No one can honestly argue that John Terry is not, at his best, one of the best defenders in the world. With Chelsea he has won three Premier League titles, 5 FA Cup’s, and last year’s Champion’s League trophy (although he was banned for the final.)
For England, the FIFA Player of the year 2005, and UEFA Club Awards Best Defender ‘05, ‘08, and ’09 has won nothing. He has also failed to win any popularity contests, due to his off-field antics, which include (brace yourselves):
An extra-marital affair with his teammate’s ex-fiancé who he allegedly impregnated and, subsequently paid to have an abortion, preceded by allegedly sending sexually-explicit text messages to a 17-year-old whilst engaged to his wife; allegedly accepting money for giving ‘private tours’ of Chelsea’s training ground; failing to show up for the opening of a pet shop for which he had been paid to appear; and a recent enquiry into allegations that he racially abused Anton Ferdinand, calling him a “f***ing black c***”.
It’s really no wonder that the player was paid more than £1million for the rights to his autobiography – I haven’t read it yet but would personally be very intrigued to find out how one could possibly explain away all of the above without concluding that one had made some errors of judgement, perhaps lacking some moral fibre, to say the least.
But on the field, Terry is majestic – his performances for Chelsea, and to a lesser extent England, have been generally fantastic. He has the natural instinct of a world-class defender – making decisive challenges, denying the opposition space and time, driving his team forward at set-pieces, making last-ditch blocks in the box and clearances on the goal-line, harassing attackers into submission and, a penalty miss aside, has been a leader and a demi-God for the Stamford Bridge faithful.
Who wouldn’t want him in their side? Well, probably most fair-minded human beings but, them aside, he’s been a football manager’s dream – or nightmare, I can’t decide. Maybe tonight’s bedtime literature of choice “My Winning Season” will help me make up my mind. Goodnight JT.
image: © Julian Mason