State of the Football Nation: Does anyone like John Terry?

With no Premier League football coming up this weekend, we could start looking at the prospects for the various Villans due to be in international action. But quite frankly there isn't much excitement in Shay Given's sore shoulder, so why don't we as football fans broaden the scope a little?

Football is, always has been and always will be a matter of fierce and conflicting opinions - which is why debate on this blog is usually lively. So to alleviate the numbness of having no Villa game to look forward to on Saturday - let me cast out a few broader opinion hooks and see what I catch.

Should John Terry be in the England squad?

We've all seen the news that Terry is in the squad but won't play against Spain. What grey-suited numpty came up with that compromise, then? Firstly, if Capello means what he says about trying out the younger players - then why include Terry in the first place? Secondly, the guy is subject to a police investigation into criminal allegations. OK - he hasn't been proven guilty of anything - but for crying out loud, in any other working environment, he would be suspended on full pay "subject to investigations".

I'll come clean - I don't like the man. For my money, you would have to look hard to find a player less suited to be an England captain, to represent our nation. I've seen Chelsea at Villa Park and Stamford Bridge over and over again: Terry is always the first to lead his team mates into the referee's face. Dissent is his natural disposition. He defines it. Respect? Forget it.


Putting aside the Wayne Bridge affair, wasn't Terry also the inarticulate mishap who tried to lead a TV-facing revolt against Capello during the World Cup? In many countries, I would imagine that would have signalled the immediate end of an international career.

But, for me, far more than that: isn't Terry a) the captain and defensive marshal of a team who are lacking form, and who have let in more goals already this season than in the whole of last season and b) a player who has been repeatedly tried in top-level international tournaments and repeatedly come up short?

There is no point in selecting or playing John Terry for England. Guilty or innocent of racism, he is a never-been at international level and is in poor form.

Should the England players wear poppies?

Sepp Blatter's FIFA has not exactly been a role model over the past year or so in managing its own PR. But this takes the biscuit, doesn't it?

As far as I am aware, the poppy is no more than a mark of respect for the millions of people - of all nationalities and persuasions - who have lost their lives in wars. I am not very political - when I wear my poppy, it's simply for me a way of remembering a grandfather I never got to know. I'm sure it's like that for most of us, as well as giving a humble nod to a bewilderingly massive number of people who were forced to suffer in ways we'll never understand, and who had not much say in it.

FIFA has shown itself once again to be crashingly thick and irresponsible. The sooner the self-appointed mandarins who purport to run our game are shown the door, the better.

That's why I think this is the perfect opportunity for the FA. The whole country is behind it, smarting from the World Cup award and its inherent corruption, and pissed off by FIFA's raging anglophobia.

The compromise is just that, a compromise. It's time for the FA to pick the fight with FIFA that Blatter has been spoiling for. You and us Blatter, outside, now!

Should Man City fire Carlos Tevez?

I watched a local under 12's game last Sunday. Before it, a collection came round to get funds for some new corner flags. During it, the side for which my son plays had no subs, so the central midfielder had to work box-to-box all game and came off the field dead on his feet.

His reward was a round of applause from all the watching parents, a tousle of the hair from his coach and a chocolate muffin from a caring mum.

I wonder if the lad will ever begin to understand the Carlos Tevez affair. How could you not want to play? How, when given a lifeline back into your squad (ie forgiveness) could you not be bothered to turn up? Why would you not do anything for your teammates?

So my gripe isn't with Tevez. It's with a game which has started its Respect campaign at grass roots - where you'll see role models every Saturday and every Sunday, wherever you go. Instead of at the top level where, in my view, role models are few and far between.

Think about it: in the comment thread below, tell me a player in the Premier League for whom you feel deep affection and respect, who you think would serve as a role model for your own kids, whether or not you have them. You'll find it hard, I'll bet.

In my view, and it's just my view, Tevez should be held to his contract and left to rot in the reserves. City can afford it.

But more importantly, start Respect at the top. Not the bottom.

And by the way, my answer to the question above is Stiliyan Petrov. No John Terry - thank God. No Carlos Tevez - thank God. A decent, humble, hardworking professional who gives his all and who may not be the most gifted player in the Premier League - but is just about the only one I'd invite to my son's birthday party.

We now have our own Google+ page for The Villa Blog here. Google+ is a new social network and we quite like it. You create circles of people and you can control who you send information too as everything is circle based. If you add The Villa Blog to a circle, we will get round to adding you to ours too - that means you can contact us and we can contact you and we can start the Aston Villa ripple. Don't have access to Google+ then leave a request below and I'll send one.