It was sad but inevitable, that this morning, the powers that be have decided to sack Di Matteo. We are all disappointed with last night and with the last few weeks, but this was only a blip! We were unlucky to lose to Man United and should have beaten Liverpool. Admittedly though, the last 2 games have been poor.

When Di Matteo took over last season, we were already out of the title race. His 3 objectives were to win the two tournaments we were still involved in and ensure that we were playing Champions League football this season. He achieved all of these things! He did this by winning us the tournament that managerial powerhouses like Ancelotti and Mourinho could not win with us, and they had more than one attempt and did not pick up the campaign mid-season with a 3-1 deficit to overturn! I know that there were elements of luck involved with last season and I know that he is not one of the best managers in the world yet. However, I think he deserved at least another season. At the very least, he should have been given until February or March, which were the months both Scolari and AVB got the boot. I guess the difference is that they made it through the group stages! They were both very close to going out, with us needing to win our last home game to get through in both 2008 and 2011. I think they would have been instantly fired though, to be fair, had they fallen at that hurdle.

I remember thinking after our win in Munich, even though I wanted him to stay, he should probably leave now. He could have left as the hero and gone and walked into another big job. This was because I knew, like everyone else did, that he would leave on a bad note if he stayed – there is no other way at this club! As it turned out, he left after an awful night in Juventus; when our Champions league fate slipped out of our own hands for the first time in history! This is a real shame for everyone. The frustrating thing is, we were put in a really tough group this season. When you compare our group with the likes of Manchester United and Arsenal, you realise how unkind the draw was to us. Even with our tough group, we will more than likely finish with 10 points, usually enough to go through.

I genuinely believed that Di Matteo could help us challenge for the title this season. The way Mata, Hazard and Oscar have gelled has been really exciting and our attacking football has been amazing to watch at times. Sadly though, we have had a soft belly this season and have been getting exposed recently. I think in the last week, as we slipped 4 points behind Man City, Abramovich sensed the gap from last season opening up again and that made his decision even easier after last night.

It is amazing how quickly things are forgotten! The back end of last season was absolutely incredible! It provided game after game of amazing performances and results. Home to Napoli, away in Benfica, Wembley against Spurs, the win at home to Barca, the astonishing events in the Nou Camp, beating Liverpool in the F.A Cup final, and finally the biggest night in our history, in Munich! Di Matteo led us through all of those games and for that, he cannot and will not ever be forgotten!

Roberto Di Matteo, Thank you:

Thank you for scoring ‘that’ goal after 43 seconds, to help win us our first trophy for 27 years, kick-starting the last 15 years of glory which you capped so perfectly last season.

Thank you for your extra-time goal in the 1998 League cup final

Thank you for your winning goal in the last ever F.A Cup final at Wembley

Thank you for dedicating the best part of your career to us and still wanting to be a part of the club afterwards, even as an assistant.

Thank you for the 2 most incredible months of my life last season.

I wanted to call this article ‘Thank you, Roberto – F**k off Benitez’ but I am scared of being too vocal in my hatred for him. I will have to somehow support him, if the very likely event of him joining us occurs.

Some bookmakers are offering 1/5 this morning that he will be our next manager – this is awfully, awfully concerning. I know that I am not the only one who feels this way! Our fans made it very clear how we felt about Benitez last season.

You are not wanted here, Benitez. Stay away!

Will you be placing a bet on the result of Benitez’s first few games? Maybe a safer way to spend your money would be to go for a few games of poker at

Nathan O’Neill

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