Capello leaves with principles intact

Integrity. It’s a quality that can’t be measured. It can’t be bought, and it can’t be sold.

The former captain of England, John Terry, was sorely lacking in it; however, it was a quality that former England coach Fabio Capello has in spades.

No matter what you think of the Italian’s stance on the FA’s sacking of his captain, you have to admire the way he has stuck to his beliefs. There was never any wavering from Capello. Terry was his man, and Capello was going to defend him.

Think back to Terry’s first sacking as England skipper in 2010 after the Wayne Bridge affair. At the time, Capello said it was a private matter and should be treated as such; however, realizing that it would be a massive distraction in the build-up to the World Cup, his hand was forced.

Even in South Africa, when Terry performed his one-man mutiny while England’s World Cup dreams turned into nightmares, Capello turned a blind-eye. Had any other player tried this stunt, there is no doubt in my mind the Italian would have banished them into the international wilderness, never to be seen again. But for some reason, Capello always had room for the English bulldog.

The rationale for this is Capello’s other defining characteristic and one of the main justifications the English Football Association had for hiring him in the first place. He is a stubborn man. He is a man who believes that he is always right.

He is a man that does things his way, and I’m sure he is sick and tired of the bungling ways of the English FA. The John Terry situation is one that should’ve been handled months ago. The FA let it drag on due to a combination of incompetence and cowardice.

What Capello makes of the England captaincy – the most important honor an English footballer can receive – is anyone’s guess. I believe he thinks we make too much of it. Yet, he does understand that it’s the issue that rallies the team.

When David Bernstein, the FA Chairman, announced that Terry has been axed last week, he might as well have said that Capello would be going with him. He had to know that defying the Italian once was risky; doing so twice would surely mean he would walk away.

Capello’s England career will be remembered mainly for the failure in South Africa, when he himself admitted that he got it all wrong, but there were a couple of highs; such as beating Germany in Berlin and thrashing Croatia in Zagreb.

Overall, though, I’m sure he’s as disappointed as I am in his reign. He arrived with all the right credentials. He’d won everything as a player and club manager. The only piece missing from one of the great managerial resumes’ was international success.

At the end of the day, in world football there are only three managerial positions worth having, and Capello, an extremely intelligent man, knew exactly what they were. One was managing his national team: Italy. The second, which would never happen, was taking charge of Brazil. And then there’s the most poisoned chalice of them all: England manager.

Perhaps at close to $10 million a year, the richest contract any national team manager had, the FA thought that they could buy his integrity. In that, they failed. The question now remains what these clowns who supposedly run England will do for an encore.

Harry Redknapp, who has just been cleared of tax evasion charges, has been installed as the favorite, and there are many who feel that the England team should be run by an Englishman. I’m leaning in that direction. Even the ‘Special One’, Jose Mourinho, has said that he would like to return to England. If anyone could get a buzz going, it would be him. I’d offer it to either man on a part-time basis and then reassess after Euro 2012.

On a final note, I can’t say I’m going to miss Fabio Capello that much. After four years (and a 28-8-6 record), we still haven’t developed a coherent style of play and did not deliver the World Cup as promised.

I will miss his character, though, and I hope whoever follows in place has one of his most endearing qualities: Integrity.