Chelsea’s interim manager, Guus Hiddink, believes that the club captain, John Terry, deserves a huge send-off and a massive thank you from the Chelsea fans for his years of loyal service to the club.
Terry won’t play again for Chelsea this season after he was sent-off for two bookable offences during the defending Premier League champions’ match against Sunderland last weekend. As it was his second dismissal of the season the usual one match suspension issued for a double-booking is increased to two games, meaning the 35-year-old will miss tonight’s game against Liverpool as well as the season’s final match against new Premier League champions Leicester City on Sunday.
There is still some debate around the future of Terry, with the club captain publicly stating that Chelsea have no offered him a contract extension despite his desire to remain at Stamford Bridge. That means he looks set to leave the club unless incoming boss Antonio Conte believes the former England captain has something to offer his team next season. That is unlikely to be decided until after this summer’s European Championship tournament in France, however, with Conte concentrating on his duties as Italian manager until he moves to West London.
Whatever happens in the future, though, Hiddink feels the fans should make their feelings known towards a stalwart of the club. The Dutchman said, “Whether he stays, whether he goes – in the last option, he deserves a huge goodbye”.
His presence is unlikely to be missed at Anfield this evening, with Liverpool fans having given the Londoner quite a bit of grief over the years. During the court case against Terry after the alleged racial abuse of Anton Ferdinand, the former-England centre-back was forced to recall how Liverpool fans used to sing “John Terry’s ma loves the Scouse cock” to him when he played at their home ground; a song that referenced the fact that his mother used to date a person from the city of Liverpool.
With both Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard allowed to leave the club without much fanfare in recent years it seems unlikely that Terry’s contract will be renewed. But Hiddink feels the club are right to take their time over his departure. He said, “People who are making the decisions want to take their time. That’s up to them. That doesn’t mean there’s dramatic, bad treatment so far, but everyone has his own approach to deal with this matter. It’s never goodbye with those players, because I think in the near future, whatever happens, they can have a big impact in clubs”.
Terry has played 703 times for Chelsea in all competitions, making his debut in 1998. 483 of those appearances have been in the Premier League during which time he’s won four titles, five FA Cups, the Champions League in 2012, the Europa League in 2013 and three League Cup winners’ medals. He’s also gained 78 international caps, retiring from England in 2012 after the racial abuse incident with Anton Ferdinand was pursued by the Football Association, with the FA banning Terry for four matches.
Ultimately, though, Hiddink believes the future of John Terry at Chelsea is up to Antonio Conte. He said, “When I make a judgement on how he plays and his fitness on his age, he’s able to play, he’s able to continue. Where? What the near future is is up to the club, it’s not for me to make declarations on that”.