Once shock of the announcement wore off, one thing appeared to be fairly clear, John Terry's orchestrating things as he were in his prime on the football pitch. A leader of men, now trying to lead public (fan) opinion. Why else would he decide to break the news of his contractual situation on Sunday? Dan Levene calls it 'guile and cunning' and related a shadowy story of a train-car full of journalists getting briefed by the Chelsea captain back in the day. ESPN's John Brewin calls it 'typical John Terry' on the Second Captains podcast (you should be listening, if you aren't). When I chatted briefly with Graham about this, the word 'fascinating' kept coming up.
You get the idea, I think. This is John Terry's world. Or at least he's trying to make it so for at least one more year.
That's not to say that's a bad thing. Player and club have stuck together through thick or thin, good and bad, celebrations and controversies, and all to tremendous amounts of success. Terry has been Mr. Chelsea, on and off the pitch. More so than Lampard or Drogba or quite possibly anyone else ever in the history of the club, Terry is Chelsea. To see that come to an end is jarring, even when expected and inevitable.
Possible overreaction but we're a step closer to a squad of interchangeable individuals with nothing making them stand out from one another.— Chelsea Youth (@chelseayouth) January 31, 2016
That's what happens when three of the top six players on the all-time appearance list, Frank Lampard, Petr Cech, and soon, John Terry, leave the club in a short span. The cycle starts anew. A decade or two from now we could be talking about another Old Guard leaving behind a rudderless club. Or maybe not. The uncertainty is scary.
Of course, the whole situation could've been handled much better. Chelsea are probably not too happy that Terry let loose, our PR department scrambling to get a short statement out a few hours after Sunday's match. Monday showed a more concerted effort from the club to get the other side of the story out, with stories in the Telegraph and Guardian and elsewhere about how the uncertainty stems from giving the new manager (whoever he may be) as much of a clean slate as possible when he comes in this summer. It's worth noting that the closest Terry had comet to actually leaving before today was the end of the 2012-13 season, before Mourinho's return ensured Terry's continuity as well.
[Terry's] statement had apparently not been planned and was an impromptu response to a question thrown at him after the cup tie. But the suggestion the club's hierarchy are keen to discuss Terry's future with the candidate they appoint on a permanent basis in the summer is understood to have frustrated the 35-year-old, who is free to negotiate a deal with a foreign club for the end of the campaign.
Chelsea have been left bemused by John Terry's decision to announce publicly that he would not be given a new contract extension - given that the player and his agent were told that they should wait for the club's new manager to make the final decision.
Terry asked the club last month to meet with him and his agent Paul Nicholls to discuss the question of a new contract extension. The club explained to them both that it was not a question of definitively answering whether Terry would be given a new deal or not, but player and agent said that an answer had to be given there and then.
Placed in that position, the club told Terry, 35, that as things stood they could not guarantee he would be getting a new deal as they did not want to pre-empt what their new manager would think about the situation. Terry was told that the issue was by no means decided and that he should wait to see how it developed.
While it's hard to fault Terry for wanting a more definite answer on his future — especially as now there are rumors of big paydays coming from China or Qatar or elsewhere — it's also hard to find too much fault in how Chelsea (attempted to) handle things. Conversely, we can place plenty of blame on what could be construed as a selfish act by the Captain and a disloyal act by the club. Or vice-versa. Or backwards and upside down and spun all around. As usual, there are no clear cut answers. This thing's a mess already and it's probably only going to get worse.
In a way, it first perfectly with the rest of this godforsaken season.