IN A week when political issues in this country elicited any number of contrasting opinions came the resurrection of a story which invariably splits Cherries supporters’ views.

A national newspaper reported Eddie Howe was on the verge of concluding a deal to bring John Terry to Dean Court.

Terry, in common with every political heavyweight, stirs people’s emotions. His disciples adore the former England defender, every bit as in thrall to his warrior qualities as the British public were to Winston Churchill for his wartime leadership.

Those not so taken by Terry tend to deliver an all-out character assassination to express their distaste for a man who plainly could not care less what anyone thinks of him.

Actually, what Eddie Howe thinks of Terry is the only matter of relevance for Cherries.

If the boss does not want to sign the centre-half, debate about his merits as an individual and a player become moot, in this part of the country at least.

Equally, should Howe decide Terry could add value to his squad, the discussion stops there.

The Cherries boss has his football ideals and holds them dear. But all managers are pragmatists at heart. They want to win... because their livelihood depends on it.

Forget the hot air about Terry’s strong personality and sometimes controversial past. The opposition to any possible move for him centres on his age.

If we were talking about Cherries going after vintage John Terry, not many fans would give two hoots if he demanded a Red Arrows flypast to celebrate his every appearance.

This, then, is really a wider argument about the wisdom of recruiting players in the autumn of their careers.

A manager needs to be guided by his instincts in this particular market. For every Gary McAllister, after all, there is a Rio Ferdinand.

Brilliant former Manchester United defender Ferdinand was fighting a losing battle against the ravages of time when he joined QPR, aged 35, in 2014, only nobody had realised it, least of all the player himself.

Ferdinand was a husk of the superlative performer who had won six Premier League titles and one Champions League at Manchester United, seemingly forever trapped in a psychological refractory period as strikers he would once have dominated ran wild.

It was like watching Muhammad Ali get beaten up by Trevor Berbick.

McAllister was also 35 when he signed for Liverpool in 2000 – and the midfielder proved something of a phenomenon at Anfield.

He was integral to the club wining the UEFA Cup, FA Cup and League Cup in his first season, leaving manager Gerard Houllier to rank the Scot as his “most inspirational signing”.

When Houllier took a punt on McAllister he could at least secure peace of mind from the fact the ‘old man’ was still excelling in the Premier League for Coventry.

Terry’s current condition represents a great unknown. He scarcely featured for Chelsea as the Stamford Bridge club regained the title last season. When he did come into the side it was in low-pressure situations – and he struggled.

Nevertheless, it is unfair to expect any player – five Premier League titles, one Champions League, five FA Cups and 78 England caps to his name, or not – to instantly find his match legs after sitting idle for weeks on end.

One facet of Terry’s persona that turns people off him is his perceived hubris. There is no questioning his confidence and pride, and those two traits contributed significantly to him becoming such an imperious defender.

His self-esteem, though, would surely compel Terry to walk away from the game if he feared being exposed at the top level.

Gary Neville, a similarly competitive beast, decided to retire halfway through a match for Manchester United against West Brom in 2011. He was, in his own words, making unheralded Baggies winger Jerome Thomas “look like Ronaldo”.

Peak Neville would not have given Thomas a kick.

This breed of footballer – men who live for defending and consider every goal conceded a personal slight – is slowly dying out. In Steve Cook, though, Cherries are lucky to have one such figure. He told the Echo last month that sharing a dressing room with “inspirational” Terry would amount to a footballing education.

That observation served to underline the respect Terry commands among his peers. Whatever your view on the self-indulgent way he brought down the curtain on his Chelsea career, his team-mates clearly held him in the highest regard.

If Eddie Howe thinks John Terry is right for Cherries then, frankly, John Terry is right for Cherries.

If he doesn’t, well, it’s a conversation point to take our minds off the country descending into turmoil.