If nothing else good comes out of the John Terry saga, at least we won't ever see the "Terry's all gold" headlines ever again. They started surfacing at the start of the millennium and have carried on, pretty much unashamedly, ever since. Yes, his name's Terry. Yes, he's quite good at things. Yes, you could say he's "all gold". And yes, "Terry's All Gold" is a chocolate box assortment, the sort you'd buy if you you're too cheap for Milk Tray and don't like all that dirty dark chocolate in Black Magic. But that's pretty much the end of it. If John Terry played a really good game of football then celebrated with a low-end chocolate box assortment, then you could really go to town on the whole Terry's All Gold thing. But no matter. There won't be any of that shit any more. Actually I say "there won't be any of that shit any more" but I'm pretty convinced there will be a lot more of that shit in the very near future, as soon as he's promised to clean up his ways and stop being such a silly boy. I'm sure the 'Terry's All Gold', which is presumably on a template on tabloid newspaper subs' desktops, can get dusted off for a new outing, sooner or later.
Poor old Terry. It takes quite a lot to make me feel sympathy for such an odious character, but I did a bit this week. A bit. Don't get me wrong, I don't love him all of a sudden or something, and I certainly don't think any more of him this week than I did last week, but blimey. Being John Terry must feel a bit like being Ray Liotta in Goodfellas - constantly followed, knowing you're going to be found out, with a helicopter circling overhead - except it doesn't belong to the CIA or FBI, it belongs to Sky News. Ah, what would the BBC's detractors have to say if Auntie had taken a helicopter up to film a man's car driving along a road? All of a sudden, Terry was OJ. Except he hadn't fled from police and wasn't a suspect in a murder investigation; he got caught doing the nasty on his wife and family. What a spectacular week for Sky News - having made Peter Andre cry in a fairly tawdry bit of telly, they decided to aim just that bit lower. Many congratulations for trying to outdo themselves, though; it just goes to show they're always striving to be thought of as more awful than they already are.
But after all this, the England football team has a new captain. In place of someone who cheated on his wife, which was nothing to do with football, is someone who's currently going through a four-match ban for being violent on the football field; someone who previously forgot to take a drugs test and went out shopping. It's nice to know that the England football team, like Sky News, is always aiming a little bit lower. In case Rio Ferdinand - catchphrase "YOU'VE BEEN MERKED BRUV! HAHAHAHA!" during those never-to-be-forgotten World Cup Windups of years gone by - gets injured, there's always Steve Gerrard, a man who covered himself in glory last year by punching a DJ in the face, but who got away with it because he claimed he was punching the man in the face in self-defence because he got threatened. You might say "Ah but he wasn't convicted", which is true; but nor has Terry been convicted of any criminal offence, yet he still hasn't punched anyone in the face, has he? Well, not yet anyway. Perhaps tomorrow's News of the World will bring further revelations and perhaps that will make it even worse for him; we'll have to wait and see - well, I won't because I won't be buying it, but everyone else can make up their minds.
Everyone's aiming lower. Terry aims to outdo himself; the journalists reporting him aim to outdo themselves; and those replacing Terry as the figurehead of the England team haven't exactly covered themselves in glory in the past. Perhaps the thinking is that they've got their misdemeanours out of the way and the captaincy - the thought of holding that trophy aloft if England were to win the World Cup and to be taken into immortality - will be a good behaviour bond for them. That might be smart thinking, if it's been done that way. Might be.
In the meantime, the Terry story shows no signs of going away; as much as it's damaging to him it's obviously more damaging to those close to him, his family and friends. But now it's reached the point of no return, and it's a fairly easy free hit for everyone to have a bash at writing about it - and I'm no different, of course. I see (but which I hadn't seen) Jan Moir and Liz Jones have had a bash at it in the Mail, in their usual insipid and largely unreadable way. I almost end up feeling sorry for them as well. They must really hate themselves, having to write that guff every week, having to dredge up such clumsy tedium.
Hmm. It seems I've ended up feeling sorry for everyone. I must be a soft touch. This will pass, I'm sure, but in the meantime I can only apologise.