After a tumultuous week on trial, John Terry was finally cleared of racially abusing Anton Ferdinand. Months of negativity have surrounded the Chelsea captain since the controversial incident at Loftus Road back in November 2011 but indications were that once the court had reach a verdict, the world would move on. Instead it would appear Terry is far from out of the woods as an impending FA investigation into this conduct will ensure the debate rumbles on still further.
It’s not for me to say whether I think he’s guilty or not, such is the delicate nature of the issues at hand, but ultimately the player was found to be innocent. It may not the verdict many expected, or perhaps even wanted, but regardless of personal feeling toward a player whose reputation has taken knock after knock, can John Terry change the public’s perception once again?
If he’s truly innocent then there’s no reason why he shouldn’t be allowed to continue his life as normal. It would be unfair to hold an accusation against him if he’s been cleared but as we all know, mud sticks in football and the defender has a long way to go before the public forgive and forget. It’s another setback in the career of player who has let his off field dramas overshadow his obvious talent. Since bursting onto the Stamford Bridge scene at a young age, Terry has been a committed defender who wears his heart on his sleeve. As a natural captain and leader of men, his never say die attitude was appreciated by fans across the country, perhaps excluding the jealous eyes of rival teams, as he played an integral role in Jose Mourinho’s era of dominance. A natural progression to England captain was seemingly inevitable but in actual fact his personal problems started deceptively early on in his career.
It would signal the beginning of a long run of private misdemeanours but his controversies were neatly disguised by his appointment as club captain. The added responsibility seemed to curb his antics and the promotion helped mould him into a senior figure at domestic and International level, allowing him to forge a reputation based on his abilities. He has since led the Blues to three Premier League titles, four FA Cups, 2 League Cups and the UEFA Champions League and cemented his place as the club’s most successful captain in history. His talent is undeniable but unfortunately the impact he had on the team during the Mourinho days has started to dwindle in recent seasons as off field dramas have resurfaced and tarnished him once more.
Firstly, a 2009 investigation by Chelsea and The FA looked into reports claiming the defender was accepting money for a tour of the Stamford Bridge training ground from an undercover reporter and despite being cleared of any wrong doing, Terry was soon back in the public eye for his extra marital affair with Wayne Bridge’s ex-girlfriend. It would appear to the innocent bystander that he’s subconsciously determined to self-destruct but the alleged affair was denied and again Terry was supposedly wrongly accused, even if his demotion from the England captaincy and Bridge’s nonexistent handshake implied a smattering of guilt. Fast forward 18 months and attentions have moved on but typically just as Terry is building his football reputation again, he regresses with comments made to Anton Ferdinand. I feel I must reiterate his innocence regarding any racial wrongdoings but after openly admitting the offensive words did leave his month, it still constitutes another blip in an ever lengthening line of persistent slip ups. Whether or not fans feel Terry is guilty, will they let him move on this time?
Chelsea’s visits to away grounds next season will be rife with abuse disguised as banter but if Terry is to find any form of closure then he must shrug off accusations in the same way he brushed aside the Wayne Bridge controversies while maintaining a professional approach. That is unless the race issues are only halfway complete for the impending FA enquiry means the debate is set to resurface and Ashley Cole has already been dragged back into the firing line after comments made on Twitter this week while Kick It Out ambassador Clarke Carlisle is investigating the now highly topical issue. If England’s governing body decides Terry has broken any of their jurisdictions then further backlash will follow and his thinly veiled innocence will be rendered somewhat irrelevant.
Do you think Terry should be allowed to move on or will fans hold his mistakes against him – Let me know your views and opinions by following me on Twitter – Tweet me @Alex_Churcher