As the World Cup approaches, it’s hardly suprising we have some drama within the England national team for the papers to dig their teeth into and cause as much turbulence in the squad as possible.

I probably should mention before continuing that I’ve always felt Wayne Bridge was massively overrated and wouldn’t have had half the success he has without conveniently being left-footed. Something we often have a shortage of when it comes to team selection in England. That said, no matter how it’s cut and diced and how important Terry is to England, no player should ever feel uncomfortable wearing the national shirt because of another and it’s indicative of Terry’s ‘f**k everyone elses feelings, I’m number one’ attitude that he’s shown little remorse and refused to drop from the squad as a result.

JT has built up such an unparallelled arrogance over the last ten years or so, that I wasn’t even slightly surprised to see him attempt to cling onto his captaincy throughout the entire drama. When you’ve gotten away with as many thuggish acts as he has and been forgiven by your wife, your club and everyone else, it’s only natural you’ll start to believe you’re untouchable. To Chelsea fans it’s only added to his popularity, but that won’t surprise anyone thats seen the kind of thugs this team has produced over the years. I bet Terry never thought for one second Capello would actually strip him of his captaincy.

The underlying problem with that decision however is that it changes nothing. Yes, Rio Ferdinand will wear the armband and fulfill the glorified figurehead role that the national captaincy is, but on the field John Terry’s arrogance still means he’ll feel the need to dictate everything, attempt to control the entire team and shout at others for his own mistakes. Essentially, nothings changed and the only reason JT is upset is because he liked the ego-massaging abilities the title brought with it (and no doubt the money).

Personally, I think all decisions within the England team should come down to football and Capello seems to be on the same page. That said, when it comes to a point where there’s this level of bad publicity and other players feel they can’t play for their country because of one mans actions, I think the culprit should be dropped. Terry is bringing nothing but negativity to the side as far as I’m concerned at the minute and for that reason, and that reason alone, he shouldn’t be in it.

In light of all this, it seems a good time to remember probably the worst transfer decision in the history of the Premier League and the various rumours that followed. That transfer is of course, Howard Wilkinson’s sale of Eric Cantona to Manchester United.

Howard Wilkinson had just guided Leeds United to their first league title since the 1970’s and 1992 seemed like the year we would rise again. Mr Wilkinson however had other ideas, deciding to sell footballs hottest prospect – one, Eric Cantona – to bitter rivals, Manchester United for the measly sum of just £1.2million.

Leeds fans around the world were in total disbelief having witnessed the players match-changing ability in our title winning season. Meanwhile, Manchester United fans were having the times of their lives celebrating what many knew would be a crucial signing by the soon to be knighted Alex Ferguson.

Whilst Leeds struggled to get anywhere near the standard of the 1991-92 season, Cantona’s signing proved to be a catalyst for Manchester United’s success who went on to dominate the top flight for what is now, nearly two decades.

In reaction to the move, those Leeds United fans that weren’t furious at Howard Wilkinson’s short-sightedness, began to coin theories of why he was sold so cheaply. Top of those theories was the one involving Leslie Ash, who is Lee Chapman’s missus. The rumour would have you believe that Eric Cantona had been sleeping with the fish-lipped WAG behind the back of Lee Chapman and that the animosity it had caused within the team left Sergeant Wilko with no other choice.

Of course, the rumour was a complete myth dreamt up by some Leeds United pranksters or Howard Wilkinson apologists, but it didn’t stop the majority of the country believing it. To this day, Manchester United fans still sing a song about that fateful “affair”. Terry won’t be living this down too quickly either, after all, mud sticks!

  • Tony Curie’s Curler

    The sale of Eric Cantona was a bad move on Wilko’s part agreed. But the major problem was the rule change ‘THE PASS BACK’ that rendered 50% of our back four worthless. Dividing it down, 25% Fairclough, 25% White. Good during the championship winning season but not being able to knock it back to Lukic when the were in trouble was the difference. To finish of the other back four 25% Dorigo who was the only defender on our books who could cope with the change. the other was Zico who by this time was finished through injury.

    Here’s a thought. Why did he sell Vinnie Jones so quick? I believed at the time he would have made a good centre back, maybe?

    I strongly believe that if Wilko had gone out and signed at least one top centre half but preferably two and a new right back (Batty played a lot of games there if I recall, and Newsome) we could have continued progressing. Wilko made so many bad decisions after the championship in was incredible. Rocastle and Hodge two good players that he used when he had to. Strachan’s legs and back had finally given up on him, bless his cotton socks, and needed to be used off the bench. He continued trying to find ex Wednesday players when a new strategy was needed.

    Almost over night the game had changed and Wilko didn’t know how to cope or how to take us to the next level. Palmer, Deane, Brolin and many more signings just weren’t good enough. His best signing was Yaboah but he must have looked around him in the dressing room and been dismayed.

    Wilko will always be held in the highest of esteem by myself and I’m sure most Leeds fans, but he lost the plot after the championship and should have gone a few more seasons earlier than he did.

  • Pudsey Whites

    When I was just a little boy,
    I asked mother what should I be?
    Should I be Chelsea
    Should I be Leeds?….

    JT out of order, however, it was not Bridges’s “missus”, they are not even together? A WAG has orchastrated to put herself into the media spotlight, as he has dumb enough to associate with her, now they all suffer the consequences of their associations & actions to those directly wronged. Bridge is not the only fooballer this WAG has been with, or Terry?
    Try sacking people in the work place based on personal moral opinion you really think you can directly interfer with personal lives & livelihood?
    Drop Terry, what load a bollox -his private life is exactly that & his football life should be seperate. Its up to Capello, not the media, not public, to make the team decisions based of footballing merits including code of conduct, the mindset of the players & the spirit of the camp.

    The manager will be totally accountable for the TEAM performance, so its up to him, and if your England supporter its wise to support the manager, accept his decision and move on.
    Media witch hunts, motivated by greed to sell papers, which destroy peoples family lifes are totally out of control in this country. So let the families sort out the private lifes & England team get on with playing football.

    ps sellin Cantona was mistake, & much more than a rumour!

    • TheReaper08

      Capello is a disciplinarian and to have this level of bad publicity and interuption is simply not tolerable to him. The fact that she is a prolific WAG is no case for the defence, that’s like me saying it’s not my fault I stole the money that man left the till open.

      As for the media well we all know they reside in the gutter and will do all they can to sensationalise even the most trivial matter. The best way to stay out of the limelight is to behave yourself.

      • Choppers

        Agreed Reaper, keep your nose clean for a few years, it cant be too hard surely?

      • Craig

        Quite right. Players like Terry must be really thick not to think that their indescretions will not backfire on them at some point – probably just before a World Cup when the tabloids will be paying top dollar.

  • l l l leeds

    You’ve not really paid any attention to the main point here.

    Rio “I forgot” Ferdinand is going to be the England captain.
    There is no way he deserves it! You may as well have Ashley Cole as captian.

    We can only hope he forgets to take his energy bars to Soutyh Africa or injures himself “mercking” someone… the feckin’ berk.

    • TheReaper08

      Again a very good point but Capello started fresh. He made JT captain after much consideration and this was how he was repaid.

      Do you suppose any of the squad are now thinking they can misbehave in any way ?

      • Pete

        I bet Gerrard won’t be requesting any songs at discos between now and June…

        Best just hope Rio and Fat Frank don’t get hold of some girls and a camera (again)…

        True, mud sticks :)

        • Craig

          Gerrard? Discos? I missed that one.

          • Pete

            The bloke he beat up in Southport was the DJ who didn’t play his request earlier in the evening (allegedly)

    • Colin

      Ahhh, Rio’s World Cup Windups. How fun it was to see Rio merking arounds. Such adventures as Rooney being blamed for a dog’s death, Beckham being kidnapped, trying to get David James to buy a kid’s painting at an art gallery and trying to get SWP and Crouchy to invest in buying a penis shaped island.

      Can you believe it? It never actually got a BAFTA award. :)

  • An acquaintence who worked at the club at the time claimed Wilko and the Financial Director allegedly spent the money on a mansion on one of the major links courses in Britain. Probably up there with the Ash Affair but it makes you wonder…..

    • Craig

      Spent what money? Cantona’s transfer fee?

  • Choppers

    There are a lot of romours coming out that Ashley Cole is very depressed.

    Understandable with a broken ankle, broken marriage etc, but still I wonder how he is going to react when he gets back playing for Chelsea, if he is not going to be his usual self. Terry’s form has dipped and if Cole’s does too then we might be struggling badly at the back. Right back is still suspect and Rio Ferdinand has played really badly for England the last few games

    • TSS

      It’s World Cup year, none of this surprises me. The team always falls to pieces just in time!

      • TheReaper08

        I still believe, I had four things down for this year that was going to make it an absolute classic.

        An absolutely cracking Cheltenham festival in March
        The Birth of my son in April
        The promotion of my beloved Leeds in May
        England winning the world cup in July

        P.S. However unlikely if you see my good lady that list is in chronological order and not necessarily by importance, after all everyone knows the Leeds promotion would be top ;o)

  • Choppers

    Reaper who is your money on at Cheltenham? its got to be on Kauto Star, surely?

    • TheReaper08

      Yeah, I had a large treble on Kauto, Big Bucks and Master Minded a while back that will pay a few quid if it comes in. I take the week off every year and usually go but this year I am confined to the bookies/pub, largely due to the good lady being exactly 8 months pregnant that week.

  • Yorkshrman

    England …. Who really cares? What odds that our bunch of overpaid prima-donnas underachieves yet again ….

    • TheReaper08

      I care pal that’s who, I am a patriot and I always want my country to do well.

  • Roger the Dodger

    looking forward to the world cup, who isnt, also hoping that the rumour that leeds are competing in a tournament in ibiza following the world cup is also true, real mallorca and valencia rumoured to be taking part

    no confirmation from the club yet, but it would make a change from ireland or scandinavia

    • Craig

      Where did the rumour come from?

      • TSS

        No idea, but heard it in Peacock last week before game. Would ebe nice if true as I’m sick of seeing Ireland.

        Often thought Leeds were missing a trick by not touring Aus as we seem to have a sizable fanbase there and should really be capitalising on it. Not like Bates to miss a trick!

  • Matt bb

    To be truthful the media are to blame for the wholw sh1tstorm with bridge and terry, if every cheating football player had to withdraw (no pun intended) from the england squad, we’d probably only need a smartcar to take the three lions to south africa. Jt got caught thats the only difference, and as with ashley cole all to do with begrudging successful celebrities their success. There’s plenty of this going on, yes cole and terry are spoilt and selfish but that doesnt make them unique, let he who is without sin cast the first stone.. Who’s better placed than the truthful, upright and celibate crew in londons fleet street, its tough to decide who’s worse. Scum, all of them. Whats truly important is leeds getting their players back in the england squad and becchio bothering john terry and the chelsea back four as soon as possble.