Betrayal and bombast: the surreal story of the Terry v Bridge scandal | Jonathan Liew

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More than a decade on, fact and fiction remain entangled in the tale of former teammates turned enemies. The human core of the entire episode, though, is not a footballer

Officially, nothing happened. This is, by the way, no minor detail: to this day Vanessa Perroncel fervently denies that any affair took place between her and John Terry in late 2009, and she has the printed apologies and legal documents to back it up. Normally this bit is begrudgingly buried at the bottom of the piece. But it’s worth dwelling on, if only because it forces us to confront the vast, incalculable gulf between what we definitively know and what, over the years, we’ve simply assumed.

A decade on, fact and fiction remain knottily entangled. Over time, the story of how Terry and his former friend and Chelsea teammate Wayne Bridge found themselves at the centre of one of English football’s most hysterical scandals begins to feel surreal, perhaps even a touch unreal: a bad memory that most would prefer to pretend never happened.

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