John Terry has admitted that he broke down in tears with the rest of his Chelsea team-mates after learning of Jose Mourinho’s sacking in 2007.
Mourinho was drafted in to replace Claudio Ranieri in the Stamford Bridge hot seat back in 2004, after guiding an unfancied Porto side to Champions League glory.
The Portuguese famously dubbed himself “the special one” in his first press conference for the Blues, and backed up his comments by transforming the team into the dominant force in English football.
Terry recalls being overcome with emotion after being told a “father figure” was leaving the club, and says he and a few others pleaded with the board to reverse their decision.
The ex-Chelsea defender told Sky Sports:
“We were all in tears. It was one of those moments where there were whispers going around, we weren’t performing as well, we weren’t doing as well in the league, and then he came in and said: ‘That’s it, I’ve been sacked.’ He went around and gave everyone a hug and a cuddle.
“Full-grown men crying their eyes out. We were thinking: ‘Where do we go from here?’ We had someone like a father figure, guiding us.
“We actually spoke to the board and said: ‘Listen, we want him to stay, can we not bring him back? It’s a rash decision, he’s the best we’ve worked with.’
“Unfortunately, they’d made their decision. But yes, there were full-grown men in absolute tears.
“He was so demanding on the group, and he pushed us to our limits at times. It’s not until you finish playing that you realise why he did what he did.”
Terry added on Mourinho’s unique connection with the entire Chelsea squad:
“You’d be sitting there at 8pm at night, and you’d get a message from him: ‘How’s Toni and the kids? Tell Georgie and Summer I love them! How is school going?’ I thought, my god, I’ve never had that from a manager.
“I’d get in and sit next to Lamps and say: ‘Lamps I got a message from the manager last night,’ thinking I’m the special one. Lamps would say: ‘Yeah, so did I’, and Didier would say the same!
“Every now and again I’ll get a message or a picture or a video from him, just saying hello to the kids. My kids absolutely idolise him. And that’s because of the connect he has, that people probably don’t see from the outside world.”