Ex-Chelsea icon Terry signs for As­ton Villa

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

LON­DON: For­mer long-serv­ing Chelsea cap­tain John Terry signed a one-year con­tract on a free trans­fer for sec­ond tier side As­ton Villa yes­ter­day. Terry, 36 and who left cham­pi­ons Chelsea af­ter 22 tro­phy-laden years at the end of last sea­son hav­ing lifted the Pre­mier League ti­tle, is re­ported to have agreed a weekly salary of £60,000 (68,300 eu­ros, $77,700) with the club that is owned by Chi­nese busi­ness­man Tony Xia. “#Wel­comeJT: It’s of­fi­cial - John Terry signs... Full story ?? bit.ly/2t8Ixv3 ?? #PartOfThePride #AVFC,” tweeted As­ton Villa with a pho­to­graph of the for­mer Eng­land skip­per in their kit.

Villa man­ager Steve Bruce-a for­mer cen­tral de­fender of renown him­self hav­ing cap­tained Manch­ester United-made no bones about the sig­nif­i­cance of per­suad­ing Terry to join.

“It has to be the big­gest sign­ing of my ca­reer,” said Bruce. “It’s not of­ten you get a player of John’s cal­i­bre to play for you. “A lot of the younger play­ers will look up to him and it can only be a good thing for the dress­ing room.” Bruce, though, had one mi­nor quib­ble.

“We would love to have signed him when he was 26 not 36 but phys­i­cally he is in­cred­i­bly fit for his age...,” he said. Terry, whose fi­nal ap­pear­ance for Chelsea was mired in con­tro­versy with sev­eral fans win­ning money on bet­ting on him be­ing sub­sti­tuted in the 26th minute the same num­ber as his shirt, said he pre­ferred to drop down a league than have to face Chelsea.

“It was that men­tal side of play­ing against Chelsea that would be too much to get over,” said Terry, who had of­fers from Pre­mier League sides West Brom and Swansea.

“I had 22 un­be­liev­able years at the foot­ball club. This is a new chap­ter. I wish Chelsea well but my thoughts are 100 per­cent here and the am­bi­tion to get back in the Pre­mier League.”

Terry joins the side against whom he made his se­nior de­but 19 years ago in a League Cup third round tie. “Life has come full cir­cle,” he said. Chelsea also tweeted their best wishes. “Wish­ing John Terry the very best of luck at As­ton Villa! (with a thumbs-up icon),” the cham­pi­ons tweeted. Terry is ex­pected to fly out to Por­tu­gal to join his team-mates at the club’s pre-sea­son train­ing, be­fore the new sea­son which be­gins at home to Hull City, Bruce’s for­mer club, on Au­gust 5th.The sign­ing is a bit of a coup for Villa-who en­dured a tor­rid time last sea­son never threat­en­ing to re­turn im­me­di­ately to the Pre­mier League fi­nally fin­ish­ing 13th-as they faced com­pe­ti­tion from not only Pre­mier League clubs but also Turk­ish gi­ants Galatasaray. —AFP

BIRM­ING­HAM: New As­ton Villa sign­ing John Terry, right, with Man­ager Steve Bruce dur­ing the me­dia con­fer­ence at Villa Park, Birm­ing­ham, Eng­land, yes­ter­day. For­mer Eng­land and Chelsea cap­tain John Terry has signed a one-year deal with sec­ond-di­vi­sion As­ton Villa, say­ing he is “de­lighted” and is look­ing to “help the squad achieve some­thing spe­cial this sea­son.” — AP

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