John Terry Offered Contract Extension:
There was a celebratory mood this weekend inside Stamford Bridge—and not for the 1-1 draw—as fans from both sides stood together in their love and affection for Claudio Ranieri. The Italian received a memento from Chelsea pre-match, and there was rapturous applause as he walked out onto the Stamford Bridge turf to receive the guard of honour.
There was also a lot of love for John Terry. Chelsea confirmed on Friday that the iconic club captain had been offered a new one-year contract. This initial news was greeted with delight, before fans began to wonder why the club had chosen to break protocol and publicly discuss contract negotiations.
The more you look at it, the more calculating a move it looks from the club. They are almost in a situation where they cannot lose. In their eyes they can claim to have done what the fans were demanding and offered Terry a new deal. If he does accept, it is likely to be on vastly reduced wages and without guarantees over playing time. If he turns down the contract in favour of a move to China, which will be subject to a substantial weekly wage, the club can claim that he was more interested in earning money than securing his legacy.
In truth, this PR war between the man known as the Captain, Leader, Legend and Chelsea is something we have seen far too often recently, as members of the old guard have been unceremoniously released or sold post-season, without having the opportunity to take some final adulation and say goodbye to the fans.
Supporters will hope Terry chooses stay at the club he has been at since the age of 14, but has it gone too far with neither side wishing to lose face.
Chelsea’s points sharing generosity:
As predicted in last week’s Blue Review, Chelsea continued this season’s tradition of admirably sharing their points around the league to those who need them most (except Spurs, of course) by losing 3-2 at Sunderland. The Blues even allowed Liverpool’s much maligned striker, Christian Benteke, to score a morale-boosting equaliser at Anfield in the past midweek.
Fans can feel a sense of pride in the club’s new found generosity. Not taking three points during games this season has resulted in Sunderland and Bournemouth retaining their places in the league, whilst the recent draw against Tottenham and December’s defeat at the King Power Stadium helped Leicester toward their sensational title triumph.
Above all this generosity and donation of points to the rest of the Premier League community, which has undoubtedly proved a roaring success, is the opportunity Chelsea’s league position has created for Guus Hiddink to blood some of the club’s youth talent. Tammy Abraham was the latest to make his first team debut ‘on the big stage’ (if that’s what Anfield can still be referred to these days), coming on for one of Chelsea’s other youth team products, Bertrand Traore.
18 year-old Abraham, born and bred in Camberwell, London, has been a regular scorer for Chelsea’s under 21’s academy side, scoring 19 goals in 21 games this season. He is a two-time UEFA Youth league winner with Chelsea and has played a starring role in the Blues’ previous FA Youth Cup-winning runs.
After the game he spoke to Chelsea TV: It’s a great stadium and obviously it’s a great achievement to make my debut against Liverpool. You have to deal with it as soon as you get on the pitch, you just have to block everything out and play your game.
‘Obviously making your debut is going to give you confidence to keep going, keep trying and see what you can do. Hopefully I can be more involved with the first team and play more games. Going on loan would be a great experience but if I can have the opportunity to train with the first team every day it would be great for me. Every day you get to train with them is another lesson so you have to take it on board, see what they do and take it into your game.’
These are positive comments from a talented player with his feet firmly on the ground. Fans will hope incoming manager Antonio Conte is as keen on promoting youth as Hiddink has been this season.