On the day, Chelsea FC have announced Captain, Leader, Legend, John Terry is leaving the football club at the end of the season, I thought it would be a good time to recall my meeting with the man himself. This is a true story!
It was the 13th April 2007, Chelsea had knocked Valencia out of the Champions League 2 days earlier. As a family, we’d all headed off to Chessington World of Adventures down in Surrey. We’d had a good morning wandering around, the kids were fairly young, Nathan 8 and his sister Hannah coming up for 5.
My wife had taken the children on a toilet stop and I waited outside. As I stood there minding my own business, few people about, I looked up, and pacing along just feet in front of me was John Terry!
‘Oh, my god, it’s John Terry’, dumbstruck I said nothing.
Willing the family to hurry up and return, I didn’t know what to do, wait or stalk………… I waited.
They returned. “You’ll never guess who I’ve just seen?” They didn’t.
Excited. “John Terry!” Not sure they believed me, but I hurried them off in the direction I’d seen him go. He’d disappeared. Damn. Undeterred, we carried on looking, Nathan quite excited, the girls unexcited, me delirious.
Walking past one of the roller coasters on the site, a car was pulling into the station at the end of the ride. We were about 30 metres away. John Terry stepped out of the car with……… wait……. Wayne Bridge, in happier times I guess. Not much nearer and to the embarrassment of my family, at the top of my voice “John!!!!”
People around me stared, my family stared, I didn’t care, it was JT. Off we went.
By the time, we arrived at the ride the two players were just exiting through the gated fence. A few people had gathered around them, pre-selfies, photographs being taken by parents and friends, autographs were being scribbled.
I hustled Nathan in next JT with another child (cut-out of subsequent prints of the photo, no offence to him), to have his photo taken by yours truly.
I shook John’s hand, thanked him, didn’t get an autograph, and wandered away very pleased with myself.
We stayed in the park for a few hours more and whilst we were still there saw JT just walking around the park, walking, and chatting with families as he went. He seemed very relaxed. I know for various reasons he’s not the most popular person on the planet but he came across as one of the good guys, in my somewhat biased opinion. As we now know, subsequently, Wayne Bridge was soon to think much less of him.