September 24, 2012
As captain of Chelsea, John Terry is one of the most successful English soccer players of all time. As captain of the side through an incredibly successful period he has lifted the English Premier League trophy on three occasions and the FA Cup five times. At the end of the last season he was part of the Chelsea team that lifted the Champions League trophy, although he did not play in the final due to suspension. Terry was in full kit to collect the trophy at the final, which started an Internet meme of photoshopped pictures of Terry in full Chelsea kit at major events throughout history.
As an England International player his career has not quite hit the same heights, but he has made 76 appearances in international games and captained his country. On Monday September 23, 2012 he announced his retirement from international soccer on the eve of a FA disciplinary case for alleged racial abuse of Anton Ferdinand. This is a sad end to a distinguished international career for one of England’s most successful and controversial players.
Terry started as a product of the Chelsea youth team, and first played for the club in 1998 as a 17 year old. He first played as the captain of the club by the time of his 21st birthday, and at the start of the 2004/5 season he got the armband full-time. In the modern game of short-term contracts and mercenary players this is an unusual occurrence in itself.
As much as he has been successful on the pitch, Terry has unfortunately been controversial at times off the pitch. He missed the England World Cup squad in 2002 due to a court appearance after an accusation that hitting a nightclub bouncer with a bottle. This was only a few months after Terry and three others young players were drunk and abusive to American guests in a hotel at Heathrow airport the day after 9/11.
Other unsavory incidents followed through his career, including being thrown out of a nightclub on two occasions for urinating on the floor. Over the years he has appeared in the gossip columns of tabloid newspapers after cheating on his wife. The most famous occasion was allegedly with the recent ex-girlfriend of Wayne Bridge, his best friend at the time.
One of the worst, and most recent, incidents was at the Chelsea – QPR match in last season’s Premier League. This lead to a subsequent high-profile court case in July and the fall-out from that included public disagreements with his international colleague and Anton’s brother, Rio Ferdinand. The outcome of the court case was another not-guilty verdict, but the Football Association followed that verdict up with the disciplinary hearing that prompted his decision to retire from international football.
After this match, the FA stripped Terry of the England captaincy. In the immediate aftermath of this decision, England coach Fabio Capello left his post. Capello did not resign as a result of the accusation against his captain, but the fact that he was not involved in the decision.
The FA disciplinary hearing does not need as much evidence as a court case to determine whether Terry is guilty and what punishment to bestow. It seems likely that a guilty verdict will result in a lengthy ban and fine. With less evidence needed to convict this looks like the most likely outcome.
On the face of things, Terry seems like one of the unlikeable characters that populate the modern Premier League. He earns a massive amount of money and seems to think he is beyond the reach of the law, but that is an unfair assessment. He is popular amongst his peers and looks after the young players at Chelsea. Terry publicly supports a number of charities and has been part of a campaign against knife crime.
On the pitch, Terry is a fearless leader who always gives his all for the cause, but away from it he is a complex individual who does not always think before he acts. For all his faults, the England team will miss his performances on the pitch but that can only be good for Chelsea who might get another few seasons out of their captain.