England captain John Terry's affair does not warrant media attack

WITH little knowledge of the game and no interest in the sport whatsoever, I found myself in unfamiliar territory when the football headlines grabbed my attention at the weekend. It s fair to say that the sport still bores me rigid. It was the revelation

WITH little knowledge of the game and no interest in the sport whatsoever, I found myself in unfamiliar territory when the football headlines grabbed my attention at the weekend.

It's fair to say that the sport still bores me rigid. It was the revelation that married England captain John Terry has been having an affair which caught my eye.

Everyone seems to have an opinion on the footballer's infidelity, and I am no exception.

Firstly, the story did not deserve front page coverage in the national press.


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In the Daily Mail, it took up the entire front and back pages of the newspaper on Saturday, as well as pages four, five, six, seven, 126 and 127. That is a ridiculous amount of space to devote to one story, and it represents poor value for readers. The conclusion to Tony Blair's six hours of evidence as part of the Chilcot inquiry into the invasion of Iraq, which resulted in the deaths of up to 700,000 Iraqis and 179 British troops, seemed of little consequence in comparison.

Terry's infidelity is a storm in a teacup - admittedly not for his wife, Toni, and their children, but for the wider world, who really cares? What he has done is not unlawful. Footballers are constantly surrounded by temptation and, would you believe it, Terry is human.

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In the amoral, materialistic world of footballers and their WAGs it is hardly surprising that the England captain has been found to be unfaithful to his wife. I bet dozens of insecure WAGs turned to their husbands or boyfriends the day the news broke, searching for reassurance that they would not be the next couple to hit the headlines. But for many it is only a matter of time, and they know it.

In 2005, two years before they married, Terry publically admitted repeatedly cheating on Toni, so she knew exactly what sort of man he was before they wed and had children together. She made her bed, so she should lie in it.

The papers are speculating that England manager Fabio Capello may decide Terry's presence could seriously destabilises the England squad and jeopardise their chances of success in the World Cup, but this is nonsensical. You don't have to have a knowledge of football to know that changing the captain now would be even more disruptive.

In an opinion piece, the Daily Mail's chief football correspondent Matt Lawton writes: "England's manager does not want to lose Terry. He rightly regards him as one of the finest centre halves in the world and until now he has been very satisfied with his performance as captain." If this is true then it endorses the fact that Terry should retain his position and play in South Africa this summer.

The media, having taken its precarious position on the moral high ground, is being disproportionately harsh to Terry considering his crime. The fact Terry initially managed to use human rights laws to obtain a gagging order against the press, claiming his right to a 'private and family life', is likely to be the real reason the media is gunning for him now.

It's certainly not his finest hour, and you would have to be heartless not to feel some sympathy for his wife and their children, but Terry does not deserve the level of lambasting he is getting from the media.

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