Terry blasts crit­ics

New Straits Times - - Sport -

LONDON: De­fi­ant Chelsea cap­tain John Terry on Wed­nes­day brushed off crit­i­cism of his con­tro­ver­sial farewell sub­sti­tu­tion at Stam­ford Bridge which caused a furore in the English me­dia.

The 36-year-old cen­tral de­fender — who will leave Chelsea in the close season af­ter 22 years at the club — was given a guard of hon­our by his team­mates last week­end when he was sub­sti­tuted af­ter 26 min­utes (the same as his squad number) dur­ing a 5-1 fi­nal-day vic­tory over Sun­der­land in the Pre­mier League.

The ar­range­ment was later de­scribed as con­trived and em­bar­rass­ing by some pun­dits while re­ports fans won money by bet­ting on the sub­sti­tu­tion — and that Sun­der­land agreed to kick the ball out on 26 min­utes — have added fuel to the fire.

Terry, how­ever, has in­sisted he has no re­grets and is cer­tain the re­ac­tion will not tar­nish his mem­o­ries of an emo­tional farewell.

“I couldn’t care less, I prom­ise you,” Terry told jour­nal­ists ahead of to­mor­row’s FA Cup fi­nal against Ar­se­nal.

“All I care about is cel­e­brat­ing with my Chelsea fans be­cause me and them have had an in­cred­i­ble rap­port and have done for 22 years.

“No-one, what­ever is writ­ten or said, can ever get in the way of that. If that’s the way I want to go out, that’s the way I go out.

“Be­cause you know what, I’ve been 22 years here and won so many tro­phies that if I wanted to play one minute and come off I would have done.

“I wanted to play 26 min­utes and come off be­cause it meant a lot to me, the shirt number.

“As long as the sup­port­ers are happy — and I’m over the moon with the re­cep­tion they gave me — I couldn’t case less,” added Terry, whose life off the pitch has been of­ten con­tro­ver­sial.

There is un­likely to be any re­peat at Wem­b­ley to­mor­row when Terry is ex­pected to be a sub­sti­tute.

How­ever he does plan to lift the tro­phy with on-field cap­tain Gary Cahill should Chelsea beat Ar­se­nal to clinch a League and Cup ‘Dou­ble’ for the sec­ond time in their his­tory.

“Hope­fully we’ll share that mo­ment,” he said.

“I’ve done that be­fore with Frank Lam­pard when he was vice-cap­tain — and Gazza (Cahill) has filled that role su­perbly too.”

As for his own fu­ture, Terry re­mains in­sis­tent he has not yet de­cided whether he will con­tinue play­ing or opt to re­tire once the season is over. AFP

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