The controversy currently attached to a small piece of elasticated nylon embroidered with Three Lions does not diminish its significance.
Just the opposite. All this fuss and furore, all this ripping up of innocent until proven guilty principles by the FA, demonstrates and accentuates the importance of the England armband. Its worth fighting for.
The armband conveys ambassadorial duties and qualities and the FA understandably seeks to preserve that. John Terrys bitterness at losing the armband highlights further why it is the most coveted item in English sport.
Why? Simple. It is a familiar refrain amongst careers advisers at the nations schools that many boys tell them they want to play for England whether at football, rugby union or cricket, and they want to captain their country.
Its what sporting dreams are made of and those fabled few who achieve such a feat are set apart. There remains a difference between those who play for their country and those who lead them out. The captaincy matters. In many eyes, it signifies the best of the best.
The outcry was loud and long when the England armband was thrown around as if engaged in a manic game of pass the parcel during the 2003 Wembley friendly with Serbia and Montenegro at the Walkers Stadium. Michael Owen started as captain before the armband went to Emile Heskey when Owen went off.
When Heskey followed, Phil Neville took charge before passing the strip of cherished cloth to Jamie Carragher. Four men and an armband. Sven-Goran Eriksson was reminded forcefully that the armband was a national heirloom to be handed down reverentially. This is not sentimentalism. This is respect for history.
England have had some legendary captains, marvellous players and role models like Billy Wright and Bobby Moore, who head the FA list of official captains (those who start the game) with 90 each (Wright from 105 games and Moore from 108).
The many emotions woven into the armband are reflected in the huge statue of Moore that rises above Wembley Way. Before games, people gather by the plinth to admire the sculpture, to pay homage to a fine leader, and recall those moments when he climbed the steps to accept the World Cup, pausing to wipe his hands clean of the mud and sweat so as not to dirty the Queens pristine white gloves.
This was a Boys own episode come to life. This is a story that needs passing down from generation to generation, a reminder of Moores dignity and the nobility that should accompany the armband.
It is a badge of honour, dating back to Englands first football captain, the cricket-loving, rackets-playing, law-practising Old Etonian Cuthbert Ottaway 140 years ago. Although honour remains attached to the armband, it has also become a lucrative fashion item.
Such is the importance of the armband that it is worth approximately £1 million to the wearer in endorsement opportunities or bonuses to existing agreements.
Financially and emotionally, the England armband remains as important as ever. No wonder there are so many column inches devoted to it, so many phone-in debates obsessing over the England armband. It matters to millions.