John Terry has had more interest than most Chelsea players in the arrival of Ron Gourlay as the successor to Peter Kenyon as chief executive. The night before the announcement of Kenyon's long-expected departure last week, Terry revealed that as club captain he has played an increasingly influential role in pleading with Kenyon and the owner Roman Abramovich for new contracts on behalf of players such as Didier Drogba and Ashley Cole.
He will be keen to confirm whether that area of club policy remains part of the CEO's brief or whether Frank Arnesen, the empire-builder whose own influence as "sporting director" helped minimalise Kenyon's, will be the man to lobby from now on. Terry's great friend and long-standing team-mate Joe Cole is the next name the captain wants written on a long contract, which has become all the more important since Fifa's transfer ban.
Subject to an appeal in which Kenyon, who stays on for the time being as a non-executive director, will play a part, Chelsea cannot sign any players in the next two transfer windows. As The Independent revealed last weekend, nor will Fifa allow them to take back the likes of Michael Mancienne and Scott Sinclair from season-long loans to other Premier League clubs.
This summer Terry was happy to let speculation about a possible move to Manchester City hang in the air while he confirmed the club's intentions about retaining established players and signing new ones. A useful, lucrative by-product was an improved contract of his own, reported to be worth £160,000 per week until 2014.
"Re-signing people like Didier and Ash was massively important," he said after the 1-0 victory over Porto in the Champions' League. "You stress to people like Roman and Peter Kenyon it's so important for them to stay. The guys speak to me on a daily basis and I can then go to the club as a middle man and try to get things done. They want to stay and the club wants them to stay so let's get in a room and sort it out rather than taking six or seven months and dragging on, unsettling them and also unsettling the team." Next up should be Joe Cole, who is finally fit after suffering a knee injury in January and had hoped to come on as a substitute against Porto.
"I'm sure that'll be resolved as well," says Terry. "He was telling the lads before the game, 'get two or three up and I can come on in the last 15 or 20 minutes', and he really wants to get on and get his fitness levels back. It's gonna take 90 minutes probably for him to get his full sharpness but once he does we all know what he can do. You look at him and Wazza [Wayne Rooney] and for me they're the two players that can really change a game and open up defences with a through pass or a bit of individual skill."
There has been a captain's role to play as well in helping to ensure that Cole, with his touchingly boyish enthusiasm for football, did not sprint before he could walk during a long and frustrating recovery period: "He wants to run round 100 miles an hour, fly into tackles and do what he was doing nine months earlier. It's important people like myself and Lamps [Frank Lampard] have a quiet word and calm him down, keep him on a leash a little bit, because he can be a bit of a nightmare."
Amid all the unhelpful managerial comings and goings, Terry believes that the squad may in the past have lost some of the togetherness of their most successful period under Jose Mourinho. But going into today's game at Tottenham with a 100 per cent record, he believes it has been restored.
"We spoke a couple of times over the last two or three years and felt that sort of desire and fight had gone a little bit, fighting for each other and covering. I think we lost that a little bit but we soon addressed it and we're looking like the old Chelsea."Reuse content