Thursday 22 March 2018

terry's loose lip bad news for blues

Veteran's outbursts underline all that is wrong at the Bridge

I wonder is there anyone left at Stamford Bridge with the courage to take John Terry to one side and politely tell him to put a sock in it? Anyone, of course, other than Roman Abramovich?

Reading Terry's comments across all media yesterday, it struck me that he sounded, to all intents and purposes, like the manager of Chelsea would sound.

It was almost as if he was doing an audition. Does he fancy it somewhere down the line? Has he spoken with his buddy Roman about one day wearing the gaffer's hat with Frank Lampard as his No2?

Who knows and, from where I'm sitting, who cares? John Terry is long past the point where he would do everyone a favour if he just closed his mouth.

I have to laugh at some footballers' willingness to let their lips flap as soon as they see a journalist or a microphone or, these days, a smart phone.

To be fair, most footballers don't indulge the attention-seeking side of their personality anywhere else other than the pitch but there are some -- and Terry is a great example -- who feel as if they have a soap box to stand on and something to say.

Joey Barton is the champion of free speech and, sure, he has the right to say what he likes but if his words damage his team, well that's another story and he should understand that anyone who is free to speak is also free to say nothing.

In this case, Terry told us that he was great mates with Andre Villas-Boas and he admitted that the players at Chelsea could have done better for their new young pal.

But he refused to concede that senior men at Stamford Bridge decided Villas-Boas's fate and claimed that this has never been the case as long as he has been a Chelsea player.

He threw in a little comment about how much 'the owner' cares about Chelsea and in doing that, underlined everything wrong about the club, the captain and the dysfunctional relationships which have played such a big role in the current chaos.

In my day, anyone who was 'busy' with the media or liked the sound of his own voice was sorted out quickly and quietly among his peers.

Liverpool players en masse did not like talking to the press and most of the time chose not to. Our attitude was a simple one. We talked for ourselves on the pitch and nowhere else.

We got into trouble for it and I know many media lads found our attitude hard to take, but it was never meant to insult or irritate. It was just the way we were.

We saw no need to talk about the team and the club anywhere else but among ourselves and I don't think we were wrong to behave like that.

The fact that Terry feels he can speak in the way he does is more than half the problem. He feels secure in his position because of his relationship with the owner -- and for anyone looking at Chelsea as a possible future employer that will be a big factor.

It seems to me that Abramovich didn't have the courage of his convictions when he sacked Villas-Boas after shelling out £30m on the young manager's 'project'.

Surely he discussed this project with his new manager and backed him enough to spend so much money? Surely he realised that Villas-Boas had different players in mind than some of the ageing legends in his squad?

But as soon as results started to go against Villas-Boas and while senior players sat on the bench wearing grumpy faces in the dugout, Abramovich panicked and took out the hatchet.

Didier Drogba was also quick to talk about Villas-Boas and he probably thought he was being kind when he said that the sacked manager would always be his 'friend'.

No manager should ever be a player's friend. He's the gaffer. His word is law and even if you don't like it, you do what you're told.

When Kenny Dalglish switched from being our mate and fellow player to being the Liverpool player/ manager, he made the change himself.

He stayed out of the dressing room and established a clear gap between himself and the players quickly. Remember, he was the same age as Villas-Boas when he stepped into the Anfield hot seat.

But he had cast-iron credibility and the full backing of those who appointed him, unlike the hapless Villas-Boas who was hung out to dry by those who really count at Stamford Bridge.

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