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The Camden Cad
Aug 24, 2004
North London
If you ever wanted to capture the essence of modern football in just one page, you could do a lot worse than paying a visit to Chelsea's website. Here, behind the splash of adverts for a new kit that looks more like a women's cycling top than a football jersey, you will find John Terry's statement of 'loyalty' to his club. Flanked by adverts for a downloadable Terry animation and an exciting opportunity to 'follow' the club on Twitter, Chelsea's talismanic captain reveals exactly why he stayed quiet for almost a month, allowing the speculation to build to breaking point.

"I know there has been comment that I should have made a statement earlier," said Terry, dispelling the notion that he had actually been trapped under a rock all summer, "however...we all agreed that the timing of any statement would suit everyone involved...not any outside influences or agendas."

Bobbins. It's the 'outside influences' who have benefited most from the speculation. The press have had a whale of a time, filling page after page by simply taking the largest number they can think of, multiplying it by ten and then claiming that that's how much Terry would earn every hour if he signed for Manchester City. City themselves have revelled in the silence, knowing full well that the plausible possibility of the England captain arriving at Eastlands can only have aided their negotiations with Emmanuel Adebayor and Carlos Tevez. What have Chelsea got from this 'calculated' timing?

The club has had to endure weeks of public inquisition, the confusion has overshadowed the vital weeks of pre-season preparation and the fans have been forced to question the motives of an idol whose character had never before been in any doubt. With every day of silence, the nagging suspicion that Terry was just as bad as every other footballer grew. Surely their captain wouldn't turn his back on them, a title challenge, European football and the chance to be the most-beloved Stamford Bridge legend since Ron Harris? But if he wouldn't betray them, why wasn't he saying anything? So, tell me again who this late, late statement suited?

The obvious explanation was that Terry was using City's interest to force Chelsea to give him a new and improved contract, but that has been denied. Strange then, that all the newspapers are confidently reporting that he will sign a new GBP150,000 a week deal in the near-future. Terry has insisted that his primary concerns were not his wages, but the direction of the club and the retention of key players like Frank Lampard

"It's never been about a new contract for John Terry, "he said. "I want these kind of players around me. I want these kind of players at Chelsea Football Club."

But who is he to dictate club policy? He's the captain, not the Director of Football. If nothing else, this saga will have taught Carlo Ancelotti exactly where the power lies at Stamford Bridge. The Italian has enough problems dealing with Roman Abramovich's impatience, Peter Kenyon's machinations, Frank Arnesen's apparent invulnerability and the supporters who s turned on his predecessor before the Christmas decorations came down. Now he has learned that he has to run transfer policy past his centre-back.

Rejoice then, Chelsea fans, for your captain is staying. Disingenuous, power-hungry and already referring to himself in the third person, he's the perfect man to lead you in these imperfect times.
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