A dying breed and a top professional – John Terry will always have my respect
He may not be everyone’s cup of tea.
But JT – John Terry – is alright by me.
In a footballing world where money appears the main god, Chelsea’s Terry has shown that loyalty does pay, the cream always rises to the top and with that the rewards then flood in.
For 22 years JT has been man and boy at Stamford Bridge and after more than 700 appearances and 14 major trophies, including four Premier League titles, he is calling time on his career in West London.
He won’t be short of offers.
I suggested to colleagues here in the office what a superb job he could do for Ipswich Town for a season or two, only to be reminded of the wages he would probably rightly demand. He wouldn’t be greedy... Just out of Town’s league right now.
He’s had his ups and downs and he has, like all of us, got his flaws.
But John Terry is the type of character you would want in your football team dressing room, week in, week out.
No fancy dan, nine out of ten one week, four out of ten the next. He’s been a solid seven or eight for the Blues year in, year out.
And while the world has changed around us, John Terry has been a constant – at Chelsea anyhow.
There are few left like him, Ryan Giggs being the last loyal incumbent I can remember in recent times who enjoyed such a stellar career.
Today, players flit from club to club, country to country, continent to continent.
Only the very best will look back at their careers and study all the medals and remember the titles and cup final victories – most will just be studying their bank balances.
When John Terry started out on his football journey, to become a wealthy player you had to have real talent – today, in many cases, you just need to strike it lucky and sign that precious three-year deal.
And while many people who have never met or spoken to Terry will have their opinions about him, at least I can say from personal experience, I found him most pleasant.
It was back in the early 2000s and I had just been to watch Chelmsford City play at New Lodge, home of Billericay, where they ground-shared for a time.
While there I was talking to a Clarets fan who showed me a programme from a recent Chelsea Champions League game - I think against Barcelona.
Anyhow, in the programme was John Terry’s ‘All Time XI’ that included in the goalkeeping position:- 1) Paul Nicholls (Chelmsford City).
How extraordinary! Especially as the likes of David Beckham and Roberto Carlos were in the team!
I felt a story coming on, contacted Paul Nicholls, who explained he had been a Chelsea Youth team player and occasionally still turned out for Chelsea reserves. He was also a big mate of JT’s!
“I’ll get him to call you,” Paul told me.
“Yeah, right”, I thought!
Well, next day the phone went and a colleague picked it up, looking most bemused when he asked who was calling.
“Mike, it’s John Terry for you,” he said – colleague whispers: “not the real one I assume?”.
Well, it was the real one and John chatted to me for a good 20 minutes about Paul, why it was a bit of fun putting him in his best-ever XI. But why he also rated his friend’s ‘keeping skills.
JT was good value. He made time for me and the story and ultimately our readers. He didn’t have to bother.
Too often I meet people who have opinions of others they have never even spoken to, let along met!
So, while JT is hardly my all-time footballing hero, he gets my thumbs up.
He’ll have shedloads of clubs lining-up for his signature.