What is it Chelsea fans say? ‘John Terry. Captain. Leader. Legend.’ Something like that. They’re understandably loyal at Chelsea mind you. The rest of us tend towards something like ‘John Terry. Loudmouth. Lech. Very Slow When Faced With A Striker Who Can Run A Bit.’
Of course the truth is somewhere in the middle.
The best thing about John Terry is that he’s stopped playing for England. Ah now, that was just my little joke. The best thing about him is all those things that Chelsea fans adore – his whole-heartedness, his never-say-die attitude, and the fact that for an English centre-back he’s really quite good at passing accurately to a team-mate.
Those of us who witnessed the slip -on-the-arse that crapped on his dreams in 2008 can’t have been unmoved. Indeed I moved from off the chair and on to the floor very quickly, guffaws raining from my throat. Then again, the bloke stepped up when, say, Knackersless Anelka couldn’t.
On the pitch, the odd allegedly racist remark aside, he has been a model professional. He is very good at what he does, and was, undeniably one of the best England players at the Euros. It is off the pitch where most of his shit happens.
There have been rumours – and these are only rumours – that Terry took it upon himself to take guided tours around Stamford Bridge (the football ground not the site of the battle of 1066) for £10k a pop. (I think any monies accrued have been donated to charity since if indeed they were offered in the first place.)
It should be pointed out that he has been found not guilty of much of this stuff: not guilty of attacking a doorman with a bottle; not guilty of attacking a bottle-man with a door; not guilty of being racist whilst using racist language; not necessarily guilty of shagging Wayne Bridge’s bird when Wayne was still with her. Indeed Ms Perroncel, a lingerie model and ‘nightclub hostess’, has often denied the relationship. Which is good cos JT is the father of twins n that.
Frankly that whole saga never much bothered most people, did it? So Terry was an unreliable mate and a disloyal husband – it’s not like that sets him apart from any other footballing legend, is it, Ryan? And Bridge probably could have bought himself a huge, state-of-the-art pram from the money he was earning as a mercenary Citeh bench-warmer. Get over it.
The fact that this led to Terry losing the England captaincy was silly but inevitable. He still got to go to the 2010 World Cup, mind – partly because there wasn’t a player in the squad who wanted him back in England while they were away for three weeks - and at times he still seemed to feel that he was England skipper. That press conference betrayed a man who was quite happy to show how bent out of shape his conk was, regardless of the consequences. The consequences were that some bright young German things made the Captain, Leader, Legend look like Corporal Jones. He was far from alone.
When Capello returned to Terry as skipper most of us were gob-smacked. Mud was sticking to him like a sun-baked hippo, Ol’ Fab had always insisted that the captain’s name should make no difference, and there he was giving the armband to Football’s Dark Side. Odd, to say the least.
But it is of course all this racist stuff that has brought things to a head. It meant Terry lost the England captaincy again – which was fair enough with a charge like that dangling over his head. But to be perfectly (fat) frank, I feel a bit of sympathy for the bloke for the first time… ermmm, ever, actually. If the criminal courts have found him not guilty then why try him all over again in a courtroom with less stringent applications of the law?
I mean if he was charged with nicking an apple, found innocent, and then his employers had a quick tribunal type thing and thought that in all honestly he probably might have nicked the apple so that’s probably enough reason to say he did (particularly when scrumping is front-page news these days) then one might just feel that the world had gone tits up.
There is the idea floating around that Terry ‘had it coming’. He is not a model citizen. He must know what’s coming or he wouldn’t be resigning now. If nothing else, it has always been very obvious that playing for his country means a heck of a lot to him.
But it’s farewell, JT. I’m not sure that he’ll be a huge miss for the national team despite what Hodgson says. He resigns at a time when England could do with looking a little further ahead than the end of the last lot of hope-crushers. If we’re going to fail let’s get some new people to do it for us, eh?
Terry will go down as one of the best centre-backs England have had – and probably the least-loved. He's been a sort of necessary evil. Even Ashley Cole's value as a superb footballer has seen him tentatively embraced by the English public. But JT? Well on balance I'd say 'Captain. Leader. Knob-End.'