Sport Soccer

Friday 23 March 2018

Profile: A player who is love and loathed and never far from controversy

John Terry arives at Court for the last day of his alleged racial abuse trial. Photo: Getty Images
John Terry arives at Court for the last day of his alleged racial abuse trial. Photo: Getty Images

John Fahey

FORMER England captain John Terry has often been close to controversy during his career.

As a youngster full of promise he broke into the Chelsea squad but featured on the news pages of papers as well as the sport pages.

In 2001, as one of a group of Chelsea footballers, he was involved in a drinking session at a Heathrow Airport hotel on the day after the 9/11 attacks, and was accused of behaving offensively towards American tourists.

The club fined the players involved two weeks' wages, including Terry, and the cash was donated to the American victims' fund.

The following year Terry was involved in ugly scenes at a nightclub but was cleared of glassing a bouncer in the face.

The case threatened to undermine his blossoming career.

Doorman Trevor Thirlwall claimed his left eye "exploded in blood" when Terry hit him with a beer bottle outside the exclusive Wellington nightclub in Knightsbridge, central London, in January 2002.

When he gave evidence Terry wept as he denied using the bottle.

The centre-half admitted punching Mr Thirlwall once in the face - a punch which broke a bone in his hand - but said it was self-defence after he was attacked.

Terry was cleared of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, unlawful wounding, possession of a bottle as an offensive weapon and affray.

The defender very quickly emerged as one of the country's best defenders.

On the pitch, he forged a reputation for heroics both for his club and for England.

To reward Terry's growing stature and respect at the club, he was named captain for the 2004/5 season - a year in which the Stamford Bridge outfit won the Premier League, and Terry was awarded the PFA Player of the Year prize by his fellow professionals.

The next year he lifted the Premier League trophy again and in August was selected to replace David Beckham as England captain by manager Steve McClaren.

Terry's personal life was also happy and successful as in May 2006, Toni, his partner and childhood sweetheart, gave birth to twins Georgie John and Summer Rose.

That summer Terry cemented his appearance as a family man - dashing back from England's Portugal training camp ahead of the World Cup in Germany to spend time with his partner and the newborns.

In June 2007 Terry and Toni married in a star-studded ceremony at Blenheim Palace in Woodstock, Oxfordshire, one of the country's finest stately homes.

However, he has been repeatedly dogged by tabloid kiss- and-tell stories.

In 2009 Terry was named Dad of the Year by Daddies Sauce after coming top of a poll of UK adults.

Delighted, he said: "It's a great honour to be voted Dad of the Year.

"I have won many trophies in my career but I'm proud to say that this is up there with all of them.

"Georgie and Summer are great kids and I love them both dearly.

"My family mean the world to me and receiving this award has made me feel extremely proud."

In December that year Terry was in the newspapers again, but Chelsea defended him, after allegations he took secret cash payments to lay on a behind-the-scenes tour of the club's training ground.

And in January 2010, the father of two was unmasked as the sportsman behind a gagging injunction involving his private life.

A court order had previously been in place, covering an alleged relationship between married Terry and French model Vanessa Perroncel, a former partner of team-mate Wayne Bridge.

A month after the revelation, Bridge refused to shake Terry's hand before Chelsea's match with Manchester City on February 27 after it was reported that his girlfriend had a four-month affair with Terry.

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