Chelsea FC don't need John Terry as their captain. They just don't. England don't need Terry to captain the national side either, as frankly, the captain is one of the most overrated entities in sports today. Everything in my experience tells me this, and I've yet to hear a compelling argument to the contrary. If I took over for Roberto Di Matteo tomorrow, I'd take the captains armband and just throw it in the garbage.
Those of you that have been reading for a while probably know a bit about my background. I grew up playing all sorts of sports, played them throughout high school, and continued at the NCAA level afterwards. I've captained teams from as low a level as pee-wee soccer all the way through a program ranked in the Top 10 in the nation in college. You know what changed about my role in any of those teams between years that I captained them and years that I did not? Absolutely nothing. Not one single thing. I'd love to toot my own horn and say how much I accomplished as a captain, but it would all be a load of crap.
After college, I spent several years making a living as a coach. I started at the high school level and worked my way up to the NCAA. For the first several seasons that I coached, I had team captains. I'd love to tell you that they did nothing, but unfortunately that's just not true. There were occasions where I was just to lazy to take attendance before practice, and often times I'd pawn it off on one of my captains. I also had one particular captain in my first season of coaching that I would send to the teachers lounge to refill my coffee on a regular basis. They were certainly essential parts to the team dynamic in this regard, no?
Don't let the previous paragraph fool you into thinking that these captains I had weren't some great kids and leaders, because they were. That's the reason they were named captain in the first place, because they went above and beyond what their role in the team dictated without being asked. Being named captain didn't change their role, it simply acknowledged the fact that they had been doing great work. Nothing they did changed, they simply continued to do the excellent things they were doing anyway.
This brings me to John Terry. Does anyone really believe that Terry is going to suddenly stop doing any of the things he is doing because he doesn't get to wear an armband on matchday? Honestly? They shouldn't, because that is just a laughable concept. Terry was doing the things that earned him the armband in the first place long before he ever slipped it on, and he'll continue to do so even without it. That's just who he is, and that's why he's been such a big part of Chelsea FC.
Chelsea don't need a captain, they simply need leaders. They have them, even though most of them rarely get to wear the armband. Terry, Frank Lampard, Petr Cech, Branislav Ivanovic, David Luiz...the list goes on and on. Why set a single one of them as the face of the team by giving him an armband? Why not do away with it entirely and highlight the strength in leadership throughout the team?
John Terry will still be the same terrific asset to Chelsea that he's always been with or without an armband to recognize it, because that's just the guy he is. I'd love to see the team recognize that, and just do away with that silly black band entirely. Fifty years ago, professional clubs in England may have needed a captain, they just don't need one today. We have an absolute embarrassment of riches as far as leadership is concerned, there is absolutely no reason to try to set a single one above the others.