Why Capello's stance on Terry means the World Cup disaster is all set to be repeated at Euro 2012
There was something depressingly familiar about Fabio Capello’s contribution to the controversy over the removal of John Terry as England captain.
The tone of his intervention spoke of a manager out of touch not just with the mood of his squad but also with the dynamics of the English game.
No one is pretending the decision to strip Terry of the armband was easy or that it sits easily with the principle a man is innocent until proven guilty.
But the inflammatory nature of Capello’s comments begs the question of whether he is even aware how highly-charged the racism issue has become in our game these past few months.
There was something wearying about the fact he gave such an important interview not to the BBC but to the Italian state broadcaster, RAI.
The fact his words had to be translated – some say mistranslated or at least misinterpreted – so supporters of the country he manages could read them raised old doubts.
Failures of communication have dogged Capello throughout his reign and have become an issue again.
The England manager does not appear to appreciate everything changed once Terry’s case was put back until after Euro 2012.
He does not seem to understand the delay raised the real possibility of the England dressing room being riven along racial lines.
Nor that if Terry had remained skipper, the racial tensions that are disfiguring more and more Premier League games would have been exacerbated. The fact Terry was sacrificed without having had the chance to try to prove his innocence is deeply unfortunate but it was the only course the FA could reasonably take once the trial was postponed until July.
What was particularly worrying about Capello’s failure to recognize this was it carried echoes of his mishandling of England’s World Cup 2010 campaign.
Ironically, it took Terry to point out the detrimental effects that his monastic regime was having on squad morale at their base in Rustenburg for the boss to act.
Capello made changes but even they betrayed a lack of understanding of the new breed of English footballer.
In the run-up to the final group game against Slovenia, as he tried to over-compensate for his earlier mistakes, the players were told they could have a beer the night before the game.
But no England player would consider drinking the night before a match. They looked at Capello as if he was mad.
It was hoped he had learned his lesson after the World Cup and, indeed, his hardline regime appeared to have softened.
But now, at just about the time things began to fall apart before South Africa, the pattern appears to be reappearing.
Capello has misjudged the mood in his squad again. He has failed to see that, sadly, the delay of Terry’s trial posed a real risk of a split in the England ranks.
His outburst does not mean there should be a clamour for him to be sacked.
But it does mean that as we think back to the way things fell apart before the World Cup, we can be forgiven for fretting that history is on the verge of repeating itself.