Yesterday marked a very emotional and questionable day for all Chelsea fans as John Terry played his last ever game of football for the Blues.
Terry’s last game featured the already relegated Sunderland, as Chelsea thrashed the Black Cats 5-1 in what was a record 30th league win for the Blues this season. Prior to the game, manager Antonio Conte promised John Terry that he had a surprise send-off for him, and he did not fail to deliver. Conte revealed after the game that he had bizarrely agreed with Sunderland manager, David Moyes, to put the ball out of play on the 26th minute of the game, to give Chelsea’s number 26, Mr. Terry, a standing ovation from the fans as he is substituted off the pitch. However, his teammates giving him a guard of honour, as he slowly made his way to the dug out, may have been a bit much.
Talking on BBC’s Match of the Day, Alan Sheerer summed up the strange send-off perfectly:
“Sunderland agreeing to kick the ball out on 26 minutes, I don’t think anything should be done that could undermine the integrity of the game.”
“I know it was done with good intentions and he deserves the guard of honour, but it should have been before or after the game or in the last minute.”
However, show co-host Ian Wright had no issue with it, saying:
“I don’t know if I’d disagree but Sunderland are down, they’re champions – you know. I just think it’s nice.”
Despite a questionable goodbye, there is no doubt that John Terry is a Chelsea legend. The 6ft 1 Centre Back has featured in 492 league games for the Blues, scoring 41 goals. On top of that he has also won nearly every trophy under the belt, including six Premier League titles, five FA Cups, three League Cups, the Champions League and the Europa League. Alongside his hefty trophy cabinet, Terry has also earned himself 78 caps for England scoring 6 times. If all that is not enough, the defensive rock was also named UEFA Club Defender of the Year in 2005, 2008 and 2009, PFA Players’ Player of the Year in 2005, and was included in the FIFPro World XI for five consecutive seasons, from 2005 to 2009. He was also named in the all-star squad for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, the only English player to make the team.
After the game, Terry was handed the microphone in a standard goodbye fashion, where he reassured the fans that they have not seen the last of him:
“You’ve given me everything from day one. You picked me up when I was down, sung my name when I’ve had bad days and disappointed you as well.”
“Thank you will never ever be enough, but I’ll tell you what: I’ll be back here one day. I’m going to be supporting the players and the club from the bottom of my heart. Thank you so much, I love you all.”
Despite slightly milking his speech, fans still sung his name as he struggled to fight back the tears. Many will remember him for the wrong things he did in his career, but no matter what way you look at it, he has been a great servant of Chelsea Football Club and will go down as a legend of the game.