Both Englishmen are 33 years of age – one the current England captain and the other a former England captain but, for club, rather than country, which of the two legends epitomizes most aptly the one-club man?
John Terry was born in Barking in 1980 and joined Chelsea from West Ham’s youth academy at the age of 15. He has resided at Stamford Bridge for the last 18 years as one of the most influential players over the course of the Blues’ most successful era in the club’s history.
Terry has made 617 appearances and counting for the London giants and has led the club to three Premier League titles, five FA Cup wins, two League Cup tins, the Champions League title and the Europa League title. Individually, Terry has been awarded PFA Player of the Year in 2004/05.
Steven Gerrard signed for his hometown club in 1987 at the tender age of seven – the current Three Lions’ skipper was at the club back when the Reds won their last English league title 24 years ago in the 1989/90 First Division season under Kenny Dalglish. The skipper was at the club as a schoolboy when the Hillsborough disaster happened 25 years ago this month.
The No.8 has made 665 appearances and counting for Liverpool and scored an incredible 173 goals and has lead them to the summit of the Premier League this term with just four games left. He has never won the Premier League title but has won two FA Cup titles, three League Cup titles, the Champions League title, the UEFA Cup title and Super Cup title.
Individually, he has been awarded the Ballon d’Or Bronze in 2005, been named UEFA Club Footballer of the Year in 2005, won the FWA Footballer of the Year in 2009, the PFA Players’ Player of the Year in 2006, Young Player of the Year in 2001, Fans’ Player of the Year in 2001 and 2009, England Player of the Year in 2007 and 2012 and the FWA Tribute award in 2013. Gerrard is one of the universally most popular players in the world (evidenced by his IFFHS World’s Most Popular Footballer award in 2006) and undoubtedly one of the most talented midfielders of his generation.
For me, if I had to pick a favourite (as neither a Chelsea or Liverpool fan) I would have to pick Gerrard as the better or the two legends. Terry has been a marvelous captain and leader for the Blues but under much less trying and turbulent times – the financial advantage the Blues have had since the takeover by owner Roman Abramovich in 2004 has little to do with Terry but it must be acknowledged that Gerrard has remained a Red through and through over some of the club’s most testing years in the last quarter of a century.
Gerrard single-handedly won the Champions League title under Rafael Benitez back in 2005 and was appropriately named Man of the Match in the final in Istanbul. He has seen players come and go and has been the shining light during some of the club’s darkest days in recent memory.
Terry is undoubtedly a Blues legend and a fantastic defender but his conduct off the pitch also leaves some room for improvement – he has been embroiled in some of the ugliest football scandals of the Premier League era and whilst I couldn’t care less what he does in his private life, the racism row definitely tainted his reputation and took him off the pedestal he once presided on. Then again Gerrard has also had his moments - perhaps not as many as JT however.
John Terry has been one of the best defenders of his generation but, in terms of ability, Gerrard is the better player, technically and physically, and the Reds’ legend is every bit the role model and idol he is hailed as. There is simply no better example of the ‘one-club man’ than Steven Gerrard.