I wasn’t really bothered about the World Club Championship – don’t get me wrong – I would rather we’d have won it, but I was more annoyed over the way we lost it rather than the loss of the actual trophy.
Annoyed that Benitez chose the wrong starting line-up and then that he proceeded to make like for like substitutions as the Brazilians started to get on top. Of course, Torres missing gilt edged chances also didn’t help, but then we should be used to that by now – but (and I really am not making excuses for him here) – playing as the lone striker is doing no one any favours.
I am still of the opinion that Benitez offers nothing more than Di Matteo did and little will dissuade me otherwise. I think now whatever the results, he will be here to the end of the season – I can’t see Abramovich losing face by sacking the man and so effectively admitting he made a mistake – and even if he wanted to – who would take his place? Zenden? Grant?
Every game now looks a potential banana skin – starting with the hated Leeds this week – our inconsistent form will not be helped by jet-lag so I don’t even know how to call this one.
Usually I would be buzzing about a trip to Leeds – they have always been one of Chelsea’s most hated rivals but I feel I am almost going through the motions at the moment. The decision to bring Benitez to the club has caused factions within the support and has certainly made me feel very ambivalent about the season. There have not been many other times that I have felt so disassociated with the team that has been interwoven in everything I have done from the age of about six.
The thing is that I support Chelsea with my heart as well as my head – probably even more so. The soul of my club is as important to me as all those nice shiny trophies and modern football just chips away at that as you become more successful. There are unwritten rules which were previously followed in terms of what and who would be accepted by the supporters – and by that I mean those that actually go to the game. We are not held in such high regard these days of course and we are just one of a number of “revenue streams”.
What I find more disturbing is the new generation of football fans that think that this is acceptable; that people like me are dinosaurs and should become realists. If I was a realist I would hardly feel it’s acceptable to pay £50 plus for a game of football and be treated like a third class citizen in the process would I?
For me football has to be about emotion – you have to feel emotionally tethered to your team and you have to feel that that is reciprocated to some degree even if you accept that that has lessened as we have become more successful. When clubs go totally against the wishes of its most ardent supporters, there is a danger of alienating the support – of breaking the spell that keeps us so irrevocably & unquestionably loyal to the team – to do absolutely anything to follow them & defend them. You lose those people – you lose the heart and the soul of the club – and that is almost impossible to ever get back.
I have seen many supporters lose the faith – during the most successful period of our history – specifically because those that govern our club have given no thought to the supporters – to ticket prices, to the next generation of fans, to supporter issues and now having no qualms in appointing a man that many despise.
Some may think that I am being overly sentimental or that I am over emphasising the effect that hiring Benitez has had – but I know many for whom this was the final straw.
I try not to make irrevocable decisions – I am hanging on desperately to the hope that Benitez is temporary and that this is just one of those boulders thrown in our way to make us re-affirm our faith – all be it a very big boulder!!.
I’m sure Roman has a surprise or two up his sleeve which will pacify those easily swayed by a trophy signing but many of us will not forgive so easily. This whole episode will leave its mark. But then Abramovich and his cohorts probably don’t particularly care about fans like me anyway – not rich enough, not gullible enough, not accepting enough, not adoring of the hierarchy enough.
There will be some of you out there – Chelsea fans included, who will be shaking their heads at the “ingratitude” I am showing towards Abramovich, given all the success that he has bought to Chelsea – two things – I supported Chelsea before Abramovich and the trophies and I shall still be here after – my support is not based on anything so fleeting as success – it’s based on the fact that I KNOW I support the best football team in the world no matter where we are in whatever league.
Posted by Trizia