70 days ago today I stared in disbelief at Sky Sports Breaking News, Rafa Benitez has been appointed as Chelsea’s interim manager until the end of the season and it still has not fully sunk in that he is in charge.
The enemy had been appointed. A man who uttered the words, “I would never take that job, in respect for my former team at Liverpool, no matter what. For me there is only one club in England, and that’s Liverpool.” Funny how after two years, presumably waiting tables, he jumped at the chance to take the reins. Why? For his own personal gain, to get himself back in the spotlight, not to help Chelsea.
Now slating an opposition club is one thing, many managers do it, its mind games. It might mean that we have a dislike for said manager, but if they are an Alex Ferguson or someone of that ilk, we know why they are doing it. Getting their fans onside, getting players motivated, maybe even out of a slight fear of the opposition. As opposition fans we respect that. Only one manager I can ever remember has personally attacked a fan base. Back we are to Rafa Bentiez and his attack on our fans, “We don’t need to give away flags for our fans to wave – our supporters are always there with their hearts, and that is all we need. It’s the passion of the fans that helps to win matches – not flags.” Heat of the moment comment? Oh no. Not only did he say this, he then thought about what he said, liked it, had it made into a plaque which still hangs proudly on the wall at Melwood, Liverpools training ground! Now he wants us to cheer for him!?
As hypercritical as Benitez is for taking the job the Chelsea board must have had a discussion about Rafa and decided it was a good idea. It’s worrying how little they must know about their own fans to have come to the conclusion that Benitez would be the best appointment. Did no one say, oh hang on, don’t our fans hate him? Anyone Chelsea, anyone else, maybe Kenny Daglish excluded, would have done. Alan Curbishley, Gianfranco Zola, even Andrey Shevchenko, I would have been disappointed to see RDM leave but I would have at least accepted his replacement. What did sacking RDM even achieve? Scaring away potential top class managers is the only thing I can see has changed.
For the first 3 matches, Benitez wore a red tie! Fans of other clubs might think so what? I took that as an insult.
70 days on and to the present, have we had an apology for Benitez’s comments made 5 years ago? No. Instead we have had him say ‘I’d love to stay for longer’, despite the torrent of abuse he receives every match. Really? You know we hate you but you want to stay? Chelsea could put a swift end to the chants with a one sentence statement. “Chelsea can confirm today that Rafa Bentiez will not be appointed on a permanent basis” I guarantee the mood of the fans would change. Personally I don’t even want him out now, we’d be a laughing stock, end of the season is fine.
So whats the point of the title of my piece? Yesterday I found an article on a big football website, from a Chelsea supporting journalist saying please support Rafa, give him a chance, it is affecting the team performances. Good! We’re getting our point across well if that’s the case. Is it just me who is a little pleased we’re playing badly? More chance of Rafa leaving!
I’m also sick to death of journalists thinking we are booing because of results and tactics, Big Phil had poor results, do I hate him? No. If that was the case, why did we boo before we’d kicked a ball under his charge? His baffling tactics, substitutions and the on pitch shambles is I’m sure not helping with the level of abuse, but I would not want him as our manager if we went on to win the League, Cup and Europa League.
I keep praying that Roman is sharper than a needle with lemon juice on the end and this is a tactic to swap Rafa with a Special manager at the end of the season, because if the nightmare was to happen and Rafa was to stay, I’m not sure I could face going to the Bridge again till he’s gone …