Terry 'angry at racial abuse claim'
14:32, 10 Jul 2012
John Terry reacted with anger at claims he racially abused footballer Anton Ferdinand, a court heard today.
The former England captain said he was hurt and shocked by suggestions he called Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand a "f****** black c***" during a Chelsea match against QPR on October 23 last year.
During his trial for a racially aggravated public order offence, which he denies, Terry listened to a Football Association interview he took part in shortly after the heated Premier League clash.
He told investigator Jennifer Kennedy that he believed Ferdinand shouted the words "black c***" at him during the game and understood the QPR player to be wrongly accusing him of shouting the slur.
Terry, 31, said: "I have been called a lot of things in my football career, and off the pitch, but being called a racist I am not prepared to take.
"That's why I came out and made my statement immediately. I am not having Anton thinking that about me or anyone else. That's not my character at all."
The players clashed in the QPR penalty area as Chelsea chased the game, one nil down and with just nine players.
Ferdinand admits shouting abuse at Terry over his alleged relationship with Wayne Bridge's girlfriend Vanessa Perroncel.
It was all "banter" but Terry was worried Ferdinand genuinely thought he had racially abused him so talked to him after the game, he said.
"I felt strongly about it and wanted to clear it up before I left the stadium or he got the chance to leave the stadium."
Part of the exchange was caught on camera - Terry said he was aware of how the CCTV looked to people who did not understand the context.
Terry said that after hearing Ferdinand say "black c***", he repeated the phrase and then called him a "f****** knobhead" for thinking he had originally said that.
Terry said he could not think of anything he said that would make the QPR player believe he had racially abused him.
"I know I have nothing to hide," he said.
He added that, with all the cameras and thousands of fans present, a player would not shout racist abuse across the pitch at someone.
He said of the accusation: "I was hurt by it, taken aback and really surprised."
He added: "It's something I took and didn't like it at all. I have never been accused of that before, inside or outside football.
"I took it to heart. If I had something to hide I wouldn't be projecting it in front of the Sky cameras and the people in the ground. I could have easily had my hand over my mouth or whispered in his ear."
The Chelsea captain acknowledged the footage "did not look good" but repeated that he had nothing to hide.
His representative, Keith Cousins, told the hearing that Terry was "rhetorically responding" to what he thought Ferdinand had accused him of.
"The important factor is what you thought you were being accused of," he said.
Racist language 'completely unacceptable' among footballers, says Terry
Terry, listening to the interview in the glass dock, said if the same thing happened again he would go straight to the referee.
He said whenever players sign for Chelsea, regardless of their colour, he accepts them, takes care of them and welcomes them into his home.
He told Ms Kennedy that after the game he was anxious to speak to Ferdinand and did so with his left-back team-mate, Ashley Cole.
He said: "I said 'Was you accusing me of calling you a black c***?' - my exact words - and he said 'No, not at all'.
"I said to him 'I thought you were accusing me of calling you a black c***'."
Terry then said "good" and that he did not want Ferdinand thinking he had racially abused him.
The defendant said he is frequently abused by fans and other players over his alleged relationship with Vanessa Perroncel - as are his family.
"As a footballer you have to take it on the chin a bit," he added.
In Terry's police interview on November 25 he told officers he shook some QPR players' hands after the game but not Ferdinand's.
He told detectives "industrial language" among footballers was unremarkable but using racist terms was "completely unacceptable".
Terry repeated to officers that he believed Ferdinand had shouted "black c***" at him and his response was: "F*** off, f*** off, yeah, yeah, black c***, f****** knobhead...
"He was being a knobhead for alleging I had."
The court also heard that Terry had worked with former Chelsea captain Marcel Desailly and striker Didier Drogba's African charities.
It emerged today that the only person who initially complained to police about Terry was an off-duty police officer watching the game on television.
Running through a police log, Terry's QC George Carter-Stephenson said that four days after the match, which was watched by more than two million, a note was made saying it was "highly unlikely Anton Ferdinand or any other QPR staff likely to assist with providing statements".
On November 4, one of Mr Ferdinand's camp told police "he didn't see why" he should be involved and "any jury can make up their own mind".
But soon after, Mr Ferdinand's public relations agent Justin Rigby began pushing the police to charge Terry, Mr Carter-Stephenson said.
Cross examining the investigating officer Detective Constable David Doherty, the barrister said if Terry was not charged, Mr Rigby was planning to advise his player to take civil action against Terry and take the issue to the media.
Mr Rigby told the officer that with no action it would appear that it was a black man's word against a white man's.
Mr Doherty denied Mr Rigby was pushing him to charge Terry, as the decision to bring charges is made by the Crown Prosecution Service.
Mr Carter-Stephenson said: "You couldn't get to Mr Ferdinand unless through Mr Rigby?"
The officer answered: "Or his mother."
This morning's session ended with Mr Carter-Stephenson applying to the district judge, chief magistrate Howard Riddle, to dismiss the case.
The barrister said Ferdinand was an unreliable witness and the lip reading experts agreed it was impossible to clarify what was said at the key moment from the footage.
He said the case was "so weak and tenuous it does not warrant it going any further".