Chelsea captain John Terry to be honoured at London Football Awards
LONDON -- Chelsea captain John Terry will be recognised for his "outstanding contribution" to London football at a prestigious awards ceremony next month.
Terry has been selected as this year's recipient of the leading honour handed out at the London Football Awards, to be held at Battersea Evolution, marking an 18-year professional career that has seen him become the most decorated captain in Chelsea's history and also wear the England armband.
Earlier this month Terry told reporters that he expects to leave Stamford Bridge at the end of the season after Chelsea declined to offer him a contract extension, though the Premier League champions insist that "channels of dialogue" will remain open with the 35-year-old over his future.
Terry is a divisive figure among football supporters due to a string of on and off-field controversies throughout his career but Bob Wilson, founder of Willow Foundation, the organising charity behind the awards, believes the Chelsea captain's longevity and achievements nevertheless merit special recognition.
"People only read the bad publicity about him," Wilson told the Evening Standard. "I'm sure it concerns him but the John Terry I know loves football, is desperate to get everything he can out of it and has inspired his teammates as one of game's finest leaders, comparable with Tony Adams.
"He has always been very humble and gracious with me and he is a hugely deserving winner. Sometimes we get clouded by off-field activities but his commitment to one club for so long is a rare thing in an age when so many footballers fail to show that kind of loyalty.
"His contract expires at the end of the season and it would be a mistake not to give him an extension."
There are seven awards to be handed out in total, headlined by the London Premier League Player of the Year that will be contested by Harry Kane, Dimitri Payet, Willian, Odion Ighalo and Mesut Ozil. Dele Alli is the overwhelming favourite to claim the London Young Player of the Year gong ahead of teammate Eric Dier and Hector Bellerin.
Jose Mourinho has been overlooked for the London Manager of the Year shortlist after leaving Chelsea for the second time in December, while Mauricio Pochettino, Arsene Wenger, Quique Sanchez Flores and Slaven Bilic have made the cut.
Awards and Nominees in full
Premier League Player of the Year: Harry Kane (Tottenham), Dimitri Payet (West Ham), Willian (Chelsea), Odion Ighalo (Watford), Mesut Ozil (Arsenal).
London Young Player of the Year (Under 23): Dele Alli, Eric Dier (both Tottenham), Hector Bellerin (Arsenal), Ademola Lookman (Charlton), Moussa Dembele (Fulham).
London Manager of the Year: Mauricio Pochettino (Tottenham), Arsene Wenger (Arsenal), Quique Sanchez Flores (Watford), Slaven Bilic (West Ham).
London Goalkeeper of the Year: Adrian (West Ham), Petr Cech (Arsenal), Hugo Lloris (Tottenham), Heurelho Gomes (Watford).
Football League Player of the Year: Dembele, Ross McCormack (both Fulham), Alan Judge (Brentford), Jay Simpson (Leyton Orient), Matt Phillips (QPR).
London Women's Player of the Year: Eni Aluko, Katie Chapman, Fran Kirby (all Chelsea), Casey Stoney, Leah Williamson (both Arsenal).
London Community Project of the Year (sponsored by Toscafund): Brentford: Deaf Sports Plus Project; Arsenal: Freedom from Torture; West Ham: Moore Family Foundation Project.