Tuesday 25 October 2016

John Terry goes all John Terry and hires Stamford Bridge to stage his own farewell game

Matt Law

Published 10/05/2016 | 08:09

John Terry was sent off in his last game for Chelsea
John Terry was sent off in his last game for Chelsea

John Terry will play in a final farewell game at Stamford Bridge, despite missing Chelsea’s last two games of the season through suspension.

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Captain Terry is convinced he has played his final competitive game  for the Blues, following his sending-off at Sunderland, and has told  friends he is considering a lucrative offer from China.

But Terry will still play on the Stamford Bridge turf for one last  time after hiring the stadium for a specially arranged match with his  closest friends next Monday – the day after Chelsea’s final game of  the season against Leicester City.

Hiring Stamford Bridge for a game usually costs £22,000, but Chelsea  have agreed to give Terry the club’s stadium for free as part of a  series of gestures that will be made to the 35-year-old.

Together with being able to play on the pitch, the Stamford Bridge  package that Terry has taken up for his big goodbye includes dressing rooms, match officials, use of the dug-outs, access to stadium screens and public address system, and a barbecue.

Despite his Premier League ban, Terry’s team-mates are also planning  to send the central defender off in style at an end-of-season bash at  the Under the Bridge nightclub, which is on the site of Stamford  Bridge, following the Leicester clash.


Chelsea are yet to confirm that Terry will be allowed to leave the  club when his contract expires at the end of the season, but an  announcement on his future could be made ahead of Sunday’s game  against Premier League champions Leicester.  Despite the fact he will not be able to play in the game, Terry will  take part in a post-match lap of appreciation and will be treated to a  farewell tribute from the Blues fans.

The club hold their annual end-of-season awards ceremony on Friday night, where Terry is expected to receive tributes from a host of his  former team-mates and managers who were approached by Chelsea to given  written and video messages.  Terry is yet to make a decision on where he will play next season, but  has told friends that he has a firm proposal from a Chinese Super League club.

Moving to the Far East would be Terry’s most lucrative option with  sources claiming he could earn up to £20million by moving to China.  Jiangsu Suning, who signed Ramires from Chelsea in January, are  understood to be one of the interested clubs.

Terry already has strong links in China, having embarked on a one-man  promotional tour in the country last summer and travelled to Shanghai  as part of a Chelsea coaching course in March.


There is also interest in Terry from Qatar, where ex-Chelsea star  Gianfranco Zola manages at Al Arabi, but any move to America’s Major  League Soccer would involve the former England captain having to take  a huge wage cut.

Sources in America claim that no MLS clubs have currently indicated a  willingness to sign the central defender on ‘designated player’  status.

It means Terry, who has been paid over £100,000-a-week at Chelsea,  could only earn around £5,000-a-week in America because of the MLS  wage cap structure.

Each MLS club is allowed to sign up to three ‘designated players’ who  fall outside the wage cap, such as former Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard who earns about £4m-a-year at New York City.

Terry has been keen on the idea of following Lampard to America, but  MLS clubs only hand out their highly-paid designated player spots to forwards or midfielders.

Defenders rarely fall into that category and Ashley Cole took a huge  wage cut to move to LA Galaxy on non-designated player status because  the club have Robbie Keane, Steven Gerrard and Giovani dos Santos as  their highest earners.


Ex-Chelsea striker Didier Drogba is at Montreal Impact, while David  Villa and Andrea Pirlo are in New York with Lampard.

There are a few exceptions, such as Liam Ridgewell at Portland Timbers  but the former Aston Villa defender earns around £15,000-a-week – much  less than the attackers and midfielders on designated player status.

With Terry’s Chelsea career seemingly finished, incoming manager  Antonio Conte wants to sign at least one new central defender this  summer, while 18-year-old Jake Clarke-Salter is likely to be the  club’s fourth choice option in the position behind a new man, Kurt  Zouma and Gary Cahill next season.

Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci, Everton’s John Stones and Roma’s  Kostas Manolas have all been identified as potential replacements for  Terry at Chelsea.

Terry was in Denmark on Monday night to watch Brondby IF, who are  owned by his close friend Jan Bech Andersen. He has been linked with a  coaching post with the club, but reiterated his desire to keep playing in an interview with Brondby’s in-house TV station.


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