England's soccer captain John Terry is in disgrace because it has emerged that he slept with the girlfriend of a teammate, Wayne Bridges. One tabloid even alleges she got pregnant and had an abortion.
The news has hit British soccer like a hurricane, given that Terry is about to captain England in their World Cup challenge in South Africa later this year. In British terms, it is almost as big as the Tiger Woods scandal is over here.
The English captain was so determined to save face that he tried to have the High Court block publication of his name.
When that failed then the tabloids took after him with a vengeance. Hell hath no fury like the tabloids scorned and Terry has really set them alight.
All this creates a familiar sinking feeling for English soccer fans. Since 1966 when they won at Wembley Stadium, England has failed to make the World Cup final, let alone win it.
Every time they look good, like this year, under splendid Italian coach Fabio Capello something crazy seems to go wrong. During the last World Cup it was the WAGS, short for wives and girlfriends, who provided the off field distraction, while key player Wayne Rooney got sent off against Portugal ending their hopes.
In previous years everything from a stomach bug, which cost them their key goalkeeper, to revelations about the sex life of then-coach Swede Sven Eriksson, have upended the team.
Put simply,. when it comes to the World Cup, England are snake-bitten, and this latest Terry controversy seems certain to increase that feeling. Now Capello must decide whether to keep him as captain, whether to pick Bridges for the team, and how to handle the fallout. All less than five months from the World Cup.
This Irishman almost feels sorry for them.
The Irish pub that became home base for 9/11 ground zero rescuers