CHELSEA skipper John Terry last night broke his silence to thank “every single fan” who has rallied around him after the most turbulent week of his career.
Terry was stripped of the England captaincy on Friday following a series of allegations about his private life in the tabloid press.
But the defender was given a hero’s welcome at Stamford Bridge on Sunday as Chelsea beat title rivals Arsenal and, in his first interview since the controversy, he paid tribute to the Blues faithful.
“On a personal note I would like to thank every single fan,” said Terry, who saluted all four stands of the stadium and threw his shirt into the crowd following the 2-0 win over the Gunners.
“It was an emotional day for myself and how the fans have been with me over the last two weeks has been quite incredible.
“I didn’t expect that and I would like to thank every single individual fan for the way they treated me. It was a great performance and, I mean it from my heart, I would like to thank everyone.”
Chelsea supporters relentlessly chanted Terry’s name during the Arsenal clash, wore T-shirts in his honour and unfurled flags praising their defensive linchpin. The 29-year-old responded by heading down a corner for Didier Drogba to score the first of his two goals that left Arsenal nine points behind the Blues.
Terry suffered a dead leg towards the end of the match and needed heavy strapping to complete the 90 minutes. He did not train yesterday because of the problem but is expected to recover for tomorrow’s trip to Everton.
He is then expected to miss the weekend FA Cup visit of Cardiff on Saturday, in order to fly to Dubai to see his wife and two children, who fled there last week after claims Terry had an affair with the ex-girlfriend of former Chelsea team-mate Wayne Bridge.
Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech, meanwhile, has declared Arsenal’s title hopes dead and buried after their weekend defeat.
He said: “I think we have cut off Arsenal with this win and they will find it only very difficult to erase the nine-point gap at this stage of season, especially with the tough games they are going to play yet.”