Deposed England skipper John Terry endures miserable day after drubbing follows Wayne Bridge snub
Wayne Bridge considers shaking John Terry's hand - then decides against it.
It could have been two children on a school playing field. One was happy to shake hands and be friends, the other still bore a grudge. This was John Terry and Wayne Bridge yesterday.
They lined up against each other for the first time since the revelations that Terry had had an affair with Bridge's former partner and mother of his child.
As part of the Premier League's fair play campaign, players from each team are expected to shake hands with their opponents before the kick-off, but yesterday Bridge, the Manchester City player, just could not do it.
He made his feelings known during the week, telling the England manager Fabio Capello he could not bear to share a dressing room with Chelsea's Terry and therefore did not want to be picked for the international team. Terry did hold out his hand and for a second it looked as though Bridge would do the same. But he pulled his arm away and stared the Chelsea captain straight in the eye.
If you blinked you missed it and Sky Sports, which had given the confrontation the big build-up, failed on this occasion to do an action replay... at least until half-time. YouTube had no such scruples and the video was soon posted. By the end of the 90 minutes there were hundreds of hits.
The build-up to the non-handshake was not quite on the scale of Nixon and Mao, or Rabin and Arafat, but viewers of Sky could have been forgiven for thinking it was a worldwide event.
Both managers were interviewed beforehand. Chelsea's Carlo Ancelotti said he did not expect the atmosphere to affect his captain: "John Terry is professional and doesn't have a problem in staying focused on the match. He has... a good mentality." City manager Roberto Mancini urged defender Bridge to concentrate on the match, which came only 48 hours after he withdrew from England's World Cup plans. Mancini said: "He is a strong character."
The BBC was also all over the story.On its live football website, just before kick-off, an anonymous blogger remarked: "For once my wife wants to watch a 'football' match. I wonder how long she will last in front of the screen after the handshake/non-handshake."
Ten minutes later another blogger on the same site was able to put the spat in context, writing: "My nephew is playing an under-11's match later today against his ex-best friend, who he thinks stole his Creme Egg at school last week. Do you want me to report in on the handshake (or lack of)?"
Those in the ground played their part in the pantomime. When Terry, who lost the England captaincy for playing away with Vanessa Perroncel, touched the ball for the first time there were cheers. Thirty seconds later the boos rang out as Bridge played the ball out of defence, and for the rest of the match there were catcalls and whistles.
Sky commentators joined in, saying with all seriousness when City went 3-1 up, "what a great result for Wayne Bridge on this day of all days". Seconds later Bridge was substituted as Mancini tried to put a stop to the panto.
Unfortunately for Chelsea, there was an extra scene when Michael Ballack became the second Chelsea player to be sent off, following Juliano Belletti's red card, and City scored a fourth.
Bridge was over the moon and Terry sick as a parrot as the game ended 4-2 following a late Chelsea penalty.
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