Cooney and Black

John Terry is the glue in the Chelsea jigsaw and, at 34, is playing better than he has ever done in his career. Isn’t it time for forgiveness, or is he always going to pay the price for alleged racist remarks?

John Terry

bynigelclarke

THERE is a growing groundswell of opinion that the Footballer of the Year award should go to a Chelsea player this year.

Most people would pinpoint Eden Hazard as favourite after another season when he has consistently been superb.

Despite being the most fouled forward in the Barclays Premier League, Hazard has made a massive impact on Chelsea’s pursuit of honours.

They have already won the Capital Cup and are favourites for the League title, and could yet win the Champions League again. Most of it has been down to Hazard’s ability, and Jose Mourinho is quick to stand behind in support of the brilliant Belgian taking the award.

But what about another Chelsea player? What about John Terry? Once again he has glued the team together, led by tremendous example and, at 34, is playing better than at any time in his career.

Doesn’t that count for anything, or is he always going to pay the price for his alleged racist remarks shouted at Anton Ferdinand two years ago?

Is there never going to be any forgiveness for what he said in a reckless outburst that has been so damaging to him and his beloved Blues?

Terry was the man of the match in the 2-0 defeat of Tottenham at Wembley last week, when he held aloft the Capital Cup. He was superb again against West Ham on Wednesday, holding together a tired team, and once again leading by example.

He is by head and shoulders the best central defender in the league, and one wonders what England manager Roy Hodgson is thinking when he sees such consistent brilliance.

Hodgson has said Terry will never play for England again, even though he is in the form of his life, Terry has drawn a line under it to camouflage his own disappointment.

Had this magnificent defender been in Brazil last summer, one wonders whether England would have been beaten so easily by Uruguay and Italy. They lacked leadership, inspiration and the fighting spirit that is so important in knock-out competitions.

All those qualities have been used by Mourinho to attack fresh honours this season.

Just where Blues would be without him is anyone‘s guess, especially at a time when Gary Cahill is beginning to show signs of wear and tear.

Nobody has played better than Terry this season, nobody has led their team with greater courage, or been such an inspiration. But Terry will not get one vote in the ballot this year because of what happened when he flared up against Ferdinand.

It was one of the most unsavoury incidents to have disfigured the game, even though the Football Association found Terry not guilty of racist behaviour.

Is this the reason why Chelsea are stalling on offering him a new contract, just as they did with Frank Lampard? That proved to be a major mistake.

Chelsea dare not make another when there is so much to play for now. Terry has been the outstanding competitor for yet another season. He won the award in 2005, and has shown that after ten years he is still at the top of the game.

Isn’t it time perhaps for forgiveness? A little compassion would be welcome in a game that is being overtaken by judgment dispensed now so vividly by television cameras.

Football centres on emotion, players become involved and are frequently caught up in heat-of-the-moment situations. When the red mist descends, self control is temporarily abandoned.

Terry has paid an awful price for what he did, but nothing should detract from his ability to play the game. He has been immense and, you suspect, will continue to shine like a beacon of inspiration.

Should all he has achieved just count for nothing when his peers sit down before a voting paper and apply their X against a name?

 
 
PICTURE COURTESY OF: Steve Trapani

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