Chelsea: Eden Hazard owes it all to toxic John Terry, the Premier League’s best player
Chelsea captain John Terry is a great footballer. Saying that is hardly going out on a limb. He has been terrific for Chelsea.
But in the Sun, Steven Howard sees Terry as a victim:
“Here was another immense performance. One of the many that a lot of us feel should have earned him and not player Hazard the PFA Player of The Year award. That he was not even nominated by his fellow players shows there are other reasons behind his ommission.”
What reasons? Howard does not say.
The PFA player of the season featured these six contenders: Diego Costa, Philippe Coutinho, David De Gea, Eden Hazard, Harry Kane and Alexis Sánchez. Are they all better than Terry? No. They’re not. If you want to win prizes, you’d pick Terry over Countinho every time.
So. Does Howard have a point? Yes say some other journalists.
David Kidd writes in the Mirror:
“His [Terry’s] failure to make the PFA Player of the Year six-man shortlist [is] quite laughable.”
The Mail’s Martin Samuel says:
John Terry’s “exclusion from the six-man shortlist for PFA Player of the Year looks more ridiculous with each match…”
Ray Wilkins told talkSPORT:
“Is there anybody else who could have been Player of the Year? Yes, John Terry, because has been absolutely outstanding. But we will always pick forward players because that is the exciting end of the pitch.”
Pundits admire Terry.
And the pros like him, too, because the Chelsea skipper is in the PFA’s team of the year:
So much for the PFA awards.
Maybe the Football Writers’ Association – an association of England football journalists and correspondents writing for newspapers and agencies – will make Terry their prince. Each year FWA members vote for their best player – “the professional player who by precept and example is considered by a ballot of members to be the footballer of the year.”
Will the writers go for Terry?
Picking their players of the year, two of the Daily Telegraph’s sports team go for the Chelsea ‘legend’.
Chris Bascombe writes:
While Diego Costa, Nemanja Matic and Cesc Fabregas continue to claim the glory, John Terry’s consistency and leadership is criminally underrated. Considering he was being eased out a couple of years ago, his contribution to Chelsea’s title bid is even more impressive. The bottom line is if Terry was playing for Manchester City, Arsenal or Manchester United, the title race would look very different. He would be a worthy winner.
Terry is a divisive figure, one loathed by opposition supporters as much as he is loved by Chelsea fans, but even his detractors cannot argue that the former England captain has been a rock for Chelsea this season. Take him out of the team and Chelsea lose their leader and organiser. And just imagine how much better Arsenal, Manchester United or Liverpool would be with Terry at the heart of their defence.
Not one of them opts for Eden Hazard.
The Daily Mail invites its writers to pick their best player. Of 11 writers polled, two pick Eden Hazard. Two pick Nemanja Matic. Two pick David De Gea. No-one picks Terry.
Does picking Terry make you look like a racist?
Is Terry defined forever by his run-in with Anton Ferdinand? In October 2012, the Football Association said Terry’s defence against the charge of racially abusing Ferdinand was “improbable, implausible, contrived.” Terry had called Ferdinand a “f****** black c***.”
The FA said Terry “is not a racist”. But they were “satisfied” his comments were used as a racial insult.
Westminster magistrates thought otherwise, acquitting Terry of the racially aggravated public-order offence. It was after the actual legal ruling that the FA acted. They made an example of Terry and in doing so the FA panel presented themselves as the embodiment of sounds morals, equality and anti-racism. Who needs law when you have a cause? Gordon Taylor, head of the Professional Footballers Association, was delighted:
“We must reinforce the Respect campaign because the image of the game has been tarnished this week. The players are role models whether they like it or not and they must behave accordingly.”
What utter drivel. Football fans will not race riot or resort to chucking bananas at black players because of something John Terry said. They will mock him, shun him and judge him as they see fit. Taylor was buying into the elite’s portrayal of football fans as bigots-in-waiting on whom all kinds of control can be tested. A nascent racist did not need Terry to show them the way. If John Terry is your role model, then good luck earning the £200-000-a-week to fund the lifestyle and negotiating your image rights with mum and dad as they flick through the family albums.
So. It is entirely possible that toxic Terry was overlooked for the PFA’s top prize for ‘other reasons’.
The question is, given the option of having Terry or Hazard in your team, who would you pick? No contest: Terry every time. He’ll get the best out of the players around him – Hazard included…