England and Chelsea football captain John Terry faced the scorn of the terraces in his first public appearance after allegations that he cheated on his wife with a former team-mate's girlfriend.
Terry led the Chelsea team to victory at Burnley on Saturday, refusing to comment further on claims that he had betrayed wife Toni by having an affair with the French underwear model Vanessa Perroncel, then the partner of the former Chelsea defender Wayne Bridge.
The claims were made public after Terry and his legal team failed in an attempt to use a “super injunction” to suppress details of the allegations.
It was also claimed last night that within weeks of embarking upon the affair in the autumn of last year, Terry got Ms Perroncel pregnant. The Sunday Mirror claimed the centre-back arranged for her to have an abortion at an exclusive clinic where she was smuggled in by a side door.
The player, named ‘Dad of the Year’ in 2009, faced abuse from the crowd as it chanted “Same old Terry — always cheating”. He then silenced the crowd with the winning goal. His club, which described the incident as a “personal matter”, insisted he had its full support.
According to the bookmakers, Terry remains favourite to captain England at the World Cup this summer, but that will be decided by the England manager Fabio Capello. But experts warned that his earning potential may also be affected. Ben Hatton, chief executive of the sponsorship specialists Alexander Ross Limited, said: “Damage to his reputation will impact on his value. He will have to work harder to demonstrate that he will bring value to a brand.”
Terry, who has an estimated personal wealth of almost £17m, has sponsorship deals with Umbro, Samsung, Nationwide and Pro Evolution Soccer. Their silence was deafening as all refused to comment except Nationwide, which stressed that it sponsors the England team and not Terry himself.
The allegations about Terry's private life came to light after a gagging order was lifted by Mr Justice Tugendhat at the High Court in London on Friday.
One of the country's leading football agents told The Independent on Sunday: “In terms of sponsors the judge was damning of him and his motives, and that will clearly have an effect; you just have to look at what happened to Tiger Woods.
“The wisdom of those who made him captain in the first place should come under review. There are quite a lot of doubts that should have been expressed.” Ms Perroncel, who is the mother of Bridge's child, has hired the publicist Max Clifford as an adviser. He said last night: “She's clearly been upset by the whole thing and I think she might want to clear her name.”
Terry's wife Toni Poole, the mother of his twin children Georgie and Summer, has not spoken publicly.
Bridge, who now plays for Manchester City, said in a statement via his lawyer: “I have read the press reporting in the last two days. The reports deal with matters which are of a deeply personal and private nature. My primary concern is the welfare of my son.
“Therefore, I intend to make no comment either now or in the future about these reports.”
Terry has previously faced accusations of infidelity and was also investigated over claims he took £10,000 to give private tours of Chelsea's training ground.
Chelsea accepted that Terry did not receive cash in exchange for the tour.
Terry refused to comment at the weekend as he signed autographs on leaving the team hotel to head for the Burnley match.
Chelsea's assistant boss Ray Wilkins defended his inclusion.
“John has got his football head on ... he is a fantastic professional as far as the footballing side of his life is concerned. He's done wonderfully well for us,” he said
The Football Association also refused to comment on the case.