John Terry hires Stamford Bridge for Chelsea farewell
Blues legend is expected to leave the club at the end of the season, but is suspended for the final game against Leicester
John Terry's red card against Sunderland on Saturday has brought what appears to be his final season at Chelsea to a sudden end and means he will not get to say a proper farewell to the fans at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
Terry is expected to leave the Blues at the end of the season after the club announced in January that they would not offer him a new contract, even though he has made it clear he wants to stay.
It means that his time at the club will end in "ignominious fashion" after 21 years, says the London Evening Standard, with the skipper sitting out the final match of a dispiriting campaign against newly crowned champions Leicester City on the final day and only joining his team-mates after the final whistle has blown.
Terry famously wore full kit, including shin-pads, to join in the club's celebrations after Chelsea won the Champions League in 2012, even though he also missed that game through suspension. Many fans are speculating whether he will do the same this weekend.
However, although his Chelsea career may be over, he has not played his final game in west London, reports the Daily Telegraph. "Terry will still play on the Stamford Bridge turf for one last time after hiring the stadium for a specially arranged match with his closest friends next Monday – the day after Chelsea's final game of the season against Leicester City," it says.
"Chelsea have agreed to give Terry the club's stadium for free as part of a series of gestures that will be made to the 35-year-old. Together with being able to play on the pitch, the Stamford Bridge package that Terry has taken up for his big goodbye includes dressing rooms, match officials, use of the dug-outs, access to stadium screens and public address system, and a barbecue."
Whether he is in peak condition for the kick-around remains to be seen. The paper notes that a special party is being planned in his honour at the ground's nightclub, Under the Bridge, following the Leicester match.