The John Terry farewell interview - part two

In the second part of our exclusive interview with departing skipper John Terry, the club's most decorated player speaks about the lessons he learned from one of the all-time Chelsea greats and looks ahead to returning to Stamford Bridge as a supporter...

 

There was a time before Roman Abramovich bought Chelsea when finances were not good and there were suggestions you would be one of the players sold just as you had become established but before winning anything. That must have been difficult.

‘I never in my wildest dreams saw myself leaving Chelsea in that era. Okay, if you were not being offered a contract at the club you have to go but if you have a couple of years left, the club can’t get rid of you so even if they approached me and said we have been offered this, I would not have gone.

'Honestly, it is as simple as that and I promise I never even contemplated it once to leave at that time. It was my club and that was it, as simple as that. It was not about money, I just wanted to play football for the club that I loved.’

Is there any advice the 36-year-old John Terry would give the 18 or 19-year-old version to speed up your development as a player?

‘You know what, probably not really. I pretty well have no regrets and looking back I enjoyed my time at that age. And we had the likes of Gianfranco Zola at the club with the way he was looking after himself, whether that be food or not drinking or going out after games. I had grown up with the mentality that you train all week, play the game and then go out drinking and then go again next week, but when the likes of Franco came it was all about eating the right food after training and that helped me as a player back then.

‘I was quite close to Franco, I played golf with him quite a bit and spent some time at his house so I saw the way he lived, what he ate, what he drank and he got me into coffees rather than shandies after a game of golf.

'I was very fortunate to be around someone like him as a person, the way he gave time to fans, got off the bus and signed a hundred autographs in the pouring rain. It was a good education for me.’

In terms of the piece of silverware itself, which is your favourite of the trophies won?

‘Champions League, it is just a lovely trophy, but also because of just how hard over the years it has been to win it. Two or three years we should have probably gone on to win it but we didn’t and that just goes to show how hard and how big the competition is.

'You are playing against the best players and the best clubs in the world, so to test yourself against the best is always nice and to get over the final hurdle, even though I was not playing, was still by far the best moment of my career.

‘The Champions League trophy is wide, it is big, but it is not as heavy as the Premier League trophy.’

You have been close to our Academy through the years. Will they produce another Chelsea legend?

‘I think they will. I am confident they will. I just hope it is sooner rather than later. We have some really good boys and winning the Youth Cup and the UEFA Youth League is great but you want to see that progression with them coming through. I think we will see boys who are 17 or 18 and physically good enough and can handle it play on loan rather than play youth team football, and I think that will serve them really well.

'Going on loan definitely did for me as a young player. You go into dressing rooms with real men where winning means everything, bonuses mean paying the mortgage, and there aren’t things you take for granted. So if they can go out and get 50 to 100 games under their belt by the age of 19 to 20, it will serve them well definitely. To come through at the age of 17 or 18 you are going to have to be someone really, really special.’

In the future you will have the chance to watch games at Stamford Bridge purely as a fan. Where would you like to sit?

‘The Matthew Harding Lower I think. I have had my four seats there for years anyway for my family and I would love to go in there. My banner is at that end and it means a lot to me when I think of the memories. I scored my first goal there and went running to the fans. The one against Everton as well. I love all the sections of ground for all different reasons but that is where I would like to go.’