The Inevitble day has happened: Monday 26th July 2021, John Terry has officially left Aston Villa after serving in various roles, with one year off, since 2017.
John Terry first joined Villa in a player capacity in the Championship Campagin of 2017/18, I think there were mixed feelings on the deal, with some excited a player of his quality and calibre was joining but there were reservations as the player that they used to Boo and harras when he came to Villa Park, they now had to cheer. His announcement was comical - A Whatsapp group style and in there revealed his squad number for the season - the Iconic 26, Kodjia gave it up. JT has insisted on many occassions that he never pushed for the 26 shirt and that it was infact offered to him by Kodjia/management staff, Likewise the captaincy, where James Chester was happy to step aside and watch/learn from someone who has had a glistening career.
Fans immiedately took to "JT" though from his first interview where he said he had "always admired Villa from afar" to his debut pre-season and the lifting of his first *and not last* trophy at the club, The Cup of Traditions, Aston Villa beat MSV Duisburg and Hertha Berlin to lift the prestigous ;) Trophy.
John Terry made his Villa debut in August 2017 against Hull City, alongside the likes of Henri Lansbury, Leandro Bacuna, Scott Hogan and Glenn Whelan. Villa took the lead early on with Gabby Agbonlahor but Villa, and JT couldn't keep as clean sheet as the game ended 1-1.
By October things were going plain sailing for Villa who looked like playoff contenders at the very least, under Steve Bruce, with Villa only losing 3 times in this period. John Terry registered his first *and only* Villa goal in the 2-1 win over Fulham at Villa Park.
It was fitting, with Fulham being Chelsea's West London fierce rivals, JT celebrated right in front of the travelling fans and I am sure it is a goal he will never forget, being the last goal of his long playing career.
However, in his playing career at Villa things didn't always go to plan, in the 2-1 defeat to Sheffield Wednesday in November he picked up a foot injury, this would keep him out of the team for a few months, his first game back came in January, a 1-0 win away at the City Ground.
Fast forward a few months and Villa made the Playoff Final, it was always going to be a tough ask to beat a Fulham team that was in a great run of form and turned it around in the second half of the season, and it turned out to be a step too far. John Terry couldn't end his playing career on a high with a promotion to his name as Fulham beat Aston Villa 1-0 depsite being down to 10 men for the best part of the second half. It was a dissapointing end to his Villa career, and at the end, the Captian reacted as he would to losing any of his other finals in his career, he did, rally the troops though, the likes of Jack Grealish for example, and a few days after the Playoff Final defeat, he left the club, he was quoted with saying: "I will look back on my time here and think about how close we were to reaching our goal, I have given my everything this year both on and off the pitch and I'm still hurting today that we never managed to get back to the Premier League, where this club 100% belongs"
Little did he know, that he would be back, so soon. It was a summer of turmoil for Villa with Tony Xia struggling to pay a £3m HMRC Bill, Nassef and Wes Edens saved the day. NSWE as they are known as, are still in charge to this day, and fans are greatful. After a poor start to the season, that Glen Whelan penalty miss and the Cabbage situation. Steve Bruce was relieved of his duties with Aston Villa sitting just above the relegation zone, and on the 10th of October 2018, Dean Smith was appointed as manager, bringing John Terry in with him, this time as an Assistant Manaager/Coach.
Smith has said on numerous occassions how Terry brought with him valuable experience and different techiniques, that he has learnt from the top managers he has worked with, in his time as a player. JT has been credited with working heavily on the defence, both in our Championship Promotion Campaign and in the Premier League, which has seen an incredible turnaround.
In this season he was appointed, he did get to taste that trophy winning feeling again, with Villa and this time it was a Playoff Win. The relief in his, and the playing staffs' faces was all to see as they managed to avenge what happened the year before with a 2-1 win vs Frank Lampard's Derby County, it was expected tha maybe Terry would leave after gaining promotion, but he signed a new contract at the club in that season, and was vital in Villa's first campaign back in the Premier League, working heavily on defensive shape over the COVID break, this in the end, played a massive part in keeping Villa in the Premier League, since then Villa have not looked back, finishing in mid table in the PL.
His experience and winning mentality has been vital over the year, and he just "gets" the club, he has also helped bring signings in, with the likes of Ross Barkley and defenders such as Konsa, Cash, Mings were all excited to work under JT.
We also cannot estimate the help he has given to Jack Grealish, he has set standards for the new Villa Captain, who has gone on from strength to strength since JT has been at the club. Grealish has always gone to Tery for pointers and even asked him on many occassions how Lampard used to play/train.
But, for now! Terry has left. Upon Leaving JT said:
“It has been a tremendous honour and privilege to have spent these last three years at Aston Villa, but I feel now is the right time to make the extremely difficult decision to move on.
“I want to be as respectful to the manager and everyone at Aston Villa as I can and, having given my future serious consideration over the summer, I genuinely don’t feel it is fair to move into a new season without being certain of seeing that through.
“My immediate plan is to spend some quality time with my family and, thereafter, hopefully take up some invitations to visit clubs and managers around Europe to develop my aim and objective of becoming a manager.
“It has always been my ambition to move into football management and, providing the right opportunity presents itself, I feel ready to take up such a challenge.
“I would like to thank Christian Purslow and our owners, Wes Edens and Nassef Sawiris, for believing in me and giving me the opportunity.
“And I will forever be indebted to the Gaffer for giving me the opportunity to start my coaching career at such a wonderful club. I have loved every minute of it and learnt so much.
“I can’t thank Dean enough for the support and guidance he has provided me with and I’m sure he will continue to lead the club from strength to strength.
“Finally, I would also like to thank all the players and staff and wish them all the very best for the season ahead and say a huge thank you to the wonderful Aston Villa fans for their support.”
Thanks for everything, JT!