TERRACE TALK: Chelsea - Fight and flight from players in mixed week

In the past seven days we have seen the very best and the very worst that this team has to offer. 

The Tottenham game was one of those that made us football addicts fall in love with the game in the first place. Notice I didn’t call it the beautiful game there – because beautiful it most certainly wasn’t — but that second half was hard fought, a passionate, filthy rivalry at it’s very best and very worst.

The Tottenham players were literally fighting for the biggest prize of their careers, the Chelsea players fighting for their pride. Despite our woeful season, we not only denied them, we also forced them into revealing their inexperience and brutish need for all to see.

Pochettino too — good a manager as he is, with potential to be one of the very best — also demonstrated his inexperience by sending his team out in such a volatile state and being unable to rein them in.

He is as much to blame for their failure at the last hurdle as they are.

But hey — I’m not here to cry tears over Tottenham. It gave me one of the very few highlights of the season — and if anyone thinks that so very “small-time” of me, then I would counter that you do not understand football nor football fans.

When joy does not spread through my entire being when denying a fierce rival, that’ll be the day to pack it in I reckon.

So the team proved they still have it in them, but then the display up in Sunderland proved to me what I had feared for some time; they have lost the competitiveness and hunger to go and win games.

The team, not the manager(s), have been responsible for this disastrous season. There have been other contributing factors obviously, but the long and short of it is that they did not have the balls for the fight. The Tottenham game was an exception as the fans made it very, very clear defeat would not be tolerated.

If I were Conte, I’d be going through my contract with a fine-tooth comb looking for a get-out. The majority of this team has had it. We are now led to believe the Italian will not be permitted to bring his own backroom staff with him. This club really amazes me sometimes. It’s probably one of the most difficult jobs in football, but we still insist on tying the manager’s hands behind his back. I really fear next season could out-disaster this one

There are those that will think I’m scaremongering — after all haven’t we fared magnificently for the past decade?

But for the past decade we have had small group of extraordinary players that all incoming managers could build a team around. They perhaps weren’t the most technically gifted players in the world, but they had the hearts of lions and the determination and belief that they could beat the best in the world — and they did.

The last of that group looks to be heading out of the Bridge and Mike Jones has ensured he will not receive the farewell the legend deserves.

This is the referee that in the same game decided not to send off serial offender Lee Cattermole for a horrendous tackle on Eden Hazard, yet felt it necessary to brandish a second yellow in the 95th minute to Terry.

John Terry is a legend at Chelsea.

We don’t care what you non-believers think you know about him as a player or as a man. Most of you believe every salacious detail spewed by the press. Other players have been forgiven worse and I would wager that had JT played for any other side than Chelsea his “crimes” would not have taken up more column inches than Fred and Rose West.

No matter what you think of Terry, what cannot be denied is that he is one of the best defenders of his generation.

He won everything there was to win and was the most important player in the last decade to Chelsea.

On the pitch he led by example — the likes of Lampard, Drogba, Cech etc could not have been what they were without him.

He deserved that last game, he had earned that last game, and if this club has even an ounce of gratitude or sense it should be putting together that new contract so that he can have the ending that befits our captain, our leader, our legend.

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