Don’t get me wrong, John Terry has been an exceptional footballer for Chelsea over the last 15 years or so. He is the sole remnant of what is left of the club since the pre-Roman Abramovich era. He was, at his peak, the best defender in the world (as the regular awards and FIFPro XIs will show you). However it is time for both John Terry and Chelsea football club to part company, albeit temporarily. I’ll try not to let my personal feelings for Terry get in the way of my reasoning as to why he should leave but they do play a small part in why I feel it is time for Terry to go.
John Terry is the only Chelsea academy player to have actually cemented a first team place in the last 15-20 years. That is frankly pathetic but that is a discussion for another day or another person. Terry is the embodiment of Chelsea, his rise can be charted in the same way as the club’s – but it was a mutually beneficial relationship. Had the club not been bought by Roman Abramovich I suspect John Terry would not be at Chelsea right now, in the same way that John Terry wouldn’t have grown to become such a world class defender. The right manager (Jose Mourinho) the right centre-back pairing (Carvalho) and the tactics employed by various Blues managers allowed Terry to successfully hide his deficiencies (i.e. pace or lack of) and become a defender that solely relies on his brain rather than his feet. John Terry is the best reader of the game I have seen in my lifetime of watching football. Which is why, to much ridicule, I think he will end up making one of the finest managers of the next generation.
However, at this stage in time it is time to say goodbye to our captain. It is a culmination of factors as to why I believe this is the best time to let Terry go. Firstly, we have found an adequate replacement in Kurt Zouma. Yes Zouma may have suffered an injury but he will be back by the start of next season. In many ways it echoes the passing of the guard from Marcel Desailly to John Terry all those years ago. Zouma may not be similar to Terry in terms of defending but the Frenchman has improved his all-round defending whilst being partnered with Terry.
Secondly, Chelsea need a new leader. It is all well and good keeping John Terry at the club for his leadership skills but that hinders the club in finding a new leader that is capable of leading the club for the next five to ten years. When you look at the current squad who stands out as a leader? Branislav Ivanovic? Hardly. Only Diego Costa of late has offered some menace and a willingness to stand up and fight. Having Terry around means everyone will look to him for guidance as opposed to the club developing a new leader. With a forced departure of Terry someone will be forced to emerge as a bastion of leadership and that would be very beneficial to the future of the side.
There is an argument to keep Terry just for his aforementioned leadership ability whilst not playing him regularly. But this is exactly what Terry doesn’t want. He wants to play week in week out, which in the current era of the Premier League for a defender that is on the verge of turning 36 is nigh on impossible. This isn’t mid 2000s Serie A where defenders can play till they are 40. Yes Terry doesn’t rely on pace but the Premier League is getting faster and faster year upon year and it will catch up to Terry. He himself states he doesn’t want to sit on the bench so why force him to? Mourinho benched him and then there was an uprising. I’m not saying he was responsible for it but this isn’t the first time (allegedly) Terry has not been happy with a manager and the manager has then left the club.
Back to the point though, Chelsea need to develop a new leader and a centre-back pairing for the next five years. Keeping John Terry around will not help that problem, keeping him on the bench will not solve Terry’s problem. The club needs to look to the future and this season is the perfect opportunity to do so. A new manager coming in during the summer should not have the shadow of John Terry loom over them. Given our disaster of our season and with no European football likely next season it is the perfect opportunity to essentially have a hard-reset and begin building a new Chelsea dynasty.
Finally, I do not like John Terry. He is a great footballer and has been brilliant for Chelsea however with his alleged affair with Wayne Bridge’s ex and him being found guilty of racially abusing another professional footballer it is hard to like him as a person. I’m sure he doesn’t care and I’m sure he is a great role model for youngsters at the club – especially as he turns up to virtually every U18 academy game to help coach the kids. That isn’t in doubt it is just my personal opinion of him which like I said he doesn’t care about.
However, the club has handled the situation poorly but John Terry hasn’t helped his caused. In an already controversy ravaged and pathetic season he decides to try and center the attention on himself by announcing the club has told him to leave. It is silly and just further harms the rebuilding job Guus Hiddink is trying to do. The club will have to appoint a new manager, then the new manager will then think if Terry is part of their plans or not. To have made this contract ‘war’ public it just casts an even gloomier shadow across Stamford Bridge. He isn’t bigger than this club, the club will be there even if he leaves. What Terry has done now is only hamper the rebuilding process and added yet another headache to the Chelsea hierarchy.
Terry will be back at Chelsea even if he leaves, and I hope he returns as manager or a coach because he really can have a great impact with the academy. And the youngsters do need a talisman who can show them that it is possible to break into and cement a place in the first team squad at Chelsea. For now though, thank you John Terry but it is time to begin a new era at Chelsea.