THERE are some obsessions that just make you want to scream and the fixation among certain sections of the media as to who is captain of England’s football team is currently making me want to howl like a banshee.
For the best part of a week pundits have been wailing and gnashing their teeth as to whether John Terry is ‘worthy’ of regaining the armband after being stripped of the honour 13 months ago.
To be honest the whole argument is just so overblown it is pathetic.
Firstly, the role of England captain mainly involves leading the team out, which is essentially managing to stand at the front of a queue and walk in a straightish line.
Secondly, you have to be able to hand over a smart plaque and then graciously accept a pennant, or some other naff souvenir like a basket-weave donkey with a cheap bottle of sangria inside, in exchange.
Thirdly, you have to be able to remember to shake hands with the opposition captain and the match officials, and finally you have to cope with the pressure of calling when the coin is tossed and say heads or tails and not get panicked into randomly shouting ‘bum’ or something that would cause an international incident.
I believe that even Terry is up to this and as such is perfectly capable of taking back the England captaincy.
But apparently some people feel the England captain should have to have the inspirational qualities of Richard the Lionheart, while having the moral background of Mother Teresa.
Obviously very few are going to make the grade and arguably in the past pretty much none have.
But if you read down the list of England captains you can probably actually list the genuinely inspirational captains on the fingers of one hand – or less.
Obviously, you have to count Bobby Moore and Billy Wright as genuine leaders and, with 65 games as captain, Bryan Robson is certainly in there too.
The next longest servant is David Beckham who presided over some shabby showings in major finals and, while I know there will be those who point to certain games where he inspired success, it is arguable just how much a leader of men he was.
From that point on you are making cases for individuals – the likes of Johnny Haynes and Emlyn Hughes were probably good men to play for – but really some of the rest who have worn the armband really do not fill the supposedly exacting criteria of the job.
Obviously there are too many names to list, so take the time out to find a copy of the incumbents and be amazed by just who has represented their country as skipper – Mick Channon left me gobsmacked for a start.
My favourite name is Arthur Grimsdell who was skipper three times in the early 1920s.
Sadly there is no record as to whether Norman Wisdom was in the same England line-up or as to whether his constant shouting of “Ere Mr Grimsdell” drove the Tottenham centre half to such distraction that he very quickly handed over the responsibility.