I honestly believed that we would win against West Ham, despite Benitez being at the helm. We haven’t lost to them in nearly ten years and to put it bluntly, our players are simply much better than theirs. I thought this would relieve the pressure a bit all round, and given a few favourable results elsewhere, a few wins here and there we could perhaps free-wheel our way to the end of the season relatively unscathed, perhaps not in a Champions League place, but hey, that’s not a given as we all know.
I also honestly believed that we would perhaps benefit from the “new manager effect”, in the short term at least. Most clubs do – a woeful run of games, new man comes in – any man, and there are almost always an initial run of wins. This has not happened in our case and I think the stuttering results will continue.
Put aside what I feel personally about Benitez, the fact of the matter is that he has been out of top flight management for two years. Two years is a long time – as demonstrated on how he was out-thought by Sam Allardyce of all people. When any new manager takes over at a club, it is difficult enough to take stock of the players, decide on how/if they will fit in with your formations and style of play. But if you have been out of the game for two years, it will take time to get back into the routine, to get into that way of thinking again – get your “game-head” on as it were. Which, by the way, makes the appointment of Bolo Zenden even more bizarre – couldn’t we have got someone with even a smidge of experience?
Is that really the best they could do in terms of “quick, this appointment isn’t going to go down well – let’s get an ex-player to pacify the great unwashed to be his assistant”? If it is, then they really are more out of touch than even I thought they were.
As bad as things are on the pitch (shambolic is the word I’d use) – sadly things are as bad within the ranks of the supporters. The majority of the regular match-going fans seem to be hard-core against Benitez. Yet more banners and chanting against him at Upton Park, and now also questioning the owner – if ever there was a time he needed to speak publicly to the fans – this is it. He won’t of course.
But equally there are fans who think that we should back the manager no matter what – that by not backing the manager you are not backing the team. They are of course entitled to their opinion, but it is not one I share. I think the two can be mutually exclusive, however, not everyone feels the same and there were the beginnings of scuffles amongst the fans on Saturday at West Ham. This is a crying shame as all just want what they feel is best for our team.
There are very few “football people” in the upper echelons of our club, so I do not think they can expect nor deserve the full confidence of the supporters. The fact that such an inexperienced individual such as Emenalo seems to hold such a powerful position is enough to make me doubt the credentials of those doing the hiring and firing.
I also believe that as stated previously the fans should not choose the manager, to go expressly against them and wilfully put in place something/someone that they aggressively object to – well, then you need to be prepared for the ramifications. We fans not only pay our money and have done so for years – but we are emotionally tethered to the football club, and they should at least consider the wishes of the supporters when it makes its decisions, we are owed that small consideration at the very least. No club is anything without its supporters
The fact of the matter is that Benitez is just not the right “fit” for Chelsea – not culturally, not given his history, his style of play, his personality – not anything – just like Avram Grant
This conflict is demonstrating itself in the deification of Roberto Di Matteo – his name was chanted again at 16 minutes with another extended round of applause. If we are honest, Di Matteo was a pretty average manager too but the way he was treated (and the winning of the Champions League of course) have elevated him to god like status. A little thought and some better advice and this whole debacle could have been handled better. Instead we have a club at war – and that can’t be good for anyone.
The club held its annual lunch this week and in the past, no matter what the circumstances were, Bruce Buck would always give a speech and would never avoid the difficult topics of the day. This time round he sneaked out of the function room 20 minutes or so before the close of the event. I’m not surprised – this one is a tough sell.
I actually don’t blame him either – the last thing the club needed was the Chairman publicly heckled at such an event as I am sure that’s what would have happened. As it were there were a couple of chants of “One Di Matteo” as the day progressed.
So where do we go from here? The problem is that the club and Abramovich have painted themselves into a bit of a corner. They stated that Di Matteo was sacked to keep Chelsea moving in the right direction – so what happens if Benitez doesn’t do that? What if the run of these results continue? What’s Plan B?
There is already a sniff of total mutiny in the air – some fans already have boycotted games, some threatening not to renew season tickets, cancellation of subscribed Chelsea media, refusal to buy merchandise – which will only be made worse if bad results continue. If then at the end of the season Guadiola refuses to come (and who would blame him) – what then? Answers on a post card to Mr. R. Abramovich, SW6
Posted by Trizia