Written on the 2nd of February 2016.
I don’t often write about sports on this blog anymore. It has to be something significant for me to sit down and write some of my thoughts on the matter. Sometimes I’ve previewed or reviewed a season, and sometimes I’ve said goodbye to a legend of a certain sport or team. This post is a mixture of what I’ve done before. I’ll mention how the season has gone for Chelsea, how the future might be for Chelsea, and, angrily, write about what the club is currently in the process of doing.
I’m a huge Chelsea Football Club-fan, and I’ve been so since I was about 9 or 10 years old. For other Chelsea fans like me, there has always been one constant: John Terry has always been there. I’ve been open about how Frank Lampard has been, and is, my favorite player in all of football. Lampard is the man who made me fall in love with the sport. But there is no player I think of more than John Terry when I think of Chelsea Football Club. To me, he is the club. I suspect I’m not alone in saying so.
He is the perfect captain, and the perfect leader. He is the guy who perfectly represents both the club and the diehard fans on the pitch. He would do anything for Chelsea, and us fans would do anything for him. That is why it is so upsetting to hear the words he spoke after Chelsea beat M.K. Dons in the FA Cup in late January 2016:
It’s not going to be a fairytale ending, I’m not going to retire at Chelsea. […] I’m playing great and I’ve got a couple of years to go. It’ll just be elsewhere. […] They said that when the new manager comes in, things might change. It’s a no at the minute. It took me a couple of days to get over.
What does this mean? John Terry doesn’t want to go, the club is forcing him out the door. Now, the average non-Chelsea football fan might immediately shout out that John Terry is past his best days. He’s 35 years old, his time is done. Well, they would be wrong. At almost 700 matches played for Chelsea, at the time of writing, John Terry is the soul of Chelsea Football Club – for better and worse, according to all Premier League experts, I presume.
Quite frankly, the only off-year for Chelsea’s great captain was when Rafa Benitez managed Chelsea Football Club against the will of the fans. Rafa is not liked at Chelsea, to say the least. And he managed to make John Terry the scapegoat to an extent. But Terry stayed, and Terry fought back. John Terry has been golden for Chelsea ever since, just like he used to be. It would not be an unfair assessment to state that John Terry has been the best player for Chelsea Football Club since Mourinho first signed with the club way back when.
But Terry could not stop what, so far, has been one of the worst seasons in the history of Chelsea Football Club. After winning the title last summer, Chelsea are now 13th in the Premier League, at the time of writing. Champions League probably won’t feature the great London club next season, and Chelsea looks to be strengthening the squad for another push in the Premier League next season. It’s all about finishing strong right now for Chelsea, and since Guus Hiddink replaced José Mourinho the season has changed for the better. But that didn’t stop the Chelsea board from disrespecting the biggest legend in Chelsea Football Club history.
Chelsea have been awful, these last few years, at handling the departures of legends. José Mourinho was rejected six months after bringing the title to the team, after having stated that he wanted to stay in England for years to come, most likely pushing him towards Manchester United, to the disappointment of Chelsea fans. Petr Cech was sold to Arsenal, a huge rival of Chelsea’s, which has now set them up to win the league. It fixed Arsenal’s one final flaw.
Frank Lampard was rejected after becoming the club’s highest scoring player, and he went on to sign with Manchester City – only to hurt Chelsea’s chances by scoring against them in their first meeting since rejecting the Chelsea legend. And now the club looks to kick their captain out the door. Awful. Upsetting. Disgusting news for any Chelsea fan to hear.
I expect Chelsea fans like me to show their displeasure at this awful decision, I expect some fans to revolt against the club. This shouldn’t be happening, and it mustn’t. I’ll be interested to see if John Terry, and the Chelsea fans, can force the board to change their decision and give him a new contract. If they won’t, then I fear a less-than-pleasing future for Chelsea.
Chelsea’s best ever manager, José Mourinho, has been rumored to Manchester United for months, and I’ve, honestly, been expecting him to sign with the Red Devils since the rumors of his dismissal first surfaced. Now, the second best manager in the world, Pep Guardiola, is signing with Manchester City, and another Chelsea favorite, Carlo Ancelotti, is on his way to Bayern Munich. Chelsea will be left with their hands out, asking for someone to save a leaderless club, finding themselves a step behind the other top clubs in England.
At this point in time, I’m already hearing the discomforting news that the Chelsea board is planning to hire a yes-man, in the form of Manuel Pellegrini, this summer. I am definitely not a fan of his, and the only hires more awful than him would be Rafa Benitez or Roberto Mancini.
So, who’s left for Chelsea? I view Diego Simeone, Antonio Conte, Fabio Capello, and Ronald Koeman as the possible replacements for our caretaker, Guus Hiddink. But none of them are Mourinho, and I fear only Capello would want Terry to stay. And none of them can be expected to stay at Chelsea for years to come.
Just as worrying is the future captain. Branislav Ivanovic has been wearing the captain’s armband at times, but he is not a player fans trust at this moment. Cahill looks like an obvious replacement for Terry as captain, but I’m not sure he’s enough of a leader to wear the armband.
Fabregas has worn such an armband before, but I am not comfortable with him being a captain here just yet. The only other options? A new player or John Obi Mikel. God knows I am a fan of Mikel, but how long does he even have left? And is he even sure of a spot in the line-up next season? A storm is brewing at Chelsea Football Club.
-I’m Jeffrey Rex