It was a messy divorce, one fraught with backwards bickering and confusion. Fabio Capello and the English Football Association could not agree over who had control over the kids: when the FA sent John Terry to the naughty step, it was the last straw for Fabio. They hadn’t agreed to that. Now, like an aggrieved ex-husband fuelled by an ego-boosting new love and perhaps a drop of whiskey, Fabio has slammed his old flame for compromising his authority. It reeks of bitterness.
Capello has stated on many occasions that he is bound by the terms of his severance package not to speak of his time with England, yet his latest tirade reveals the extent of the animosity which lingered between coach and employer. In speaking out against the FA, Capello has shown himself to be a resentful and brooding individual, one who has displayed a lack of respect not only to his former employer, but to the English game itself.
It is understandable that Capello would have been, in his words, ‘pissed off’ by having little say over the stripping of John Terry’s captaincy. He had been at the world’s top clubs, undoubtedly enjoying strict control over all on-field aspects. Picking the captain of an entire nation is a huge call, and one which Capello would have seen as integral to his role. Taking it away would have made him feel vacant, helpless, undervalued. But Capello also failed the grasp the volatile sensitivity of the matter and the potentially damaging consequences at stake. It was a matter that stretched far beyond football, into the very heart of English society. With his inability to fully comprehend the seriousness of the situation, Capello automatically vetoed his right to any future moral high ground against the FA.
Despite John Terry’s recent acquittal, the fact remains that the national time simply could not have had a man facing criminal proceedings in a court of law on racial charges as a representative of England. It would have been misguided, irrational and ultimately callous, a message to the watching world that England as a nation is one which tolerates discriminative behaviour. Perhaps for Capello the matter was one confined to 100 yards of luscious green grass; the FA, however, had to uphold themselves as ambassadors of an entire nation. The Football Association may have been wrong on many previous occasions, but this was a righteous decision. If Capello is still unable to fathom this fact despite a number of months in which to ponder over the intricacies of the case, there is clearly a deeper discontent wrapped up inside his latest outburst.
Capello’s comments this time around were tinged with spite. They were not said in the heat of the moment. They were calculated and with the benefit of nearly half a year’s leisurely hindsight, but still blinded by self-loathing. The bigger picture still remains blurry for Fabio. It was an issue of morality, of responsibility and ethics, not the tiresome authority circus that Capello seems intent on turning it into to. If after all these months Capello is still unable to master some of awareness of the wider implications, then perhaps he was not the right man for the job.
There was also a feeling of juvenility to Capello’s assertion that England would have been better off at Euro 2012 with him at the helm. Besides being a questionable statement, it is also the kind of behaviour you would expect from someone a quarter of Capello’s age. A fair assessment? Possibly, though it is impossible to accurately speculate. Capello would still have faced the same problems as Roy Hodgson: a depleted, inexperienced and limited squad. Though evidently displaying more advanced tactical nous than Hodgson during his reign, it is unlikely that Capello could have conjured up anything more than the cautious display we saw against Italy in the same circumstances. If Fabio was trying to stir up a whiff of envy, regret or of what might have been, it has fallen fairly short. They are the pompous comments of a man with unresolved issues.
Upon taking his £7.8million a year contract with the Russian Football Federation, Capello had the chance to at last move on from his grubby break-up with the FA and lay any ghosts to rest. Instead, he used it as a platform to air his grievances and prove himself to be a bitter individual engorged by a sense of self-pity. Roy Hodgson may not have the bluster of Capello, but he does retain a much needed sense of humility. Capello could learn from that. Perhaps we are better off without him.
What do you make of Fabio Capello’s recent outburst? I’d love to hear from you @acherrie1