In his latest article for the Fancast, Nick Stroudley reacts to JT’s retirement.
‘Legend’, ‘World-Class’, ‘Mr *insert club name here*’. Some of the most over-used terms in the footballing vocabulary. But few can argue that all three firmly apply to John Terry, who this week announced his retirement from professional football.
Although we said our farewells at the end of the 2016/17 season, this week’s news has seen my Twitter timeline full of lovely anecdotes from Chelsea fans, all of which have been hugely complimentary. There were even some positive stories in the newspapers – who’d have thought it, eh!
In my opinion, one of the many reasons we feel so connected to John Terry was his ‘ever-presence’, transitioning across eras of Chelsea; from Harlington to Cobham, from Gianluca Vialli to Antonio Conte, from the first major trophy in 27 years to winning it all.
The club (and football as a whole) was changing at an incredible rate of knots, but he was the link back to the ‘good old days’ that many of us take great comfort in…
This isn’t just a reference to his playing style, calling him an ‘old-fashioned’ centre-half would have done him a massive disservice; he was much more than that. It was his attitude, approach, commitment to being the best player he could be and importantly, keeping the traditions of Chelsea Football Club alive. When he took over the Captaincy, it felt like he was picking up a baton from his predecessors. As a fan, you could see that it genuinely was a ‘dream come true’ and not just a clichéd quote that many other Captains might spurt out.
And that, for me, is what it boils down to. The connection between players and fans is growing wider each year, which is ironic considering we live in a time where technology allows the contact to be much closer. Being ‘one of our own’ is not a product that can be created with a clever marketing campaign (although I’m sure it may be attempted one day), it’s something that has to be genuine and real – I do worry that I may never see that again. There will undoubtedly be many more legends, world-class players and potentially even another Mr Chelsea. But I’m not sure there will ever be another John Terry.
Thanks for memories, JT. We’ll be singing your name for many, many years to come.
Written by Nick Stroduley – @nickstroudley