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Move on, Terry!

Robbo Robson | 14:35 UK time, Thursday, 20 November 2008

Think of Terry Butcher and what picture comes to mind? That's right - 1989, vital World Cup qualifier, against the Swede (this is pre-turnip England of course) swathed in bandages and looking like an extra from Blackadder Goes Forth, repeatedly nutting his gory head against cross after cross as if his life depended on it.

It's impossible to overstate how many per cent Butcher gave in an England shirt. It was never less than 100% and sometimes - as is the way with committed footballers these days - it was more than that. People say that's impossible but if you can get a 125% mortgage then England's lionheart can certainly give at least a hundred and ten.

Any road, what you don't think of, if you're kind, is Coventry City plummeting down the league and the bucket of fun that was Don Howe coming in to save the day. You don't think of Sunderland or Partick or Sydney FC, cos he did a crap job in them places and we like Butch. Quite how he's got a job with the Scottish national team is beyond me although it might have summat to do with his old Ipswich chum George Burley being in charge.

And it's an unlikely way for him to come back into contact with his nemesis, the little cheating genius Maradona. Now Maradona (which incidentally is Geordie for 'me mate's kebab') is undoubtedly one of the top two footballers in the history of the game - the other being Bosko Jankovic, obviously. But as an Englishman it's bloody hard to accept that fact cos of that goal. But in Argentina the bloke is revered like a God, which is utterly laughable. For quite a while the hand of God was stuffing the pizza of God into the gob of God and inhaling some Colombian produce into the nostrils of God. Fortunately the Stomach Staple of God fixed things and since then he's shrunk back to something approaching his old self. In Britain he wouldn't have made coach at Boston United - all right, anywhere except Boston.

Now of course Butcher is as likely to hold a grudge against the little fella as anyone. He saw the handball and - fool that he is - failed to chop the little magician off at the knees at the first opportunity for the glorious second. Thing is, if you want to stop feeling miffed about the diddling little deity just go to Youtube and watch that second goal again. Watch Reidy chugging in his wake like a steam engine after a TGV. Watch Butch's hopeless swipe, Fenwick's missed hack (he was on a yellow) and the feint to deceive Shilts - and that's all you need to know about how utterly brilliant the bloke was at football. Butcher always adds that the Argentinians were celebrating outrageously while Tel was waiting to give a urine sample. I'm sure Diego would argue that he was trying to help a no-doubt dehydrated fellow footballer by taking the p*** out of him.

Diego Maradona, Terry Butcher

But the point is that Butcher wasn't representing England last night. He's a paid employee of the SFA and he needs to stop acting like a petulant stroppy great youth and put things behind him. It rankles with a lot of us still but, crikey, it was 22 years ago. Get over it or go on Jeremy Kyle or summat and have a proper blow-out.

Besides, he should be looking southwards towards the continuing rebirth of the team he obviously would prefer to be representing still. Capello continues to get the best out of England by keeping it really simple. I've always said 4-4-2. Fabio's spent time with the players, realized the average IQ of the squad is slightly lower than that of a baboon colony and has kept the instructions appropriately straightforward. Even Downing and SWP looked good last night. Carrick, too, although he does look like football's David Gower sometimes, sublime and graceful but prone to some horrible wafts every now and then. Your only worry is still the keeper. James looks as reliable as a bailed-out bank and I'd feel more confident if his replacement had been Willie Carson, frankly. The sooner Hart and Foster get their chances the better. I think the jury's out on Terry, too, but you can't deny the bloke's commitment - he was desperate to play - and maybe that's what Capello needs in a skipper.

Of course there are them who go on 606 and that and tell you that Germany were cack and England haven't played anyone decent under Capello yet. Thing is, these are England fans talking. Hellfire if you can't feel a bit up about the team after five straight wins and a shedload of goals, then I suggest you crawl back into whatever pit of misery you came from and stop phoning 5 Live! In the meantime, Fabio's got the rest of us dreaming again. And there's nowt wrong with that. The next friendly is against Spain... and I think we'll beat 'em.

In fact - you know what? It's official. England can win the World Cup in 2010. I can see it now... seconds to go... England 2 Argentina 2, Maradona in his technical area biting his nails.... A corner to England... Beckham parks his zimmer and swings his right boot at it. A kerfuffle in the six-yard-box, a flurry of arms and legs.... and a goal to England! The replays show that JT used his hand to put it in, and justice has come full circle and it wasn't over the line anyway. The final whistle blows, England are champions and who's this marching on to the pitch to shake little Diego by the hand...? Ahhhh, it's Terry Butcher! He's forgiven you at last, bless 'im.


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