A ‘damp squid’

A week is a long time in politics – just ask John Terry.

Last weekend the Chelsea skipper ran a gauntlet of hate at Loftus Road on his way to a sweet FA Cup win.

Six days later he was left with sweet FA as the England captaincy was stripped from him for the second time.

You suspect he won’t be given the chance to complete an unwanted hat-trick.

The pendulum appeared to be swinging back in Terry’s direction when the date for his trial over the alleged racial abuse of QPR’s Anton Ferdinand was scheduled after the completion of Euro 2012.

“I was even more astonished a few minutes later to learn Warnock had doubled the lead. You can take the man out of QPR…”

However, many fans – from an assortment of clubs – expressed their unease at the possibility of the 31-year-old defender lifting the trophy – a moment, like Bobby Moore in ’66, that would be forever framed in time.

All rubbish, of course. My dog has got more chance of winning a football tournament than England – and I haven’t got a dog.

Terry, lest we forget, has not been found guilty of anything and is indeed continuing to protest his innocence over the Ferdinand affair.

Although you wouldn’t think it given the stream of angry chants directed at him last Saturday.

Not that anyone, least of all Terry, expected anything different – with the pre-match hysteria cranked up by the posting of a bullet, which later became a cartridge and was eventually revised to an airgun pellet.

In the event, what was billed as an explosion in a fireworks factory fizzled out into a damp squib (or ‘damp squid’ as Paul Merson is fond of saying).

There were no arrests either inside or outside the ground, with police almost outnumbering the crowd (3000 empty seats testament to the fear factor whipped up by the media) and the only injury was caused by the ball – such was the reluctance by any player to show anything approaching passion given the fierce glare of the media spotlight.

The game had 0-0 written all over it, but was ultimately decided by a penalty so dodgy I half expected Daniel Sturridge’s name to be belatedly added to the Oscar nominees.

Bereft of anything of interest to write about, Fleet Street’s finest turned their attention to the crowd.

Replacing Rob Hulse. Quite a task facing Zamora.

The tone of most pieces seemed to be along the lines of brave John Terry heroically ignoring the bile spat at him as he strode into the lion’s den like an all-conquering gladiator.

I agree, it wasn’t particularly pleasant (from either set of fans) – and I left my seven-year-old daughter at home for that very reason – but let’s face it, in a local derby with added spice, no-one is going to be blowing kisses and handing out flowers.

It was back to league action in midweek and while 10-man Chelsea sneaked a late point at Swansea, Rangers travelled to Aston Villa with more new faces than a 70s talent contest.

I was delayed getting home from work and was amazed to discover we had taken the lead through one of the deadline day signings, Djibril Cisse (move over Philip, there’s a new Beard in town).

I was even more astonished a few minutes later to learn Warnock had doubled the lead. You can take the man out of QPR…

Over-excited, I made the mistake of telling my little one the news, sending her to sleep with a smile on her face, dreaming of three precious points.

At 7am the next morning I had to break it to her that three points had become one – I always find bucketfuls of tears are not the best way to start the day, although thank the Lord for chocolate buttons.

It’s fair to say Fulham fans weren’t exactly jumping for joy at the departure of Bobby Zamora to Loftus Road – although one wag pointed out that Mark Hughes’ signings had brought the average age of the QPR squad up to 65.

But while most backed manager Martin Jol, they saved their biggest love for the return of Roy Hodgson, with old Steptoe visibly moved by the reception when he returned with West Brom in midweek.

And the Fulham defence even had the decency to extend the welcome to Albion’s Some Tchoyi to complete the perfect evening for their former gaffer.

Last, but certainly not least, the west London performance of the week goes to Brentford – and in particular Gary Alexander.

The striker fired a hat-trick in the 5-2 walloping of Wycombe, taking his tally to 10 goals in his last nine.

Mischievous Bees fans renamed their opponents ‘Why Come?’ and took particular delight in seeing former QPR hero Gareth Ainsworth aimlessly looking for the dugout on the wrong side of the pitch.

I’m hoping, in true pantomime fashion, one of the Griffin Park faithful shouted out: “It’s behind you!”

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