anything no matter how inconvenient it is, if they have the facts to back it up.

Obviously, as we saw recently with the News of the World scandal, reporters can take it too far, but by and large, they remain responsible and stick to following the ethical code of journalism.

This is why there has been, and why there will always be, so much turmoil around the England team. Considering the profile of the players, the high expectations and the power of the press, you have all the ingredients for a combustible formula which is not going to change anytime soon.

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soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. Sir Cecil

    The English sporting media RARELY have evidence to back up their claims. They call their sources "insiders" or someone"connected" to a player or club. They make up whatever they like. Only last Sunday, CNN's own Brit Piers Morgan stated on US national TV that John Terry had been accused of an affair with an England colleague's WIFE. This, as Morgan knows full well (having written at length on the subject for the English press) is untrue. The woman concerned was an EX-GIRLFRIEND of a player who had long since left her and lived in a different city. Not a "wife" at all. Morgan spouted misinformation but does he care? If so, where's his apology for misleading the public?

    February 7, 2012 at 10:54 pm | Reply
    • USAmerican

      US national team > Englands national team and nobody here cares or even likes soccer lol. You guys need a new national pastime maybe cricket or badminton which don't require any physical talent lol.

      October 12, 2013 at 4:30 pm | Reply
  2. Rogers Akabu Ladner.

    I agree totally and completely with the second factor. There is too much media freedom and those so called journalists don't give a damn abt how the news affects the team. All they care abt is increasing sales 4 their media groups.

    February 8, 2012 at 12:39 am | Reply
  3. jimbo

    This is beyond madness. I am a football fan, but nobody really cares about this story. Nobody is talking about it in pubs, workplaces or twitter. It isn't a crisis. Just the media inventing news out of thin air and bombarding us with it to make it into a big deal (again). Journalists don't really know much about the game, have to fill 24 hours of news, and rather than comment about the football game, focus instead on tabloid journalism and tedious celebrity culture. It will kill the game.

    February 8, 2012 at 10:22 am | Reply
  4. Christian

    I say Just let him coach and just watch what happens if he messes up one more time than put in another coach but at least give him a chance

    February 8, 2012 at 11:59 am | Reply
  5. Reeves' Army

    Why "always in crisis"? They set themselves up for it. John Terry has always been a world-class d-bag, "affair" notwithstanding. This is the guy who insulted American tourists at Heathrow on 9/11.

    February 8, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Reply
  6. Max

    John Terry is both a great player and a tribute to English football. The FA should not have stripped him of his captaincy, as he is innocent until proven guilty by the English courts.
    Fabio is right to stand behind his man. As for the English media its the best in the world where freedom of speech prevails.

    February 8, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Reply
  7. Wayne pollard

    JUST HEARD THE NEWS, FABIO OUT.........WOW
    FANTASTIC NEWS FOR ANYONE WHO WANTS ENGLAND TO DO WELL IN THE EUROS.NOW IT'S HARRY'S TIME,AND ITS ABOUT TIME.
    FAIR PLAY TO FABIO FOR STICKING BY HIS PLAYERS BUT THIS IS A GOOD RESULT FOR THE TEAM.

    February 8, 2012 at 7:48 pm | Reply
  8. Abudlio

    Dear Pinto,
    you just gave out your opinion of Capello's resignation as coach of the England National team. I am not agree completely on what you said about Capello in your interview on Quest means business tonight. Before to come out with such criticism against Capello you should wait and read the right motivations that push Capello to give up.

    February 8, 2012 at 7:57 pm | Reply
  9. Phil

    Raised and played in American sport – not well, the latter – and by no means an expert, but a long time fan of soccer, ahem, I make this observation: England's players are primadonnas and until prepared to 'give one' for the team, they'll remain so, regardless of individual or who coaches (manages) them. Most certainly, I do not know John Terry, but he seems stereotypical.

    February 8, 2012 at 9:01 pm | Reply
  10. Lex

    German put on the white shirts and had extremely high expectations from the country and they won 3 World Cup titles and 3 European Championships so your #1 point is completely invalid.

    February 8, 2012 at 9:09 pm | Reply
  11. Jim Wood

    It will be fascinating to see if and when Harry Redknap will be released by Spurs – assuming he is offered the job and is prepared to accept it – and even more fascinating to see what changes he makes to the team. The only certainty is that whatever changes he does make will inevitably be for the better. He has consistently proved himself to be a class act in the selection and motivation of football players.
    I still cant understand why the West Ham Fans didn't tar and feather the club directors responsible for dumping him – but what a blessing it was for Pompey, Soton and Spurs.

    February 8, 2012 at 10:57 pm | Reply
  12. Michael Anakwe

    The ever righteous English FA along with the so called independent media have yet again pressed the self-destruct button. For the first time in decades or since 1966, The English National football team have managed to create a team capable of re-enacting the golden era that climaxed in the sixties. yet for the umpteenth time one scandal or the other had prevented this from happening. I doubt if it will ever happen. The question of Mr. Terry's innocence or guilt is obviously irrelevant considering the turn of events. the FA ;s petulance and prejudice is suffice. These things will not suddenly purge the sport or country for that matter from a nature that is intrinsic. Even in their closets, offices n churches the Englishman is a racist. Playing for the gallery will not erase any memory. Good luck Mr. Capello. on a racial i can hear a lot clamoring for an Englishman as a substitute. Please, Mr pinto isn't this racial enough?

    February 8, 2012 at 11:58 pm | Reply
  13. luckner Quick laventure

    Mr pinto how are you iam in st maarten na i was just listening to you in world sport saying barcelona is top on the list how ever all the other information point to real is still the top money making club for last year as well , so if you don't mind i would like to know where you get your information from so that i can look at it thank you have a great day

    February 10, 2012 at 12:02 am | Reply
  14. Emmanuel

    Dear Pedro,

    You never cease to amaze me. Doing an interview on racism on CNN with all white ex football players. Strange. Where were BLACK PLAYERS!!!! ?????

    February 10, 2012 at 8:19 am | Reply
  15. alehandro

    Isn't it a journalists' job to "leave no stone unturned in pursuit of the truth"? Anything less, and your reporting is worthless is it not? And if you're suggesting the football media in Britain has free rein to lie about players and clubs without fear of consequences, have you tried to cross Sir Alex Ferguson lately? The BBC did and he refused to talk to them for years!..Furthermore, aren't players in Spain, Germany and even your beloved Portugal expected to give 100% on and off the pitch?..Yet
    they still manage to weather the burden of expectation well enough. Man,your explanation of England's serial crisis is leakier than San Marino's defense....I think the reason England stumble from crisis to perceived crisis is due to the high profile of the BPL which means EVERYTHING related to the English game is seen as newsworthy. You in the media (yes, CNN as much as any British tabloid) are in the business of selling your product and an "England" story is manna from heaven, with the result that you milk it for all it's worth and more. I don't believe the media has a cavalier attitude to reporting on England but I do believe there's safety in numbers and a certain amount of consensus journalism affords you license to speculate on the truth. After all, what is the English FA going to do in reaction to a negative story –ban all media from contact with England? Ain't gonna happen. As a consequence the England team is under the domestic and global microscope like no other, and every little missed step is blown out of proportion by the sheer weight of coverage. Is a change in the captaincy really such a crisis? Isn't the captaincy essentially an honorary position? If so, then a change in the guy calling the coin toss is hardly a crisis is it? If you haven't got 11 "leaders" on the field you haven't got a prayer of winning anything anyway. And even Capello's departure, (which was widely predicted despite your personal "shock") - is it really such a big deal? He presided over one disastrous World Cup. He was leaving after the Euros anyway, and the England manager's contact with the team prior to the tournament will be minimal, so if it's a new man at the helm in Ukraine & Poland is it really such a crisis, especially as the players available to him will not change and the criticism of England is that they always play the same way whoever is at the helm. So you see "crisis" is very much in the eye of the beholder, and, as long as bad news sells, England will frequently be in one.

    February 10, 2012 at 7:25 pm | Reply
  16. Libra

    The England squad is always in turmoil because English football is managed by riff raff. It begins from the top, the owners, a growing number of whom have no football culture at all, and trickles down through the management and onto the pitch. Blaming it on the fans with high expectations and the journalists who are doing their job is nonsense. Culture, respect, sportsmanship and team spirit begin with the owners.

    February 12, 2012 at 7:59 pm | Reply
  17. kentsailer

    @ Liverpool – Man. Utd. Suarez was wrong not to shake hands with Evra before the game. That said Ferdinand did not shake hands with Suarez, should he not face the same scrutiny? The after game celebration of Evra was childish and very provocative. He should be reprimanded for such boorish, immature and yes stupid behavior. The fact that he pranced around waving his arms directly in front of Suarez was a provocation. An official had to push him away. Patrice Evra you are a child who deserves to be reprimanded for 1) grabbing Suarez's arm in opening line up and for your silly celebration after the game. Let's hear from Mr. ferguson about how disgraceful Evra's celebration antics were.As a Frenchman I hope never to see you on the National team. "Les Bleus" have regained their class and do not need your childishness.

    February 13, 2012 at 2:28 am | Reply
  18. John Bull

    Much Ado about nothing and a storm in a teacup. England have never really been a great footballing nation.

    February 13, 2012 at 6:58 am | Reply
  19. Fit

    English squads over the years have done even more than what is expected if you consider the "caliber" of other opponents. The media, the people and everyone expects too much from them however, this only put a huge weight on their shoulders.
    Everyone is under pressure, the players, the coaches and even the media which no matter what they say or not say, "they are always" the bad guys.
    This phenomenon is also common for the Brazilians, Germans, Argentinians, Italians,,, even when they win they have to prove that they "destroyed" the enemies, as if we are expecting to see the team of the "millennium". Sounds like many people do not remember that in that level of competitions the degree of error, wining margin, etc is so small that anything can happen.
    Even for club-teams as Real Madrid, they are in a similar boat. Is not just about winning, is about "how you win"! Everyone blames everyone else,,, in a game that "pride" is becoming more important than "skills".

    February 13, 2012 at 7:05 am | Reply
  20. oadewunmi

    I totally agree with you. I believe in freedom of speech and press though but the media in the UK can take a step too far most of the time. The media can elevate you and the same media brings your downfall. The problem with the English mentality in every work of life, not only in football, they believe they are superior to other. They should be seen at the top, win this and win that. But life is not like that. Unfortunately, the media fuel what is already in the mind and brain of the players; we must win. Now everybody including the media in UK favour Harry Redknapp to be the next English football Manager but if or when he makes a mistake in that position, the same media will tear him apart. Then the media will remember the mistake/s he made or what he did over fifteen or twenty years ago.

    February 13, 2012 at 9:54 am | Reply
  21. astonlad

    Harry Redknapp has more chance of winning silverware with Spurs than the England national team. He'll let the media hype him up, but I doubt he'll take the job.

    February 13, 2012 at 6:44 pm | Reply
  22. len

    felt i had to comment on the capello/english fa problem.
    had the english fa understood the importance of language skills they would not have signed capello .at that level all the members within the english team will only communicate in english. the level below ie league filled with international players who will all speak or understand 2/3 or maybe four languages english communication skills are important but not as essential.

    February 14, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Reply
  23. roy

    I would love England to do well for once,in Euro 96 we was almost there,take German,always organised,always play as a team yet we
    often think we are better,France have been threaten since the late 70s
    finally came good in 98,Spain the sleeping giants finally arrived,Italy won their share,with England we alway looking back to 1966,now we are just not good enough its that simple.Put the right people in charge more English players playing for premier league sides then we might get somewhere.

    February 16, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Reply
  24. Kerryn

    The media make all these guys fight, ask yourself how Rio will play aong Terry when when he is racially abusing him through his bro (Anton). The media simply just doesnt care.
    And for the FA to strip Terry without the consultation of the manager is truely uncalled for, even though they have the powers to do so, I think as a matter of respect they should hav involved Fabio.
    England national team will never achieve anything if they are to continue with these petty attitudes

    February 19, 2012 at 7:53 am | Reply
  25. Michael Ananakwe

    How can cnn allow people like Michael Anakwe to make such racist comments? he/she says all English man are racistss. The only racist is Michael Anakwe.

    February 21, 2012 at 1:18 am | Reply
  26. Saby

    I am a big fan of England. I dream of the day they win something, anything, European, World Cup, whatever.

    But they always lose at some point. But I follow them anyway hoping that this time... maybe....

    The thing is the hype.....

    The English media make England and its players appear to be better than they really are.. Wayne Rooney does a scissor kick and suddenly he is the best in the world ( I am a huge Rooney fan).

    The truth is, England is an average team and becoming even more so with the rise of Eastern European, Asian and African Teams. Not to mention the other South Americans and Central Americans.

    They have some good players, but not fantastically special. And as a team , they are pathetic. They are and will always be Club players.

    There are no more Beckhams, Charltons, Linekers, who seem to be proud to play for their country.

    February 22, 2012 at 4:22 am | Reply
  27. Steven Eonyu Ekadu

    I agree with pinto on this for it goes without saying that put a microscope to one's skin and you will uncover dirt that was hitherto harmless and then cause panic for nothing however I would also like to add that the English media also have contributed a great deal to the decline of their young stars by hyping too much about their potential and heaping too much burden on these lads, case in point walcot

    February 28, 2012 at 8:53 am | Reply
  28. Steven Eonyu Ekadu

    Saby I am in total agreement with you England is not a good team but the english media always tries so hard to portray it as one and sometimes painfully so. How do you expect a team with Milner as it's winger and void with creative talent in the middle of the park to lift the world cup? Then which strikers does this team really boost of apart from Rooney(who isn't consistent) to unlock well organized defences? Imagine playing Gerald as a right winger when you have milner who by all standards is average to ply the other wing?

    February 28, 2012 at 9:04 am | Reply
  29. Jaandeep

    Gotta say I think a lot of England's problems estrtad before they even got over there. Scott Parker, the best ball winning midfielder in the Premiership last season, Darren Bent, one of Premiership's Top scorers and Adam Johnson, who had a cracking second half to the season for Citeh, despite not always playing on his favoured side all should have been on the plane to S.A. ahead of others.Then we get to the squad that travelled, Joe Cole not given a chance to exert his natural ability and influence, Matty Upson & Rob Green, who had shockers for West Ham last season, both playing, despite not having the full confidence of the manager. Fullbacks who can't defend especially with the midfield he played. Gerrard looked totally disinterested, passing without looking and then complaining no-one was on the end of an aimless ball.I disagree with most about Rooney, I thought the poor guy was left to do it all for himself. he was all over the pitch, trying to get a foot on the ball because the midfielders were only interested in the ball if it was in the last third of the pitch and they could hit a Glory pass or shot. By the time it got to the Germany game I do think he looked like he'd given up and his touch was dreadful but to be honest for once I feel a bit sorry for him. Gerrard and Heskey were no help and created nothing that he could get on the end of, in fact no-one did.The style reminded me of the me of the Heady days of Jack Charlton managing Ireland, without the spirit and commitment that he instilled in all his squads. Charlton knew how to get the best out of what he had, Capello looked completely lost and had no Plan A nevermind a Plan B.Capello must take the lions share of responsibility for what happened but not all of it.

    March 4, 2012 at 10:18 pm | Reply
  30. ivin lombardt

    I disagree with Pedro on both counts. The basic problem with England football is that they think of themselves above what they are really capable of achieving. The England team is just not good enough. They will not win any major tournaments for the next 20 years.

    Every national team in the world is expected to perform above 100%. England are not an exception. The media is equally scandalous and sensational in countries like Brazil.

    The truth is that England is in a panic mode for the failure of their team since 1966 to win anything. More so because they are credited with inventing the game, having the best league in the world and the biggest sponsors.

    The answer is they must start developing talent.

    March 6, 2012 at 9:33 am | Reply

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