How John Terry rose from the ashes this season for Chelsea
For men may come and men may go,
But I go on forever.
These words of Alfred Lord Tennyson were an encomium to the perennial brook that flowed on, endlessly and infinitely, never to be hindered or weathered by time or age. The brook that Tennyson wrote of is the apotheosis of immortality. However, if there is one other that could fit these words of Tennyson to a T, and emulate the sacred brook, it would have to be Chelsea’s one and Chelsea’s only John Terry.
Managers have come and managers have gone. A bankrupt owner has made way for a much more free-spending Russian billionaire. Big bucks have been splashed on big ducks. A club has been turned into not only a brand, but an empire even. Much has changed in the last decade at the bridge. But the one constant, the one surety about this ever-changing pack of blue lions from West London has been John George Terry.
Barely a season ago, pundits (both in the media and the self-proclaimed ones) the world over were announcing the inevitable decline and subsequent departure (or retirement) of Terry. He was no longer cut out to compete in a league as demanding and high octane as the Premier League, they said. His legs were past their time and he was no longer in his prime, they said. His shenanigans were getting the better of him, they said. And some of us even believed, but we were not convinced.
His spot in the XI was no longer assured with the ascendance of Gary Cahill and the promise that David Luiz showed. He constantly warmed the bench with a down-trodden expression, or else he was reeling with an injury. He did make the odd appearance from time to time, and occasionally showed the resilience and robustness that we so associate with Terry, but for the major part of his playing time the only section of people he satisfied was that of the cynics.
And so we believed, as unthinkable as it was, that the time had come for John Terry to draw curtains on his illustrious career. Harvey Dent’s words, “You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain” words reverberated in our ears just as they did in his.
The homecoming of Jose Mourinho coupled with a Europa Cup triumph and the arrival of a midfield triplet hogged the limelight, and soon the failings of our captain were pushed to the back of our minds. Terry could have asked for nothing better. This distraction to the public provided him with the space and the time to lick his wounds, recuperate and come back stronger, hoping to squeeze out another season at the club that meant the world to him.
And so John Terry rose from the ashes, reinvigorated, rejuvenated and raring to go. His ‘tired’ legs were back doing what they did best – dispossessing attackers. His shenanigans that pundits spoke of became a thing of the past. A new Terry, one that no longer embroiled himself in controversy, emerged under the auspices of Jose Mourinho.
Frank Lampard also began with the same intent from where he had left off the previous season. Therefore, it was only fitting that the second coming of three of Chelsea’s favoured sons coincided. While each of the three have had their moments this season, the renaissance of Terry has been the most heartening.
The fact that Chelsea have conceded the least number of goals in the Premier League this season (26) by a long way – Manchester City are second, having conceded 9 more goals – is proof of how impregnable their defence has been this season. Chelsea have conceded 33% less goals in this campaign than they did in the last campaign, a season where Terry was a rarity in the Chelsea defence. This underlines how much of a difference Terry has made.
Excuse the poor pun, but in a nutshell, teams have been Terry-fied when Terry has played, and the Chelsea defence has been Terry-ble when he hasn’t. He has turned in extraordinary performances week in, week out, and has been omitted from the side only thrice, all three times due to injury. His showings against Manchester City in the home and away leg, and at Anfield, where he made the likes of Luis Suarez, Sergio Aguero, David Silva and Yaya Toure look like a bunch of schoolboys, make it clear that Terry is still right up there with the best in the world at what he does.
With a modest aggregate of 3 PFA Team of the Year, 1 World Cup Team of the Tournament, 5 FifPro World XI’s, 3 ESM Team Of The Year, 3 UEFA Best Defender, 4 UEFA Team of the Year, 2 Chelsea player of the Year awards and 1 Champions League, 1 Europa League, 2 Community Shields, 2 League Cups, 5 FA Cups and 3 Premier League titles under his belt, Terry can hope to win another bevy of awards this season, and in seasons to come, for age seems to have no effect on this supposed mortal. I have only listed his official achievements; listing his contributions to world football, and more dearly to him, Chelsea, would require another article (more like chronicle).
In fact, to have to put into word and account his doings for the club would never do justice to what John Terry has been for Chelsea. In a club where change is the staple, John Terry has stood staunch. Blue blood runs through his veins and his heartbeat is one with the cheers that ring loud in the Bridge. They say no player is bigger than the club itself. But I say, John Terry IS the club.
John George Terry has indeed lived past being a hero and gone through the terror of seeing himself become the villain, just as Harvey Dent portended with the Batman. He has emerged as a silent protector, a watchful guardian, a Captain and a Leader. And the legend.