The following words relate to football. To a footballer. To his ability on the pitch. To his dedication to one team and one cause. They make no mention of his marriage or anything he or his family may have been accused of by the footballing or police authorities. Or even by other footballers. Right now, I’m not interested in any of that.
I simply wish to put on record my appreciation of John Terry the footballer.
There used to be quite a few players like him when I was younger. Central defenders who shed blood, sweat and tears for one club. Captains who put their head where most of us would fear to put our leg. Defenders who got stuck in, threw their body in the way of the ball and who charged into attack for set pieces, hoping to score a goal or two during the course of a season.
I’m amazed how many defenders I see playing these days who do none of the above. Players who stand back, allow attackers to go past them, who watch the ball and not the man and who are quick to blame a colleague when his team concedes a goal. I’ve never seen John Terry do the latter. Not for club or country. Perhaps he has and I’ve missed it. But I wouldn’t put money on it.
Time was that many a player spent an entire career at one club. But it’s rare now. As a youth, John Terry spent four years trying to make it at West Ham. But from the age of 15 onwards there has been but one footballing home for him. Amazing to think now but he was once sent out on loan to Nottingham Forest. The Blues wanted the young JT to gain more first team experience. He played for Forest six times in 2000 and then manager David Platt hoped to sign him permanently. But that was never going to happen. Terry was sweet on Chelsea.
Fast forward fifteen years and Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has guaranteed that Terry will be offered a new contract for next season. And rightly so. Not only is he Chelsea through and through, but he remains one of the best defenders in the Premier League. Despite the mileage on his clock and regardless of the knocks he has taken over the years, he keeps on going and contributes mightily at the back and when going forward.
There are not many defenders like John Terry left in the modern English game.
His loyalty to one club may well make him the last of a dying breed. I envy Chelsea supporters for having such a good player, committed captain and loyal servant to a club that could have jettisoned him when the going off the pitch of play got tough.
I don’t support Chelsea. But anyone who appreciates good players who always give 100% for the cause must acknowledge, even if grudgingly so, that John Terry is the type of player we all wish our own team possessed.
He was a loss to the England side but that has ensured he will be able to play all the longer for the club he loves so much. I expect he’ll be an employee of Chelsea in some capacity or other for as long as he wishes.
In this age when footballers are looking for the next move a few weeks after they made the last one, we should not be so partisan as to blind us from the fact that John Terry is a throwback to an era when footballers would have paid to play the game for the love of it. Rather than be paid fortunes simply to kiss one badge one year, and another the next.