After spending four years at West Ham’s academy, Terry joined the Blues in 1995, going on to make his first-team debut for Chelsea three years later.
Over the following two decades, Terry established himself as one of Chelsea’s greatest-ever players and a Premier League legend.
He made more than 700 appearances for the Blues and finished his remarkable career with five Premier League titles, five FA Cups and the Champions League.
While Chelsea were a major force in England and Europe by the end of Terry’s career, they were far more inconspicuous when he first burst onto the scene.
In fact, Terry says that Chelsea – like most clubs at the time – were still outdated off the pitch in terms of fitness, nutrition and professionalism.
That changed, Terry says, when football legends Gianfranco Zola, Ruud Gullit and Gianluca Vialli arrived at Stamford Bridge across two summers in 1995 and 1996.
‘Compared to what it’s like today, it [the professionalism of players] is black and white, complete opposites,’ Terry said during a conversation with the former England cricketer Kevin Pietersen on the platform Unacademy.
‘[At the start of my career] we would finish training and go upstairs and have burger and chips or sausage and mash. It was just a couple of ladies who lived by the training ground who would cook the food.
‘There was no nutritional aspect. You would finish training, leave straightaway and be home by 1pm.
‘They took it to another level and I was really lucky to be around those players at that stage of my career.
‘Gianfranco would get in two hours before anyone else, he would go to the gym for a weight session, he would stretch for two hours after training.
‘He would eat the right food and those guys just took it to another level and it’s probably gone on another five or six levels from there to where we are today.’
Zola quickly developed into a fans’ favourite at Chelsea and scored 80 goals for the club and starred in two FA Cup wins before returning to Italy.
Gullit and Vialli had less substantial spells at Stamford Bridge but still managed to endear themselves to Blues fans, with the former in charge of the team for the FA Cup win in 1997 and the latter featuring from the bench.