Salute to a Chelsea Legend
A lot of fans believe John Terry epitomizes the heart and spirit of Chelsea Football Club and it isn’t hard to see why. Whether in a winning or losing cause JT would always sweat blood wearing that Blue shirt and the Captain’s arm band. We’ve surely ran out of superlatives to describe the most successful captain in the very long history of our club and that’s saying something about the man’s achievements considering he had players like the legendary Ron Harris and Dennis Wise as predecessors.
For me personally, considering I started supporting Chelsea from 1999, my earliest Chelsea memories does not include him but overtime it’s difficult to dispel everything he’s done for Chelsea in his 22-year association with the club. At the Sunderland game, a match that now goes down as his last for the Chelsea first team, it was clear to see for everyone with eyes that this club meant, and will continue to mean, a lot to John Terry and his adoring wife, Nicole and his two children, Summer and George.
It’s hard to remember particular games for which to remember him but for me these five games is the one that will be eternally enmeshed in my memory during JT’s time at Chelsea. We all know how amazing JT is defensively hence this list focuses more on his very many contributions in the opposition's box.
Chelsea vs Barcelona (2005)
Having lost the first leg at the Nou Camp 2-1 two weeks prior and missing our Ivorian destroyer for the return, it was a kind of an anomaly that we raced to a 3-0 lead inside the first twenty minutes through goals from Eidur Gudjohnsen, Frank Lampard and Damien Duff. But then Barcelona stormed right back with two goals from Ronaldinho the first from the spot and the second a sumptuous, cheeky and a freak of a goal that Ronaldinho could have conjured. With the result at 3-2 entering the last quarter of the match, we were staring down early elimination from the Champions’ League by virtue of their two away goals. And then we were awarded a corner on the left and it was swung in by Duff and met by Terry almost at the edge of the Barcelona box and in it went off the foot of the post despite the best efforts of Victor Valdes in the Barcelona goal. We made it through to the semi-final of the CL that season, where we lost to the legendary ‘ghost goal’, but we wouldn’t have made it that far without that Terry goal at Stamford Bridge in March of 2005.
Chelsea vs. Arsenal (Carling Cup Final, 2007)
Although John Terry didn’t get on the score sheet in this match but he did something that summed up the kind of footballer he is. With Drogba having canceled out Walcott’s early opener and the game finely in the balance, the ball was loose in the Arsenal box following a Chelsea corner and Terry rightly went for the ball hoping to connect with his head but the only thing he connected with was the right boot of Abou Diaby that knocked him out cold. It was a hand-in-mouth moment for all the Chelsea fans in the Millennium Stadium and the millions watching all around the world.
And after just over ten minutes, that seemed more like an eternity on the day, Terry was stretchered out straight to the hospital but he was back in the stadium to join in the celebrations after what was a hard fought 2-1 victory courtesy of a Didier Drogba brace. And that had been the hallmark of John Terry’s game over the years he lays it all on the line when he’s on the pitch; his body, his blood, his sweat, his EVERYTHING! We have lost our fair share of games with John Terry on the pitch but it wasn’t due to a lack of trying because with JT you can trust he’d leave absolutely everything out there on the pitch.
Chelsea vs. Napoli (2012)
Again we came into the game with a deficit from the first leg but unlike the Barcelona game in 2005 we had to score two without reply to stand a chance of going through to the quarter final of the CL after losing the first leg 3-1 in Naples. Didier Drogba gave us a perfect start after meeting Ramires’ sumptuous right wing cross with a diving header pass the helpless Mauro de Laurentis in the Napoli goal. The game seemed to have even out after that early goal but around the 25th minute we were awarded a corner on the right which was swung in by Frank Lampard and up pop JT to send a looping header over the goalie to take us to within the brink of qualification.
Although the game was eventually settled by a Branislav Ivanovic’s goal in extra time but that Terry goal gave us a platform on which to build our incredible comeback on the way to lifting the UCL trophy for the first and only time, so far, in our history.
Chelsea vs. Everton (2016)
After playing every minute of the title-winning 2014/2015 season, JT was substituted in a game he started for the very first time (barring injuries of course) by Jose Mourinho during half time of our 3-0 bashing at the hands of Man City at the Etihad in the 2015/2016 season and that’s when he became a bit part player and you could see the hand writing on the wall that the end was near for our long-serving captain.
He was still able to make a telling contribution to the anomaly that was the 2015/16. With our long unbeaten run against Everton in serious jeopardy deep into injury a headed flick first from Ivanovic and then Oscar found its way to our captain who beat the on-rushing Tim Howard with a cheeky back heel that any striker would have been proud of to send Stamford Bridge into a state of frenzy. His decision to celebrate that precious goal with the fans says all there’s to say about this amazing man, leader and captain.
Chelsea vs. Watford (2017)
It’s only fitting that I round this up with his very last goal in a Blue shirt. In a game that could be considered a dead rubber Terry scored the first of four goals on the night for Chelsea and it was obvious from the celebrations that followed what that goal meant to the player himself, his teammates and the fans.
Although we’re not likely to witness JT take to the Stamford Bridge again we can take solace in the fact that there are very many good memories that he helped create during his time at SW6 and we can continue to savour those memories for as long as we can. But in the meantime, let’s join hands to say goodbye to our Leader, Legend and Captain. Thanks for reading.