There will be a void of character and admiration at Stamford Bridge this summer. The most successful captain in Chelsea's history will leave the club and affectively close an incredible chapter in the club's history.
Despite being a controversial figure outside West London, with many football fans being happy to see the back of Terry, he has left a hole in the Premier League too. The thing about John Terry is that he was more than a captain. He was Chelsea FC. No man is bigger than the club but there are certain players who can become more than a star player. They are a symbol of the club. They can epitomise a team, its manager and its fans, through the good and the bad times. John Terry is Chelsea.
When you look at the rest of the Premier League, how many other teams can truly say that about one of their players? The league is bulging with stars, but there is a very big difference between someone who is your best player, to someone the fans can count as one of their own. That particular player doesn't have to be the club captain, Chelsea also had Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba, they just need to be a perfect representative of the club. Just like the Pope being God's representative on Earth for Catholics, John Terry was Chelsea's chosen son.
The trend started a few years back when Jamie Carragher left Liverpool. Soon after Mr Liverpool himself Steven Gerrard called it day. Over in Manchester we have seen Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs do the same, with the latter now in the dug out. As for Arsenal, have they had a true icon since Thierry Henry?
I know it is very difficult to replace quality players, let alone club legends. So you may be thinking 'that's all well and good but have we just been through a really good patch of these types of players?' Well the answer is no. Look at the teams mentioned already. Before Terry Chelsea had Dennis Wise and Zola, Liverpool had Fowler, Dalglish, Souness and Manchester United have a long list of these types of player dating back to the early days of the Premier League. As for Arsenal, Patrick Vieira, Tony Adams, David Seamen. You get the point.
'Ok fair enough, but this has happened before and someone ends up becoming the new legend of the club so there are players out there who will take up this status'. Again I am not so sure. You look at not just the big teams, but all the teams in the Premier League and you will struggle to think of a player you can say is as big as the club they represent.
Looking at the traditionally 'bigger' teams, Arsenal are still looking for that someone (Jack Wilshire could be that player if he wasn't always injured). Chelsea will probably give the armband to Hazard next season, a great player for Chelsea but regarded nowhere near as favourable as the previous captain. Garry Cahill was meant to fit this mould but has not quite made that step up.
Who would have thought that 10 years after Liverpool won the Champions League, Jordan Henderson would be their captain. I have nothing against Henderson, he is turning into a pretty good player but do young Liverpool fans dream of becoming the next Jordan Henderson?
Now the Manchester clubs have a small case that this type of player has not gone forever. Wayne Rooney is becoming the talisman for United. Whether it is because he has stepped up to his role as captain, for club and country, or whether the lack of talent around him has propelled him to this status is up for debate but Rooney is becoming a club legend. Now for City, they have two players who when you think of Man City, you think of these two rocks. And no one of them isn't an Argentinian striker. Sergio Aguero is a superstar and will go down in folklore for that goal that won them the title in 2012, but has he become a true representative of the club? For me these two players or Joe Hart and Vincent Kompany. It isn't always about your best player. Kompany and Hart are two players you can see staying at the club for not just the rest of their playing days but long after.
Elsewhere in the league the only names that come close to being a club icon are Ryan Shawcross of Stoke, Sunderland's Lee Cattermole (sometimes for the wrong reasons), West Ham fan and now captain Mark Noble and Troy Deeney at Watford. It would be up to the fans to decide if this is true but from an outsider that is all I can think of. One for the future could well be England's latest messiah Harry Kane of Tottenham Hotspur.
This is what we have been left with. The merry-go-round of managers and the billions poured in to getting star players to play in the Premier League has now affected the type of player we see playing every week. What fans and viewers are getting is entertaining to the eye, but severely lacks in heart. The Premier League is temporarily out of heroes.