It’s always been assumed that John Terry would end up a football coach one day and probably not long after finishing his playing career either, but he still managed to surprise by landing the Aston Villa assistant’s job just a few days — perhaps hours! — after officially announcing his retirement.
But it’s not quite as simple as it says on the tin. As it turns out, JT, who has not yet completed his coaching badges after beginning the long process a couple years ago, and will be learning on the job. New Villa boss Dean Smith brought along his usual assistant, Richard O’Kelly, with whom he’s worked since 2011, first at Walsall then at Brentford. This makes Terry more of an assistant TO the manager rather than an assistant manager, though Smith assures that JT’s input will not only be valuable but considered equally.
“They’re a team. Richard is very important to me. He’s been with me at Walsall, he’s been with me at Brentford. At Walsall we could get by. We needed to with two financially, whereas at Brentford there was scope to have one more coach which I thought was needed.
“Richard and John will both be involved with everything, I have an open door policy. I’ve made that clear with both of them. They’ll be involved with team selection, training, coaching, planning. I’ll take advice and opinions but when I make my decision, it’s our decision when I walk out the door.”
-Dean Smith; source: Birmingham Mail
So much synergy!
JT, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and pencils at the ready, already impressed on his first day as one would expect from the humble star pupil.
“When I discussed the role I said if I speak to John I think we can both come up with good enough honest answers to see if we both want to move on with it or not. We decided it was right and I felt it was win-win. We had a good discussion and got the answers we both wanted.
“John is very humble and he’s a willing learner. He was in bright and early at 7.30am with his pencil case at the ready. I’m quite flattered that he’s chosen to work with us to get his coaching hours in. I have no doubts John Terry will be a fantastic coach and go on to be a fantastic manager but he’s well aware that this is his apprenticeship.”
-Dean Smith; source: Telegraph
The thing with open-door policies is that people have to be willing to walk through that door and speak their mind. It’s hard to imagine that that will be a problem for a man like Terry, though.
Chief Executive Christian Purslow is similarly thrilled that Terry was willing to come back to the club that he almost helped to promotion last season. Terry’s familiarity with the squad and the club, and of course his tremendous wealth of experience is expected to be great assets as Villa attempt to recover from the poor start to this season.
“It’s obvious that having been at Aston Villa last year in a playing capacity John has really, I think, understood what Aston Villa is all about and really familiarised himself with all aspects of the club - beyond simply the normal duties that a professional footballer would focus on. I think in that sense he’s going to help Dean very much in the early days to hit the ground running.
“Secondly, I think it’s tremendous that a former great footballer has taken a decision to dedicate himself to be a leading coach and this is the first step on that long journey. To have somebody with his background as a player make his first steps with our great club, learning from a hugely experienced coach like Dean felt like an excellent fit.”
-Christian Purslow; source: Football.London
As for the players, the one we really care about is Tammy Abraham, who has now scored three goals in six appearances for the Claret and Blue. And he, too, sounded excited to have Terry around again, recalling words of encouragement he received already from the Chelsea legend.
“It’s crazy because a just a couple of days ago, I was sending him a message saying congratulations on your retirement, next thing you know I am seeing on Sky Sports News that he is my assistant manager.
”I am excited to get back and see what he is like. I have not [spoken to him], I have just been focused here but as soon as I get back (from the international break), I will see what they are like. I have spoken with Ezri [Konsa} about his old manager [Dean Smith] and he said that he is a great guy.
”As a young lad he [Terry] always encouraged me and the first time I made my debut he put his arm around me and he was excited for me. I’m so excited to go back and see him as my assistant manager.”
-Tammy Abraham; source: Football.London
Of course, it’s easy to sound positive before the results start rolling in. Steve Bruce was fired for a reason — Villa are mired in the middle The Championship table and are already ten points behind Sheffield United. They’ve shipped as many goals as they’ve scored (20 and 20). So the new coaching staff has their work cut out for them if they expect to get back into contention for promotion.
John Terry got an up-close-and-personal look at the league from a player’s perspective last season.Now he’ll be watching from a considerably less secure perch in the dugout.