Yes I know, we read about him so much these days that even the most ardent Chelsea supporter must roll their eyes when they see the name in print now. Most, if not all, of what we read about him isn’t pleasant either, in fact, google his name now and it seems to be synonymous with the word ‘racist’. It’s as if that’s all there is to him.
Of course, as Chelsea supporters we’ll see beyond personal flaws, particularly with someone like John Terry because realistically, in this age where contracts don’t seem to be worth the paper they’re written on and big-money transfers leave players’ passports stamped more times than your local drunk’s left-foot doing his best Riverdance on a Friday night, club loyalty has to be recognised.
Aside from that though, sometimes there’s a balance that needs to be redressed and given I seem to find myself in the constant position of not only defending him but also apparently needing to justify my support of him, I’ll say my piece and thereafter, anyone who questions me can jog on.
I don’t condone racism, in fact, if JT had been found guilty in court I wouldn’t be writing this piece, but he wasn’t, he was found not guilty – and whatever people want to argue to the contrary, the verdict stands. Yet still the witch hunt goes on…
At the weekend, Roberto Di Matteo almost had to explain his reasons for selecting his own captain against Arsenal, although in doing so and referring to the ‘good things’ JT does, I personally felt the ‘giving boots to kids’ example came across a little lame. For me, if I was going to talk about why John Terry still has my backing, I guess I could mention him being an ambassador for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. I could talk about how active he’s been in promoting a charity set up in memory of an 11 year old boy who died from a brain tumour or his response, both on a human and financial level to the death of the London Marathon runner who tragically died raising money for others. I could even talk about how he, along with his now former England team-mates donated their time, and match fees, in support of the Bobby Moore fund. Or about the relationship he developed with a little girl he met on a plane when he spotted her Make-A-Wish badge.
Maybe I’d even think I should mention the support he’s given to Chelsea youth players, going above and beyond his role as captain to send them and their families on holidays when they’re injured or paying for driving lessons for every single player in the youth team because he remembers what it’s like to be in their boots. Or that he’d once bought a car for an old masseuse at the club whose age meant public transport would have been difficult to negotiate – and the fact that he did all this way before Roman and the sort of money he earns now.
No-one mentions any of that when they talk about John Terry though do they? Even his most ardent supporters when they defend him, will talk about what it is he gives to Chelsea rather than others. Like his passion and commitment to the club, the way he’ll throw everything at a game – including himself. The last-ditch tackles, the goal-line clearances, the unquestionable leadership that all of his previous managers pay tribute to. Even with England, Fabio Capello felt strongly enough about having JT in his side he was prepared to resign over it. Whilst Hodgson, risked the wrath of his new bosses by not only backing John Terry, but putting him straight in the side in spite of the backlash.
Jose Mourinho, when aked about him says “John Terry was the perfect captain for me, that’s the only thing I can say,” and even Pep Guardiola has called him “a true gentleman”, after JT visited the Barcelona dressing room and shook hands with every member of their playing and coaching staff after one of our controversial games. The Barça team and staff meanwhile, applauded him out of the room. Not really the way you’d expect people to respond to Britain’s Most Wanted is it?
Let’s be clear here though, irrespective of whether he’s an all round good guy or not, John Terry is Chelsea’s most successful captain. He’s led us to 3 Premier League titles, 4 FA Cups, 2 League Cups and the Champions League (mind you, even when following a EUFA directive by collecting his medal for that in his kit, he was slated). He’s one of only 5 players to have made over 500 appearances for us, he’s scored more goals than any defender before him at Chelsea and he’s been named UEFA Club Defender of the Year on three occasions.
Now, whilst there’s millions out there who won’t want to read any of the above about John Terry, I didn’t start this blog up to please them. If I was writing for applause or adulation, I’d probably be a journo trolling on my twitter account instead. No, I started this blog up because I’ve always had plenty to say for myself where Chelsea are concerned – and not all of it has been pretty, particularly when it’s come to John Terry. You see, when he’s behaved like a c*ck, I’ve called him a c*ck (I’ve never pretended he’s a pillar of virtue) but then I’ve got over it and accepted that none of us are perfect.
The difference is though, when any of us f*ck up, we wouldn’t have even half of the above to defend ourselves with! Think about it.