Back in October, I wrote about the living legend that is John Terry. It will come as no surprise that I waxed lyrical about the man, and of course with my usual arrogance, offered up some not so sage advice.
Why are people like myself moved to write about people like John? Simple really: as a match-going fan you get to see what the man is like on the pitch. What he brings to Chelsea Football Club is almost immeasurable. Almost. If he were to leave the club, it would be a tragedy beyond anything that’s happened to Chelsea in recent years. He is, quite simply, one of the greatest players ever to pull on a Chelsea shirt.
But he’s not leaving. All the talk in the papers and amongst the chattering classes of the internet forums – the very place many papers seem to get their news these days – is that JT is doing this for the money. Smoke and mirrors.
Ask yourself, even if you’re a City fan: why would he leave for City? What do they have to offer at the moment, beyond a mythical project being marshalled by a manager who won’t be there the season after next? No Champions league, the very things professional players at this level strive to compete in. New players to support the project? Well, one Samuel Eto’o, who according to someone who was ‘in the know’ on one of the Man City message boards was an 80% done deal, is not going to Manchester. A man who did a superb impression of a seven year old when told that Man City were interested in taking him to Costa del Eastlands by sticking his fingers in his ears and going ‘la la la la la’ until someone mouthed the right words in his face. Those words being either, more money, Man Utd, or Real Madrid, depending on which way el viento was blowing on that particular day.
No, this isn’t about money for JT. It’s about reassurances over the direction of the club. Further, it always has been. It’s been reported many times, but ignored by so many with an agenda. What’s really disconcerting about this is that fans feel they have the right to voice their opinion about the problems at Chelsea Football Club, but when a player does it, with remarkable efficiency they slip into righteous indignation mode and blame the player for holding the club to ransom; quite literally a king’s ransom it would seem to many. These people, ironically, are the same people who with alarming regularity, call into question the competence of those in charge at the club. Short-sighted in my opinion.
For all that John Terry has done for this club, I’ve heard some pretty disgusting allegations levelled at him recently, and yet fans really dislike being called fickle. By far the worst, though, is the label of coward. Quite extraordinary accusation in my opinion, and one that doesn’t quite ring true by any stretch of my imagination. A man who’s laid his professional career on the line for Chelsea, and been criticised for doing so, is so cowardly that he couldn’t walk into the offices on his return from holidays with a transfer request in his hand? No, doesn’t hold any water for me at all.
As for the fact that he hasn’t come out and told everyone, all over again, that he’s staying at Chelsea, perhaps people might want to consider that the new manager has decided that maybe he doesn’t want his players running to the press every time they beckon. I hope so, it would be a nice change, and fits well with what people were saying about Carlo Ancelotti before he joined the club; that he’s a strong man with excellent man management skills.
So, the Man City fans can carry on dreaming for all they want, and the Chelsea fans who want him out can carry on gnashing their teeth and re-writing their agendas on the backs of fag packets, but they all going to be disappointed.
John Terry simply wants the same reassurance about the future of the club as the rest of us, and as a senior player at the club who’s coming up to the most important period of his career, he has every right to seek those assurances.
John Terry isn’t leaving Chelsea, he is Chelsea.