This man has insane amounts of devotion. Look at it! Look at it! - Mike Hewitt
Plenty of journalists were shocked, and dare I say, offended today when Chelsea didn't strip John Terry of the club captaincy. Why though? In their rush to judgement, did they forget who John Terry is or did they ignore what they already knew?
John Terry is a captain. I don't mean that to point out the fact that he still is, after all, the Chelsea captain. I mean that he is a captain in every sense. I don't think he even knows how to not be captain. Heck, I don't even know if knows how to be one. It's probably like breathing for him. When people -- particularly those raised around the English game -- think of what a captain should be, they're basically describing John Terry. Who else embodies the tenaciousness or force of will that Terry spreads through a side? Indeed, Chelsea have made their name on the back of their never-say-die attitude. It brought us a Champions League title, after all. How many times last season were we down and out, only to pull the rabbit out of the hat again and survive? That's what Terry brings to Chelsea.
Sure, the rest of the infamous "Old Guard" contributed too, but Terry has always been far and away the most influential member of the Chelsea squad. Even if he didn't play in the final, he's the man to thank*. He's "Mr. Chelsea." How could you stop him being our captain? Even if you took the armband away, what would change? While he would probably be unhappy about it, there's plenty of evidence to say he would bounce right back and be the same JT he's always been; the same dominant and influential force. Thus, stripping the captaincy would be nothing more than useless endeavour.
*After you thank Drogba, of course. : )
When he was stripped of the England captaincy [twice], he was more a captain-in-exile than just a regular player. You may remember his infamous "revolt" at the 2010 World Cup, which many attributed to him behaving as a shadow captain, of sorts. Why would you expect things to be any different at Chelsea? Do you think he'd take it on the chin and become just a central defender? If anything, with a sympathetic squad, he'd hand the armband to someone else who'd be his "puppet" captain, probably Frank Lampard.
Lest you think I'm saying this tendency is a negative, I should clarify that I don't believe he has the capacity to step down. I've never seen a player who has the same natural leadership qualities. That's why there's never been a question of who should be Chelsea captain. An entire generation of Blues have grown up without that uncertainty, and find it foreign to think of other clubs changing captains every year or two. [I do, anyway.]
That's why I can't understand the journalists not just asking for, but seemingly expecting him to be stripped of the armband today. What were they thinking? Do they not know John Terry? If so, they have to understand both the futility of such an action and that we would never do it. Right? Have they developed this expectation as a cudgel with which to beat the club, knowing full well it will never be fulfilled? Part of me wants to believe they'd never be that underhanded, but the rest can't believe they'd be so stupid as to be surprised.
Either way, it stinks, and it's disappointing, even by the standards of the English media. They're better than that. I'm just glad we're getting to a point where we'll be done with this year-long mess, assuming we're ever really done with it.