Who would have thought on the 28th October 1998 when a young 17-year-old John Terry made a substitute appearance in the League Cup against Aston Villa, he will go on to achieve what would have been thought impossible at the time. Since then Terry has had some highs and lows, but through it all, Chelsea Football Club has been the constant.
Terry had only made 15 first team appearances before being shipped out on loan to Nottingham Forest, whereby he played 6 times and the team keeping 3 clean sheets. In this day and age, it would have been a perfect example of a Chelsea youth product out on loan and staying there for years on end, with the end product being sold to an inferior club. However, Johns return saw him named on the bench for Chelsea’s F.A Cup success against the club he first appeared for the club; Aston Villa. Was this the start of Terry’s hunger for success?
Learning his trade alongside World-Cup winners Marcel Desailly and Frank Leboeuf was the perfect stepping stone before Terry took over the mantelpiece from Desailly as club captain. These two experienced pros were influencing Terry long enough for JT to learn everything he needed to, but moved on at a time when Terry was of an age for the last lesson; become a leader on your own. John, recognised their influence and last year said “I think it comes down to maintaining a level of performance, no matter what status you have at the club. Growing up with the likes of Michael Duberry, Frank Leboeuf and Marcel Desailly definitely improved my game. Not only because of the way they looked after me or the education they gave me through watching them on a daily.”
In the summer of 2004 Jose Mourinho made JT’s appointment of club captain a permanent choice after Desailly leaving the club, and Terry was being selected for the National team on a regular basis. In a matter of 5 years John went from loanee to club captain and international footballer. JTs first season as Chelsea captain couldn’t have gone any better with the club going on to win their first top flight title in 50 years and the League Cup. Chelsea’s defence was the team’s greatest weapon as well, keeping 24 clean sheets and only conceding 15 goals all year, Terry was the orchestrator at the heart of the Chelsea team. His fellow professional had also realised what a player JT had become, with John winning the PFA Player of the Year award and being named in the ‘Best Defender in the Champions League’ and being selected in the FIFPro World XI. Chelsea and John Terry went on to regain the Premier League the following season.
In the summer of 2006 John Terry was named England captain, succeeding David Beckham. The success just continued, with Terry leading the club to a domestic Cup double. During the League Cup final against Arsenal, Terry received a kick to the face whereby he was knocked out and was close to swallowing his tongue. Terry’s ironman persona came shining through with terry returning to the Millennium Stadium to celebrate with his teammates. He even had stint in goal for Chelsea, with Cech and Cudicini both getting injured in the same game, JT took the gloves and played the final few minutes in goal; keeping a clean sheet.
That summer the man who gave Terry the captaincy left the club and was the start of many manager changes at the club, which saw John Terry be the leader throughout and continued to lead the club to major honours. Terry led the club all the way to the Champions League final; the one trophy missing from Terry’s cabinet. A game which Terry says he still wakes up at night in shock about and a game that will live long his memory. JT took a decisive penalty in which if he scored Chelsea would have won the Champions League; Terry slipped on the penalty spot and his shot hit the outside of the post. Chelsea went on to lose the game.
Over the next 2 years Terry was playing under Ancelotti, again, leading the club to an F.A Cup in the first year and then regaining the Premier League the year later with another F.A Cup. Off the field however, terry was going through hard times and the England Captaincy was stripped from him for non-footballing reasons. Terry was reinstated as England captain, just over a year after it had been taken away from him. However, a year later Terry was stripped of the captaincy again against the wishes of then manager Fabio Capello, who resigned over the incident.
During the 2011/12 season saw a former Chelsea player who Terry once looked up, in Roberto Di Matteo. Together they created an atmosphere around the club and the feeling of something special could happen. Terry was able to put to bed the nightmares of Moscow by finally winning the Champions League in Munich. This fine achievement was added with another F.A Cup win. At the start of the next season, JT decided to retire from international duty, due to feeling his position was now untenable. The following year Terry went on to lift another European trophy, the Europa League.
Terry went just over 18 months without a trophy, the longest in a decade. But has recently led Chelsea to win the League Cup, and is currently set to be crowned Premier League champion again having a stunning campaign and producing performances of old. Terry had not long left on his contract which was due to expire this summer. On 26 March 2015, Terry signed one year extension to his contract, Terry said “after adding another major trophy to my collection this month I hope myself, the players and manager can continue to bring success to our club”. Terry will be hoping to play for a few more seasons still to come, leading the club he loves and hoping to gain one more Champions League winners medal. John is now 3rd in Chelsea’s all time appearance records and has led the club out onto the field more times than anyone else.
JT? ‘Captain, Leader, Legend’.
- FA Premier League (3): 2004–05, 2005–06, 2009–10
- FA Cup (5): 1999–00, 2006–07, 2008–09, 2009–10, 2011–12
- Football League Cup (3): 2004–05, 2006–07, 2014–15
- FA Community Shield (2): 2005, 2009
- UEFA Champions League (1): 2011–12
- UEFA Europa League (1): 2012–13
- PFA Player of the Year: 2004–05
- PFA Team of the Year: 2003–04, 2004–05, 2005–06
- FIFA World Cup Team of the Tournament: 2006
- FIFPro World XI: 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009
- ESM Team of the Year: 2004–05, 2008–09, 2009–10
- UEFA Club Football Awards Best Defender: 2005, 2008, 2009 
- UEFA Team of the Year: 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009
- Chelsea Player of the Year: 2001, 2006
Contribution by Stuart Machin