The Wall Street Journal’s Sam Walker has a theory, in his book The Captain Class, that the truly dominant teams of sport all have one thing in common – their captain. World class stars, one-of-a-kind managers, and bags of money come and go, but in all of the truly Greatest Of All Time teams their period of dominance (he says) coincides with the presence of a particular captain’s time with the side.
Whether you believe that or not, captains are generally thought to be emblematic of their team, a representative in sporting achievement as well as spirit. John Terry is Mr Chelsea, and the defensive pragmatism of their twenty-first century successes matches up well with his image as a player.
The pendulum can swing both ways though. Chelsea started the 2016/17 season limping, struggling through games in what looked to be performances which were below their true powers. And Terry looked much the same.
Watching their first game of the season, at home against West Ham on the 15th of August, hindsight plays on the mind as Terry jogs across the screen. Is there anything there which would indicate why he would never fight his way into the side following his injury in September, relegated in the pecking order behind Cesar Azpilicueta, David Luiz, and Gary Cahill? Continue reading