Back in February I wrote a post about the clear strategy in John Terry’s dramatic announcement that Chelsea were refusing to offer him one more contract extension. “It’s not going to be a fairytale ending, I’m not going to retire at Chelsea,” he said, presciently. Well, fast forward two and a half months and Terry has been offered the contract extension he wanted.
In that February post, I noted that the timing of Terry’s announcement would give fans and media a chance to voice their support for his cause and that’s what’s happened. Cries for Terry to be re-signed only intensified as the end of the season drew near, while incoming manager Antonio Conte was advised of the captain’s value. But Chelsea still dragged their feet.
With the season in its final weeks and no extension offer to be seen, the situation took another curious turn when Terry was booked twice in a span of eight minutes at the end of Chelsea 3–2 loss to Sunderland, getting himself sent off and banned for the final two games of the season (and, it seemed at the time, the final two games of his Chelsea career). They were needless bookings and appeared incredibly thoughtless, but there just might have been an underlying strategy to them.
Now, Terry has a history of getting himself banned at the worst possible moments (see: the 2012 Champions League final and the 2013 Europa League final), but an alternate reading of this is that he he did it on purpose as a last-ditch attempt to force Chelsea’s hand. After all, how could the club possibly let the most successful captain in their history go without a “proper” farewell?
Terry’s many detractors reveled in the undignified end to his Chelsea career that seemed to be unfolding, which might have also encouraged the impending reversal from a club that seems to enjoy antagonizing those who oppose it. So on Friday, ahead of Chelsea’s final match of the season, it was announced that Terry has been offered a one-year extension, which he is now considering (read: holding above his head like the Champions League trophy while wearing a full kit).
On Instagram Terry said, “The contract extension the club has offered me is a different role and I hope everyone will understand I want to take the time to consider it carefully before making a decision.” This implies that the offer was for less money and/or less guaranteed playing time than he hoped for, which he had to expect when he chose to publicly pressure the club back in February. He was never going to go from no offer at all to the best one ever made to a 35-year-old. Terms aside, it’s still an offer. It’s something. And that has to be all he was realistically after in doing this.
Granted, there is a good deal of speculation that goes into seeing all of this as a Machiavellian plot to get what he wants, but, either way, this series of events has gotten Terry exactly what he wants. He still has a chance at his fairytale ending. Or whatever can come close to one without playing for Leicester.