John Terry became only the third player in our history to reach 700 Chelsea appearances when he played against Everton on Saturday, and for the second day in succession the club’s official website marks the skipper’s special achievement by hearing from those who have played with, managed and watched Terry in action since he made his debut for the Blues 18 years ago…
John Mikel Obi has been at the club since 2006 and, as a defensive midfielder, operates just in front of Terry.
‘I’ve been fortunate to play with him for many years now,’ said the Nigerian. ‘We’ve won so many trophies together, so many big games together, and to have had someone behind you who reads the game so well helps me a lot. To reach 700 appearances for the club is a wonderful achievement.
‘He’s always been there to help new players settle in and give advice when needed. He pushes other players to improve and work even harder. Every day in training it’s as if he’s playing for the very first time, putting his head on the line and defending balls. He always wants to win, that’s just the way he is.’
Didier Drogba played alongside Terry countless times over his two spells at the club as we won every trophy available.
‘John Terry was 24 when I arrived and he was already the captain. That distinction means a lot in a club of Chelsea’s quality. He had charisma, a high status, and above all, he was able to get his head in places where I couldn’t get my foot. Even if he got hit, he would pick himself back up and get back to work. That attitude always worked. A real mental fighter.’
For Jose Mourinho's two spells as Chelsea manager, Terry was skipper throughout.
'He has everything a central defender needs, technically, physically and tactically,' said the Portuguese.
'He’s a guy with a good competitive personality and he’s a fantastic captain.
'Every training session for him is a top one, he works well and hard.'
Head of youth development Neil Bath has known Terry for a number of years.
‘Every day at Cobham we see leadership in terms of how he trains, how he conducts himself and the support that he gives young players.'
Carlo Ancelotti managed the team when we won the Premier League and FA Cup in 2009/10.
‘He’s a fantastic captain, he’s a fantastic man, he’s a fantastic player.’
In his role as a Chelsea TV analyst Clive Walker has watched Terry regularly over the years.
‘When you play that many games you will have ups and downs but you have to be able to recover from the downs and relish the highs,' says our former player.
'If you want to stay for that length of time, especially at the very top level, you have to keep improving your game. Managers staying for a long time at a club in the last 20 or 30 years is a rarity so as a player you have to keep showing them that you are good enough to stay in that team.
‘The players John has played alongside have improved their game and learned a lot from him. So many England caps as well tells you what a magnificent career JT has had.’
Like Terry, Colin Pates has also captained the Blues.
‘To reach 700 games, especially in this day and age, is just incredible. He’s probably been the most consistent player in the country in the past 10 years.
‘I know keeping that level of performance week in, week out as a centre-half is so difficult because the minute you switch off you get punished.
‘He’s probably the best defender I have ever seen at cutting out crosses. I have never seen anyone anticipate where the ball is going to go as well as JT.'
Ricardo Carvalho and Terry formed one of the strongest central defensive partnerships in the Premier League era.
‘When I arrived he was the first man I looked up to, the guy is strong and he’s a winner, he’s a fighter,’ said Carvalho.
Bobby Tambling, the club’s second all-time highest scorer, highlights Terry's teamwork.
‘John symbolises what a team is all about. It needs skill, it's got to have determination and it must have motivation – but he's got something that a lot of people don't, and that's his ability to drive people on even if he's not having the best of games himself,’ explained Tambling. ‘He gets an extra five or 10 per cent out of the players and that counts for a lot.
‘John shocked me the very first time I spoke to him. He's a big guy, tough as teak – but he's very softly spoken. I saw him so many times when I was not well and I could hear the feeling in his voice, as though I was his dad who was ill and he just wanted me to be well. He's such a nice guy.’
The last word goes to one of Terry’s current team-mates, Nemanja Matic, who is now in his second spell as a Chelsea player.
‘To play 700 games for one team is something I probably won’t do in my life,’ said the Blues midfielder. ‘It’s a truly amazing achievement, one which only very big players can do, and that’s why he’s been captain here for many years. I would like to send him my congratulations.
‘At any club you only have maybe one player like this, if at all. At Roma you have Totti, at Manchester United you had Giggs. I know how hard it is at a club like this to stay at the highest level every year and only the best players and professionals can achieve it. To play 700 matches is amazing.’
- A special Chelsea TV tribute video to John Terry can be viewed below.