Do it for John


This week’s guest writer says if Chelsea needed anything else to spur us on for the climax of this campaign, a domestic Double would be the perfect script for a farewell to John Terry at Wembley.

The news was sad but it was to be expected. After 713 appearances, 14 major honours, 66 goals and counting, in 22 years of captaining, leading and legending from Stamford Bridge to Wembley, the timing of Terry’s departure could never feel right for Chelsea fans. That’s why, over the coming weeks, you will see so much veneration, so many tributes to our greatest trooper.

Yet the timing is strangely fitting. As Chelsea battle it out with Tottenham Hotspur on two fronts, we remember the fierce rivalries Terry has always lived for, the evidence he bleeds Blue. It was always the grudge matches, against Barcelona and Brentford, against Spurs and Queen’s Park Rangers, where you could count on our skipper to lead from back to front. He would give a masterclass in man-marking Lionel Messi, run Cristiano Ronaldo ragged and take the bite out of Luis Suarez. Some team-mates he would fire up, others force to reflect. He would always be there to head home a captain’s goal.

In a way, it’s fitting he has spent much of this season, like us, watching from the sidelines. Although it has categorically been his actions on the pitch which have earned our respect, supporters get behind Terry because he is one of us. His recent claim not to want to play again this season, if it means we keep winning, is typical JT. He is desperate to belong at the heart of our defence, but his heart belongs to Chelsea.

Most of all, it’s fitting we are facing such crunch matches. In the week that the Premier League’s top two teams have never been closer, our FA Cup semi-final against Tottenham gives either side a potential shot of assurance into the title race. For Spurs, it’s a chance to sow seeds of doubt into a Chelsea squad defeated against Manchester United last weekend. For the Blues, it’s an opportunity to pour cold water over their form after they swept aside Bournemouth to cut the deficit to four points. Perhaps a big victory could even be enough to deliver them a knockout blow.

Now though, the stakes are higher still. Chelsea are playing to bid Terry a glorious goodbye. Not only is he undoubtedly Mr Chelsea, JT stands out in any debate about Mr Wembley. In 2007, he became the first captain to lift the FA Cup at the new home of football after our 1-0 win over Man United, as well as the first to score an international goal there, heading in a David Beckham free-kick during England’s 1-1 draw with Brazil. Pertinently, it was a pleasure to be there to watch Terry win Man of the Match and score our opener when we beat Spurs 2-0 at Wembley two years ago for the Capital One Cup.

The stage is set. A decade on from his first Wembley fireworks, in his final match for the club he cherishes, Terry could become the first player to captain his team to five FA Cup triumphs – if Chelsea can deliver another Wembley victory over Tottenham to reach the final. What’s more, should we maintain our advantage in the league, it could be the second part of Terry’s second domestic Double with the Blues.

The script is written. As our infamous chant nearly goes, ‘John Terry has won the Double / And the Spurs at the Lane / Have won nothing again.’ And to that we might proudly add, ‘When John went up to lift his last cup, / We were there.’

All Chelsea have to do now is get there. Just do it for John.

By Daniel Wittenberg, Chelsea fan.