SportSoccer

John Terry is in the game's Hall of Infamy

SoccerBy Kevin Palmer
Terry is Chelsea's greatest captain of all-time
Terry is Chelsea's greatest captain of all-time

A MIDDLE ground is unlikely to be found when the time comes to pass judgement on John Terry’s glorious and infamous career.

Chelsea’s captain fantastic has long been hard to love and impossible to ignore; the modern-day symbol of unpleasant English arrogance who oozes an air of authority that suggests he believes he has earned the right to be treated differently than the rest.

Yet despite all that has gone before in a Terry story that is as controversial as it is remarkable, it is impossible to ignore that one of the most divisive footballing figures of this generation may just be the greatest club captain the game has ever seen. What a shame he will not be remembered as such.

If Terry was given his place in football’s elite list purely on his sporting talent, his brilliance as a defender and his colossal leadership skills, there is no doubt that this 34-year would be assured of a golden place in the game’s folklore.

Brawls Instead, he will be hailed as a Premier League Hall of Famer with gritted teeth. Indeed, those present at any coronation dinner will struggle to show genuine affection for a character who has done so much to ensure he doesn’t deserve popular acclaim, with his list of crimes dating back over a decade and more.

Nightclub brawls, adultery scandal, acts of violence on the field and two accusations of racially abusing opponents have all been etched on to his C.V. without a hint of remorse and that is before his infamous glory hunting qualities are considered.

While Roy Keane was a reluctant participant in Man United’s Champions League trophy celebrations back in 1999 as he missed the final due to suspension, Terry famously dressed up in full Chelsea kit to lift the Champions League in 2012, even though he had let his teammates down badly in the semi-final with a needless red card.

Images of Terry cropped into historical events and claiming credit for them flooded the internet. Yet if his recent comments are any gauge, the sporting giant villain who revels in his ‘JT’ legend has long since given up in his bid to win over his enemies.

Now the final years of his career look designed to leave a legacy with his own parishioners that will ensure a statue of his image is unveiled outside Stamford Bridge one day.

At least he could claim to have played a significant role in his most recent trophy success, as he scored the opening goal in Chelsea’s Capital One Cup final win that allowed him to lift his 12th major trophy as Blues captain.

However, he shunned the chance to offer a polite summation of the triumph. Burning Instead, he served up a predictable example of JT petulance, as when his moment came to address his people he declared he was “fighting for myself and my family, and to prove people wrong”. It was another PR disaster for this legendary foot in mouth expert.

Terry will argue that he wins over his critics every time he lifts a piece of silverware, but there is a burning ambition that still remains for this Chelsea hero.

When asked whether the desire to play a serious role in a Champions League final victory as Chelsea skipper was his chief motivation to continue his career, he offered this honest response: “Of course. The biggest night ever for the club and I didn’t play in it. 

“I played in one (Champions League final in 2008 - below) and I felt a massive part of it when we won it in 2012 because the players made me feel a huge part of it, but because it’s me, people look and say ‘he’s not won it’.

“People like to have their digs and their pops, but I know I played a huge part, in the dressing room and on the field, so I count myself to have won it. No one speaks about the other 10 players who weren’t on the pitch. Maybe it’s because it’s me.”

Only Terry’s supporters will buy into the idea that he is the hard done-by victim, but there is every chance that he will get his wish and lift the Champions League trophy after winning it in the final, either this season or next at Chelsea.

Victory against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League last-16 tie at Stamford Bridge tonight will be the next step on his latest mission to claim that personal moment of glory and while such a night of triumph will not convince his army of haters to thaw in their animosity, Terry has long since given up trying to win over his enemies.

It seems as if it is all about doing it for John Terry from this point forward, just as it has always been.