Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughA controversial captain choice - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough A controversial captain choice - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

A controversial captain choice

As a Wolves fan, I am completely rudderless at the moment. My club has no manager, and neither does my country. Who am I supposed to complain about when I’m in the pub? At least Wolves have a captain though, even if none of the fans still want him as captain, instead wanting the previous scapegoat back as captain. It’s not a million years ago that Karl Henry was booed off the pitch, yet the number of threads popping up on internet message boards saying the first thing the new manager should do on arrival is reappoint him is remarkable. This brings me to the point of this piece, who should be the new England captain? Who the new manager is irrelevant to me in this – there is only one solution. Only one man who ticks all most some of the requirements.

So who is this mystery man? For a start, it probably should be a man who will play in most of England’s matches, so that rules out most of the rabble. Joe Hart will surely be England’s goalkeeper, but I don’t think he’s captaincy material at the moment. He should be concentrating on living up to being billed the world’s best keeper, when he clearly isn’t. He knows that one mistake in the Euros and he’ll be vilified by the same people who have built him up to more than he is. No, adding the captaincy as well will lead to far too much pressure on his young shoulders.

I think most of us expect Scott Parker to be playing midfield, and if Harry Redknapp is appointed England manager, he may well get the captaincy. But I’m slightly worried about his lack of experience in games played outside of London, never mind the fact he only has 10 England caps. Then again, he does have top level European experience, winning the Intertoto Cup in 2006, so perhaps I’ll let him be the vice-captain. Wayne Rooney is another candidate, but seeing as he’ll be missing for the first two matches, and there’s a chance England will already be out of the tournament by the time he gets around to pulling his boots on, that may seem counterproductive.

So, I’m guessing that if you’ve got this far, you’re wondering who it will be. This man has a wealth of experience – 93 England caps, played in two Champions League finals (winning neither) – what more do you want. I will also go on to explain his over the field behaviour, which is nowhere near as bad as everyone thinks. Yes, the man who has arguably been the best player in his position in the world over the past decade, who should be England captain, is Ashley Cole.

But, I hear you cry, he’s a horrible little man who made England’s queen, Cheryl Cole, cry who is only focused on money. But, he’s quite clearly not. First of all, this is obviously a man who loves playing for England. He has 93 caps for England. Consider the amount of abuse he gets at every Premier League ground he plays at, abuse from so-called England ‘fans’, and yet he turns up for England every match, whether a friendly or a qualifier. I was at Everton v Chelsea last weekend (that is the only match of last weekend I want to think about right now), and he was booed whenever he touched the ball. This is just an example, not having a go at Everton fans, yet he still turns up for England every time. If I was him, I’d have told The FA to disappear up its own backside until I started getting the respect my playing career and commitment deserves.

Secondly, the England captain doesn’t really do a huge amount. But, one of the things they are allowed to do is talk to the referee, discuss things in a way that other players can’t. And, if there’s one thing Ashley Cole loves doing, it’s talking to a referee. In fact, if you Google ‘Ashley Cole referee’, there’s plenty of pictures of him talking to the man in black. Happily, there’s even an ‘Ashley Cole Guide to Abusing the Referee’ in case anyone’s unsure. Ashley Cole is an expert at communicating with the referee and has many years of experience in doing so. The other thing a captain does is call heads or tails at the start of the match. Now, I’m sure one of the first words that pops into many of your heads is ‘tosser’ when you think about Ashley Cole, but I’m not going to use that cheap gag.

I’m now going to attempt to defend Ashley’s off-field behaviour. Firstly, there’s the whole wanting to leave Arsenal thing, and complaining at the loss of £5,000 a week. But, if you’d verbally agreed a contract with your boss, and then they dropped the pay by 8% how happy would you be? And is this any worse than Wayne Rooney’s shenanigans a couple of years ago, handing in a transfer request? And ask Charlton fans about their feelings on Scott Parker moving to Chelsea. Charlton manager Alan Curbishley claimed that Parker stopped trying in training and matches to force the move. Are those much worse than Cole’s behaviour?

And then, there’s the entire Cheryl Cole thing. Now that she’s universally loved across the nation, people forget her reputation before. After all, out of the two of them, it’s her with the criminal record, being found guilty of assaulting a nightclub attendant. The judge was moved to say, “This was an unpleasant piece of drunken violence which caused Sophie Amogbokpa pain and suffering. Her eye was painful for three or four weeks, there was bruising for three months and for a while she had blurred vision. You showed no remorse whatsoever“. I say that Ashley Cole selflessly appeared to treat her badly in order to promote Cheryl’s brand. Is it any coincidence that she got her first X-Factor job just months after it emerged that Ashley had cheated on her with a hairdresser? (This incidentally resulted in the funniest Defend the Indefensible on Fighting Talk ever. Don’t believe me? Just Google ‘Jim Jeffries Ashley Cole vomit lube’.) Even Ashley didn’t purposefully do this to raise Cheryl’s profile, it clearly did, and, while in my opinion this is possibly one of the worst things he’s ever done, plenty of other people in the country love her. They have Ashley Cole to thank for that.

Anyway, how important is a player’s off the field indiscretions? In my lifetime, England’s captains have included a man who cheated on his wife with Rebecca Loos, another who spent time in prison for drunk-driving, one who cheated on his wife with the mother of his best friend’s children and another who would be the most boring man in the world if he hadn’t kicked Neil Lennon in the head. These crimes all have various levels of severity, but are just used to illustrate the point that off field indiscretions shouldn’t have a huge bearing on the captaincy. Yes, Ashley accidentally shot a work experience lad, but in all honesty can put their hand on their heart and say they’ve never done that? So, have I managed to convince you? Should Ashley Cole be England captain? Of course he should.

Tom Baseson @toomb306

For more Football Blogs and opinion from football fans around the world