Bridge Banter: We all have to start somewhere, just ask Chelsea skipper John Terry

Ball boy to club legend: John Terry is part of the 5 per cent to make the grade as a professional footballer

Ball boy to club legend: John Terry is part of the 5 per cent to make the grade as a professional footballer

First published in Sport Wandsworth Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , Sports Editor

I suppose we all have to start somewhere. It’s just a shame that most young players will not make the big time.

Dons boss Neal Ardley once told me that up to 95 per cent of a club’s U18 set-up will not make it as a professional.

That is not particularly encouraging, admittedly, but it does leave 5 per cent, and when the very best in the country talk about their own time dreaming of success, even the most pessimistic trialist can have hope.

That’s what John Terry has done.

The Chelsea skipper returned to his old stomping ground Kingsmeadow last weekend in a 3-2 friendly win against AFC Wimbledon – where he even capped a nostalgic trip down memory lane with two goals after coming off the bench.

Terry played as a Chelsea youngster at Kingsmeadow in the late 1990s trying to catch the eye, and he was even a ball boy at the ground when the Chelsea reserves played their home games there.

He said: “When we were trainees we had to be around certain sections of the stadium and as soon as the ball went over the top of one of the stands, away you go.”

And where is he now?

Chelsea skipper with more than 600 appearances and 57 goals to his name.

Former England captain, with 78 international caps and six goals.

Three Premier League titles, five FA Cup winner’s medals and a Champions League winner’s medal (of sorts).

Numerous red top scandals, a super-injunction, an FA ban and fine... well, not everything runs smoothly.

But Terry is proof that dreams can come true with hard work and application.

There may only be a 5 per cent chance of success, but that is better odds than winning the lottery, better odds than being struck by lightning, better odds than dying in an asteroid apocalypse.

So, pull on your boots, and do it – you never know.

 

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