What in the name of really-daft-things-you-do-but-desperately-hope-no-one-has-noticed did he think he was doing?
Within seconds of Chelsea lifting the Champions League trophy, John Terry appeared on the pitch in short trousers. His bright shirt and shorts were in pristine condition and looked as if they had been ironed. There was no sweat to be seen, not a trace of mud from a sliding tackle.
This was because Terry sat out the game, having been suspended for the Munich final for hoofing an opponent in the back. The defender didn’t head a ball in anger, or blow snot out of his nose, a trick he has perfected, against Bayern Munich. He sat out for the match and the penalty shoot-out, wearing an orange top not dissimilar to those worn by detainees at Guantanamo Bay. The player wasn’t manacled and hooded, but you can’t have everything.
However, as soon as his team-mates won, and completed the hard work, Terry did a Mr Benn. Like the bowler-hatted hero of the 1970s children’s TV series, the footballer temporarily disappeared from view, only to magically re-appear dressed in his brand new Chelsea kit. Ah, bless him and his little knobbly knees.
Lots of people have got very steamed up about the player’s behaviour. Why, having done zip all except maintain the trademark John Terry stare (which, in JT’s defence isn’t as easy as it sounds, especially for JT) did he muscle in on the action, attempting to over-shadow his team-mates?
Couldn’t Terry have kept a dignified distance and look on sagely, waving on the starting 11 and substitutes as they lapped up the adulation of the crowd. That would take leadership, moral fibre and statesman-like qualities. Which is exactly why Terry marauded on to the pitch like a gurning idiot, displaying the dignity of a cart horse having munched too many blue smarties.
This, unfortunately, is what we have come to expect from modern footballers, notably during the last decade, with their rampaging egotism.
But the sheer arrogance of the Terry “Aren’t I Brilliant” post-victory parade isn’t what shocked me most. No, what really blew me away was the fact that he wore the aforementioned kit.
Did he do it for a bet? Did his mum make him do it?
Or is Terry actually five years old and we are all being a bit unfair? I didn’t realise at the time, but later learned, that Terry even put on his shin pads. Why? Did he think someone was going to kick him? I can think of many people who would want to kick him, or lob a custard pie.
When they were suspended for Manchester United’s Champions League cup final in 1999, in a match also played against Bayern, captain Roy Keane and midfielder Paul Scholes wore suits and ties and remained in the stands. Could you imagine either of these men, no less committed to their club than Terry, nipping off to the boys’ lavs and changing into the Red Devils’ kits after watching their team-mates’ remarkable come back?
Imagine it. Scholes: “Hey, Roy, we’ve bloody won t’trophy! Shall we put our footie kits on and run on to t’pitch?”
Keane: “Don’t be such a girl. Pull your bleedin’ self together. Do I look like John Terry? We’ll stay where we bleedin’ are.”
In years to come, John Terry won’t look back and think: “I made a right plank of myself that night.” Everyone else will.