‘Other players like Lamps didn’t get the send-off they deserved’: John Terry says his bizarre guard of honour 26 minutes into Chelsea’s game against Sunderland in 2017 was one of the ‘favourite moments’ in his career
- John Terry received a guard of honour in the last match of his Chelsea career
- The defender was replaced after 26 minutes of the win over Sunderland in 2017
- Chelsea had already won the Premier League title ahead of the final day
- The former England captain admitted the strange swap was a career highlight
John Terry has admitted that the controversial guard of honour during his final Chelsea match was one of the best moments of his career.
The ex-Blues captain was substituted after just 26 minutes – the same figure as his squad number – during the final match of the 2016-17 Premier League season against Sunderland and his team-mates clapped him off the pitch in two lines.
Chelsea had already won the title by that point and had a FA Cup final against Arsenal a week later, but Terry’s moment of glory received a mixed reception despite the good-feeling in the air.
John Terry claimed his guard of honour in his last Chelsea game was a career highlight
Terry even added that he was happy he got a send-off after fellow Chelsea legend Frank Lampard was not given one during his Stamford Bridge exit in 2014.
Lampard, who is now the Blues head coach, was in a running feud with then-boss Jose Mourinho and was not given a guard of honour after 211 goals in 648 matches.
Speaking about his own tribute with Kevin Pietersen on the Unacademy platform, Terry said: ‘It’s one of the favourite moments of my career. I remember other players like Lamps didn’t get the send-off they deserved so I was happy to go out how I wanted.
Terry (right) was delighted as not even record goalscorer Frank Lampard (left) got a tribute
Terry waved goodbye to life at Stamford Bridge after the Blues won the 2016-17 top-flight title
‘(Antonio) Conte told me I could play the match but we came to an agreement that I would play for 26 minutes and that would allow Cahill to keep his rhythm ahead of the final the next weekend.’
Despite lifting the Premier League title at the end of the campaign, Terry played just nine times under then-head coach Conte that season, with defenders Cesar Azpilicueta, David Luiz and vice-captain Gary Cahill preferred to the ex-England skipper.
Despite the lack of performances, Terry claimed he would not have wanted to end his Stamford Bridge career in any other way.
He added: ‘I didn’t play much that season because Antonio Conte came in and we were playing three at the back.
Terry (second right) lifted the trophy with vice-captain Gary Cahill (second left) on the final day
‘I was coming to the end but we won the league which was fantastic for me. I wanted a proper send-off and Conte and Gary Cahill were excellent with me.’
While the Blues won 5-1 against Sunderland that day, Chelsea went on to lose the FA Cup final on the following weekend to Arsenal, with Terry was an unused substitute at Wembley that day.
The defender then left to join Aston Villa in the Championship, but suffered another Wembley heartbreak as his new side lost the play-off final to Fulham in May 2018.
That game was his last in professional football, with the ex-England man now the assistant coach to Dean Smith at Villa Park.