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Thursday, 11 February 2010

With Cole out for three months, will we finally have the Terry and Bridge reunion?

WE should not celebrate the fact that Ashley Cole's injury, picked up during Chelsea's surprise defeat at Everton last night, will keep him out for three months.
Nobody will rejoice over this evening's latest update that the 29-year-old has a fractured ankle.
Of course not. Terrible news. But it DOES raise the intriguing prospect of Wayne Bridge playing in England's friendly against Egypt at Wembley on March 3 - and possibly the whole World Cup next to a certain John Terry.
Cole turned his ankled in the Premier League leader's shock 2-1 defeat at Goodison Park. He had to be helped off in the 57th minute after a challenge involving USA skipper Landon Donovan - the two of them should face up again when England take on the Americans in the opening Group C clash at the World Cup in Rustenburg on June 12.
Assistant boss Ray Wilkins said afterwards: "He has taken quite a nasty knock. It wasn't a foul but it was a very strong challenge and he was slightly off balance.
"He has got a slight problem with his ankle but we will get back to Cobham and assess the situation."
But that was before yesterday's scans revealed a fracture. Now the club are saying he will be lucky to be back before the end of the season.
The night before we saw Manchester City see off Bolton 2-0 with Bridge, Cole's England understudy, playing the second game of his comeback and looking reasonably competent.
With Cole out of the England clash against African champions Egypt, Bridge should get the call - which will see him in the dressing-room with Terry (above), the axed England captain.
Axed, of course, because he had an affair (including an alleged abortion) with the mother of Bridge's child, Vanessa Perroncel. England coach Fabio Capello decided that was an affair too far for his team leader - but Terry says he will continue to "give his all" for England as non-captain.
For Terry, now on a Valentine's Day dash to his wife Toni and three-year-old twins who fled to Dubai when the story broke, the whole thing is becoming a Bridge too far.
After scoring the winner against Burnley and impressing against Hull and Arsenal, the strain started to show last night as Terry was taken apart by Everton's Louis Saha. The Frenchman, who missed a 44th minute penalty, escaped for the first goal, a header, and twice picked up on missed clearances from Terry, scoring the winner off the second blunder in as many minutes.
For a man of Terry's stature, it was a nightmare ninety minutes. As Everton boss David Moyes said afterwards: "Saha should have had four."
Terry now gets a week off, missing Chelsea's FA Cup fifth round clash with Cardiff, as he attempts to patch up his marriage. He looked like he needed it last night, Wilkins insisted: "If there were mistakes by John, I'm sure it will be the slightest of blips."
The whole evening was a blip for the Blues, and things weren't much better for chasing Manchester United, who drew 1-1 with Aston Villa, had Nani sent off for nothing and saw Ryan Giggs fracture his arm.
That gave Arsenal the chance to close the gap in a hardfought 1-0 win over Liverpool with Abou Diaby scoring the headed winner. Quite how referee Howard Webb missed Cesc Fabregas's late handball on the edge of the box, I shall never know.
Spurs failed to close the gap on Liverpool in the battle for fourth place, allowing Wolves to do the double over them with a 1-0 win at Molineux while West Ham relieved their relegation fears - and calmed the nerves of new owners David Gold and David Sullivan - with a 2-0 win over Birmingham, sold by Gold and Sullivan in November.

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Monday, 8 February 2010

Suddenly the tabloids are being all nice to Mr Terry and Ms Perroncel. So much for press freedom!

WHAT worries me about this morning's press coverage of the John Terry/Vanessa Perroncel affair is just how soft the tabloids have gone since the French underwear model received her hush money on Friday.
Incredible. The Mirror say the poor lass wants to be reunited with the father of her three-year-old Wayne Bridge, The Sun have got some mushy stuff about Toni and John Terry both getting shirty, it's all so nicey-nice now.
Just like Max Clifford, the famous (and talented) publicist would want it. The money (allegedly £800,000 according to the Mirror and The Sun, the News of the World said £750,000 yesterday) seems to have brought an end to the great quest for press freedom.
Suddenly the Mirror have stopped searching for what they called last week "Terry's second Chelsea wife" and the Sun's investigation into "the fifth Chelsea lover of Ms Perroncel has gone strangely silent.
Weird isn't it? Can it be that the whole thing was just a tawdry tabloid tale, generated by Mr Clifford until his client was satisfied? And who exactly paid this hush money? John Terry? But according to today's Mail there is a suggestion the poor £150,000-a-week axed England captain is struggling for money because of his huge outgoings.
Is anyone going to investigate where this money came from to keep Ms Perroncel quiet? Could it be that our brave investigative journalists on the tabloids are happy to just let the truth be hushed up... for cash?! Surely not.
I stand by what I've said throughout this sad tale. John Terry - as he proved again during the 2-0 win over Arsenal yesterday - can captain the side at the World Cup no matter what he might get up to off the field. He was captain of Chelsea yesterday and the crowd loved him during a faultless performance - and he made the first of Didier Drogba's two goals.
The journalists today all make a big point of how well Terry played despite the pressure - if they'd read this blog, they'll have noticed he scored the winner at Burnley on the day of the first revelations, was impeccable against Hull during the week. And when he was under similar pressure last year over revelations about his mother's shop-lifting and his father's salesmanship, he thrived too.
Fabio Capello has done the big, brave thing and sacked Terry as captain. But the story was no more than yet another tabloid publicity stunt to make money all round. And Rio Ferdinand now offers a succulent target for the next set of shock-horror revelations.
Clearly, Rio has been a good lad since his early days when allegations and missed drugs tests surrounded the lad from Peckham, who now does a lot of work for charity and anti-knife crime organisations.
But no footballer is spotless. The News of the World and Max Clifford know that.
Terry is history. Job done. Bring on the next victim. It's the way of the world. But I suspect Mr Capello, a devout Catholic, didn't quite realise that.

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Sunday, 31 January 2010

A Bridge too far for Terry. But he doesn't seem to think so.

SO the full, damning truth is out. England captain John Terry - scorer of a superb winner for Chelsea against Burnley last night - didn't just have an affair with his best mate's partner, he made her pregnant and paid for the abortion, as I revealed here on Friday.
His former Stamford Bridge team-mate Wayne Bridge, who moved to Manchester City last year, apparently only found out last weekend when Terry and his lawyers tried to get an injunction against the News of the World printing the story. He must have been reading the wrong websites. Now Bridge apparently wants to end his 36-match international career, four months before the 23-man World Cup squad for South Africa is named.
And that's why this tawdry tale is a little bit more important than the other affairs Terry is accused of - one of them actually took place in Bridge's house, just down the road from the Terrys in leafy Surrey. He's the Tiger Woods of football, is big John Terry.
This morning Vanessa, who has hired publicist Max Clifford to maximise her earnings potential from this story, is quoted as saying: "Wayne rang me last weekend and started shouting at me and accusing me of having an affair. It was terrible. He was saying horrible things.
"Wayne was convinced I had been cheating on him because the court action had been taken. It was an agonising call and he was furious."
Sure, Terry's mother and mother-in-law were accused of shoplifting together at Marks & Spencer and the News of the World had pictures of his father apparently trading dodgy stuff last year.
But none of that affected his position as England captain. This time, with an England squad team-mate involved in his shenanigans, what does Fabio Capello, the Generalissimo, do now?
We all know Terry is the best centre-back in England. And a superb leader. He proved again last night all this has little affect on his actual performances on the field. He chose Turf Moor to score his second Premier League goal of the season, and modestly refused to celebrate when he'd broken Burnley's hearts, much as he has Bridge's.
Big deal. But read the full story in the News of the World today and you'll see what a rat the man is. Sneaking around since before his Blenheim Palace marriage to Toni Poole, mother of his three-year-old twins, flirting and eventually bedding the undeniably more attractive Vanessa Perroncel (see News of the World picture above, on her mobile phone yesterday, I'm starting to dislike the woman).
Look, there are hundreds of married men who get themselves in a mess like Terry. But he does it again and again. And the man is an icon, a trend-setter, a role model. He presents himself as the perfect father of Georgie John and Summer Rose, even won Father of the Year last year.
But here is is, yet again, letting the missus down after promising her before the big magazine-sponsored nuptials that he would not do it again.
But he did. And with the mother of his pal's child. Toni's best mate Vanessa. Apparently they agreed to the abortion last year and afterwards he gave her £20,000 to "cheer her up". He had to leave an England training camp early to be at her bedside for the operation, which was delayed until he got there. According to a source, he reckons the whole thing 'brought them closer together'.
It's all there in the News of the World today. Bridge and Perroncel, at 33 four years older than the £130,000-a-week Terry, split in December. And neither Wayne nor Toni knew anything other than the fact their partners flirted a lot, and had done for years.
It's sad, it pathetic and it's deceitful. If it hadn't been for an open-minded judge on Friday, all this would remain the stuff of internet blogs, the subject of continual rumour and gossip.
But now it's out in the open. The papers are full of it. And Terry can't possibly carry on as our nation's footballing figurehead. Do we really want a man like that lifting the World Cup on July 11 at Soccer City, Johannesburg.
Well, yes, say a lot of football fans after 43 years of hurt. Doesn't matter who lifts that bloody World Cup as long as it's England. And Bobby Moore, the last man to lift it, was no angel.
Capello and the FA are staying quiet on all this for now. But on February 27, Bridge's City and Terry's Chelsea go head to head. Four days later England play Egypt in a World Cup warm-up. That's crunch time. That's when we find out who will lead England in South Africa.
The bookies are saying it won't be Trry. I suspect they're right. But what do you, the fans think? Feel free to comment or email. We need to know. Me? I'd sling him out tomorrow. There are more important things than football. Ask Wayne Bridge.

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