HOLLINS PRAISES TERRY ACHIEVEMENT
During his time as a Chelsea player, John Terry has won a host of honours, as well as becoming the most successful captain in the club's history, and after surpassing John Hollins's appearance total, as well as scoring a crucial goal, in Sunday's 3-1 win over Southampton, the Blues defender earned plaudits from the man he has overtaken.
Terry equalled Hollins's 592 games in last week's Champions League match against Basel, and moved ahead of our former player and manager against Mauricio Pocchetino's side.
'It's a real honour to see a guy working so hard and being so consistent, that's why he's got to where he is,' he told the official Chelsea website.
'John is a legend. It's important to get your head down and keep playing. In our day we had to play because we didn't have as many replacements as they do now, but John wants to play at all times.'
The 32-year-old has missed only two games so far this campaign and is one of only four players - along with Petr Cech, Branislav Ivanovic and Ramires - to have started every Premier League game. His increase in action under Jose Mourinho is a welcome sight for the skipper's admirers following the second half of last season when, due to a combination of injury and squad rotation, he did not have a regular place in the side.
'John doesn't need to go tearing up and down the pitch, he can stay back and make sure we don't concede anything,' said Hollins. 'With John being captain as well, he's in a position to decide that, at 1-0 or 2-0 up, we can close the game out. In order to do that you need to be an organiser on the pitch, and John's done that for many years.
'He's been the guy that puts his body where others don't, and that's been his trademark, being relentless but also being able to play. He also scores important goals, so what more do you want?
'I've been impressed with him this season, he's only missed the odd game and that just goes to show why he's so important. He has to be there for the big games, to hold the line, squeeze up, stay back and direct people. That's what we see him do week in, week out.'
Football has changed immeasurably since Hollins was patrolling the midfield at Stamford Bridge during the late 1960s and early 1970s, both on and off the pitch, but for him, reaching almost 600 appearances for one club regardless of the era is something to be proud of.
'The manner of the achievement doesn't differ between now and then because you put the work in on the training pitch and you have to be ready for every single game that comes along,' he said.
'The more you think about it the more tired you feel, so the key is to not think about it too much. I've seen John make some fantastic tackles and you wonder how he actually made them, but it's all about experience.
'In our day you didn't want to let the opposition know you were hurt and he's the same, he deserves all the plaudits he gets because being a defender at any club is a very difficult job.'
Hollins enjoyed two spells at the club as a player, before taking over as manager in 1985 after John Neal had fallen ill. Having made his debut for the Blues at the age of 17 Hollins, like Terry, went on to captain the club, a period he looks back on fondly.
'It was great,' he recalls, 'but when you're playing in front of 50,000 or 60,000 people most weeks it could be difficult to get your point across to the other players, you had to really shout or sometimes even whistle.
'We didn't have managers standing on the sidelines giving out instructions, they would be in the dugout or sitting in the stands.
'I really enjoyed it though and I had the privilege of working with some great people, the likes of Dave Sexton, Tommy Docherty and Ted Drake. Ted was my first manager and I was his final signing before he moved on. I owe him a great deal because he encouraged me, he came down to Guildford to see what I was like as a player and he signed me.'
While Terry has captained the side during the most successful period in the club's history, Hollins was part of a team that, while falling short in the league, enjoyed some memorable cup runs, appearing in five finals between 1965 and 1972.
'We played Tottenham and lost in 1967 but we were a good cup side at the time,' he says. 'We were close and we did well because we were such a fit side. The work-rate throughout the squad was unbelievable, we were all super fit.
'On the pitches they play on now we would have won the title every year, but the pitches back then were great up until Christmas but once the snow came there was no grass left. We were so quick and nimble but the ball was slowed down because of the state of the pitches.'
Understandably, the game which stands out from Hollins's time at the club is the 1970 FA Cup final - one of the most memorable of all-time - when we overcame a talented Leeds United side in a replay at Old Trafford.
It was partly thanks to Hollins we were given a reprieve, as it was from his cross that Ian Hutchinson equalised in the initial 2-2 draw at Wembley.
'I managed to get my foot on the ball and get the cross in, Hutch just managed to get across Norman Hunter and he headed it straight into the top corner,' he remembers.
'It was absolutely fantastic to win it, especially after the first game, which we would have lost had Peter Bonetti not been so sharp. The replay was another tense 90 minutes before extra-time and then we eventually won it through Dave Webb's header.
'Walking around the pitch and celebrating at the end was something I'll never forget. The Stretford End was completely blue and white that night and the Chelsea fans were going crazy. We were so tired after the two games though that we didn't really get to celebrate, we just had a couple of drinks and that was it.'
A first FA Cup triumph in our history ensured we would compete in the following season's European Cup Winners' Cup. It was another triumphant campaign and, like the FA Cup final, we eventually prevailed following a replay, this time against the mighty Real Madrid but while Hollins played in the first match, a 1-1 draw, he was forced to miss the replay through injury.
'I almost missed the first game as well because I had two injections in my knee before the game, another one at half-time and again going into extra-time but at the end of the game it completely blew up,' he says.
'For the replay, I was actually the first-ever co-commentator. I was working alongside Peter Lorenzo and it was the first time anyone had done that job. It was a very special night and John Dempsey's goal was fantastic, what a brilliant volley. He still talks about it now and you can't blame him, I know I would.'
Peter Osgood scored the winner as Chelsea won 2-1. Hollins went on to play for two of our London rivals after leaving Stamford Bridge in 1975, but returned to the club eight years later to play a part as a right-back and a coach as we secured our place back in the top flight.
'I played 134 games for QPR and then 145 at Arsenal before I came back in 1983,' he says. 'I'd never played in the Second Division but then I played around 30 games in our promotion season, which was brilliant. I then took over as manager when John Neal had a heart attack.
'They say you should never go back, but we worked really hard that season and moulded a good team. We managed to get promotion, finishing as champions on the final day.'
Hollins, despite a couple of disappointing campaigns prior to his departure as manager, looks back on his time at the helm fondly, particularly the first season, when he led us to a sixth-place finish and Wembley glory in the Full Members' Cup.
'That was a brilliant day and it went very well,' he recalls. 'It was a nice feeling to lead us to a cup win at Wembley. It was massive at the time, there was a big crowd, we had around 45,000 supporters there and Man City had over 20,000 so it was a great atmosphere and a great game.'
Having played alongside and managed some wonderful players during his time at Chelsea, Hollins is spoilt for choice when asked to single one out, but it comes as little surprise when he picks the man who is still regarded as the king of Stamford Bridge.
'Overall, I worked with some great players but Peter Osgood would be the pick of the bunch. He got injured early on in his career but it didn't stop him going on to be a strong player and one that wasn't frightened of anything. He was an absolutely great player. He's well remembered at the club by everybody.'
Inevitably, given his connections with the club, Hollins still keeps a close eye on how events unfold at Stamford Bridge. He is confident the current campaign will go down as another successful one, and our chances will only be boosted with a fit, in-form Terry marshalling the defence.