FORMER Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho and current team-mate Ashley Cole defended John Terry in court yesterday as the ex-England captain denied racially abusing QPR footballer Anton Ferdinand.
Mourinho, now in charge of Real Madrid, did not appear in person on day three of the high-profile trial at Westminster Magistrates Court but submitted a sworn statement that was read aloud.
The Portuguese coach said: “I never once witnessed any demonstration of racism or racial abuse or behaviour. I am certain that John Terry is not a racist.”
Terry is accused of calling Ferdinand a “f****** black c***” during Chelsea’s 1-0 Premier League defeat to QPR at Loftus Road in a west London derby on 23 October 2011.
He denies committing a racially aggravated public order offence. If found guilty, he faces a fine of up to £2,500 but is not at risk of jail. A verdict is expected tomorrow.
Cole became the highest profile witness to be called when he appeared in Court One, where he declared the case should not have gone this far. “I think we shouldn’t be sitting here,” he said.
Former Chelsea assistant Ray Wilkins testified that, in his experience, Terry had “not once” reacted to provocation, while Blues chairman Bruce Buck said the player had “almost uncanny mental strength”.
Earlier prosecutor Duncan Penny QC submitted that Terry, 31, had rushed out a statement just hours after the alleged incident because he knew he had “crossed the line”.
Penny said: “You’ve stuck with this story since you put it out in the press and cannot back down.”
Terry said he had addressed the nascent controversy swiftly because he felt he had nothing to hide. The case continues.