Full name: John George Terry
Date of birth: 7/12/1980
The early days
As the heartbeat of Chelsea Football Club, it comes as no surprise that influential captain, John Terry, has had an allegiance with the club since the age of 14. Born in Barking in December 1980, Terry had a passion for the beautiful game from a very early age. As a youngster, he played in the same Sunday League team as future Premiership players such as Ledley King and Bobby Zamora and proved to be one of the best players in the star-studded team. Following this success, Terry joined the ranks of Chelsea’s youth system in 1994, playing for their Youth and Reserve teams.
Although John Terry is now one of the best Centre Backs in the world, during these formative days, Chelsea played him in their midfield. Terry even had the odd flirtation with the position of striker, a role which explains his impressive goal-scoring ability in the Premiership. However, when the Youth and Reserve teams suffered from a shortage of Central defenders, Terry was chosen to fill in the position. It is evident from his current role as the most influential defender in the Premiership, that he has never looked back since.
Early club career at Chelsea
In 1998, Terry had done enough to prove himself worthy of a place in Chelsea’s first team. His first appearance came as a substitute in a match against Aston Villa in the League Cup, on October 28th. Terry earned his first start during the same season, in an FA Cup win over Oldham Athletic. Although playing well, he failed to win a regular place in the starting line-up due to fierce competition for the position and so, in 2000, decided to move to Nottingham Forest on loan, in order to gain more first-team experience.
After some impressive performances at his loan club, John Terry moved back to Chelsea for the 2000/2001 season. He became a regular first-team player during this season, starting 23 matches and ending the season as the club’s player of the year. The following season saw Terry form an impressive partnership with French international defender and Chelsea legend, Marcel Desailly. He made 49 appearances during the 2001/2002 season and played an important role in Chelsea’s FA Cup run, scoring in both the quarter-final and semi-final stages. Unfortunately, Terry missed out on a starting position in the FA Cup final due to illness and the team were eventually defeated. This season also resulted in another personal achievement for Terry, as he was awarded the Chelsea captaincy for the match against London rivals, Charlton Athletic.
The 2002/2003 season was an important one for Terry’s career. Having missed out on a place in the World Cup squad during the summer, the young player was determined to prove himself in the domestic game. With a number of man-of-the-match performances and six goals to his name, the season was a success for Terry and his influence on the pitch was growing rapidly. Chelsea boss, Claudio Ranieri, recognised Terry’s talent and made him a constant part of the team the following season, despite Ranieri’s preferences for rotating his first-team players. Furthermore, Terry was made Chelsea captain whenever Marcel Desailly was unable to play.
The Mourinho era
Although John Terry had enjoyed a successful time at Chelsea, it was not until the appointment of new manager, Jose Mourinho, at the start of the 2004/2005 season, that the trophies to equal his impressive performances were won. One of Mourinho’s first actions as manager was to make Terry captain of the team. His decision proved a success, as Terry led his Chelsea side to their first top-of-the-league finish for 50 years. Furthermore, Terry had been part of a defence that claimed the best defensive record in the history of the Football League, keeping the most clean sheets and helping the team amass the highest points total in Premier League history. Further success came in the Carling Cup, as Chelsea beat Liverpool in the final to claim their first piece of silverware under Mourinho. Chelsea’s Champions League run also nearly ended in success, as John Terry scored a memorable winner against FC Barcelona. He was voted the best defender in the Champions League and also gained the accolade of Player of the Year in the Premiership.
The first month of the 2005/2006 season brought success for Terry, as he was chosen to be part of the World XI at the FIFPro awards. The Chelsea captain once again led his side to Premiership success, as Chelsea won back-to-back titles. The following season proved to be tough for the player, as injuries plagued his participation in key matches. Terry’s recurring back injury required an operation which resulted in a lengthy absence from the side. The goals conceded during his spell away from the first team severely dented Chelsea’s hopes of a third consecutive league title.
Although the league title eventually went to Manchester United, Chelsea won a double of domestic trophies. London rivals, Arsenal, awaited them in the Carling Cup final and Chelsea beat them 2-1. This match was particularly eventful for Terry personally, though, as he was kicked in the face by Arsenal’s Abou Diaby following an attempted diving header. This kick knocked Terry unconscious and disturbing TV pictures of the player swallowing his tongue were transmitted across the nation. Typically, Terry recovered from this injury in time to celebrate the win with his teammates. The FA Cup final against Manchester United held similar success for the Chelsea team, as they won the first final at the new Wembley Stadium.
The 2007/2008 season has resulted in fresh injury concerns for Terry, with a succession of injuries keeping him out of the first-team for several matches. Chelsea (now under the control of new manager Avram Grant) can only hope that their influential captain recovers quickly, in order to maintain their title challenge.
Terry made his international debut against Serbia and Montenegro in June 2003. Successful performances for England and impressive domestic appearances led to Sven-Goran Eriksson claiming Terry as his first choice central defender. Terry played well during Euro 2004 but England crashed out in the quarter-final, as Portugal defeated them on penalties (despite Terry scoring a successful penalty). He first had the honour of wearing the England armband during a World Cup qualifying match against Poland and continued to cement his place in the team during the following matches. John Terry was one of the first names on the 2006 England squad list and a warm-up match for the tournament against Hungary resulted in his first goal for the national team. He made several impressive performances at the tournament itself and was the only England player to be named in the tournament’s all-star squad, despite the team crashing out in the quarter-final.
When Steve McClaren was appointed England manager following the World Cup, his first decision was to make John Terry captain of the national side. During his first match as England captain, Terry scored and later became the first player to score a goal at international level at the new Wembley stadium. England disappointingly failed to qualify for Euro 2008 recently, with the absence of their captain for the key match against Croatia seen as a contributory factor.
John Terry has become one of the most recognisable players in world football and as such, has been involved with several lucrative marketing deals. He is heavily involved with Umbro, helping them to introduce new products and new England kits. Samsung and Nationwide have also used his face for their advertising campaigns and he has a sponsorship deal with Pro Evolution Soccer.
Throughout his playing career, John Terry has not escaped controversy. During his early Chelsea days, he was involved in an incident outside a nightclub, for which he was arrested. This led to the FA banning Terry temporarily from the national team. As Terry was unable to participate in international games, he was not considered for England’s 2002 World Cup squad, despite impressive performances for Chelsea.
In the wake of the September 11th terrorist attacks, Terry was part of a group of Chelsea players who allegedly hassled some American tourists whilst on a night out. This led to bad press for Terry individually and the club.
Terry has also created controversy on the pitch, as he has been heavily criticised for his handling of referees. In Chelsea’s fixture against Tottenham in 2006, Terry was sent off following two yellow cards. The FA later charged the player for questioning the integrity of Graham Poll, the referee who had dismissed him. He was ordered to pay a total of £10,000 for improper conduct and was requested to apologise to Poll.
- PFA Player of the Year: 2005
- 2005 UEFA Champions League Best Defender: 2005
- FIFA World Cup squad of the tournament: 2006
- FIFPro World XI Team: 2005, 2006, 2007
- UEFA Club Football Awards, Best Defender: 2005, 2008
|1998–present||Chelsea F.C.||241 (16)|
|2000||Nottingham Forest (on loan)||6 (0)|
|2003 – present||England||47 (4)|