So it seems Chelsea are listening, but will they act, and if so when and how?
The week Rafa Benitez was appointed Chelsea Manager I wrote this article, which explains why I didn’t want Rafa as our manager and who my frustration, anger and protest is aimed against. This was born out of a question from a Liverpool fan mate of mine,’why hasn’t Roman been targeted.’ In the article I explain how I felt, especially following a Talk Sport interview with the pair, it is more Ron Gourlay and not Bruce Buck that seems to be taking the club in directions us life long, ‘generation hand me down’ fans don’t quite agree with. He sees the club as a business and not a football club. Yes in this day and age it’s wise to make sure we have the business side of the club making a profit but its the football decisions he then needs to stay out of.
I think they want me to jump
Some agreed with me, some thought they are equally to blame. I have since realised that Michael Emenalo is also a big culprit in the ‘Technical Director’ role and should have been mentioned, but I still stand by my views about Bruce. And I think this may help too.
On Wednesday 30th January 2013 Chelsea travelled to Reading for a league game, hoping to close the gap on Manchester City who had dropped points the previous night. Although we weren’t exactly in cruise control, goals either side of half time from Mata & Super Frank (his 10th goal of the season which makes it 10 or more goals in 10 straight seasons, and 1 league goal away from 10 or more league goals in 10 straight seasons) put us in control.
Then came the ‘tactical genius’ that in 2 separate recent games where we needed to score brought on a defender for a defender. However this particular night in Berkshire we were minutes away from a decent, professional 2.0 away win and needed to not concede. Enter our illustrious manager who brings off a misfiring Torres and brings on Demba Ba, who many believe should’ve started in the first place. Now I understand his thinking, assuming that his idea was to still keep pressure up front to stop the home team bombing forward. But this isn’t as important as the obvious sub option that we all expected to happen – take off Torres or a midfielder for the returning John Terry, who would bring calm and organisation to the back four, who went on to leave 3 Reading players free in the box to concede the equaliser in the 95th minute.
What followed was inevitable, the Chelsea TV phone in show being bombarded with ‘Rafa out’ calls (albeit they were still polite, tried to give alternate views which ended up back at Rafa and Gigi kept her composure well, still towing the party line) and twitter was awash with moans about the tactically inept manager. However I don’t think this game was the reason, it’s not a ‘we’d have not moaned about Rafa if we’d still have won’ situation, it’s been building up since day one, when we didn’t want him as our manager for non-footballing reasons, past indiscretions and slagging Chelsea fans off. Now our reasons are also football related.
A work colleague just summed it up nicely for me. He somehow won the Champions League with Liverpool and made the final 2 years later. This led to him being called a tactical genius, and his record in Europe IS good, but there is one major fault in this…IT’S NEVER WORKED IN THE LEAGUE!
It seems it’s time for him to go. But we do understand the dilemma of having to get someone else in the role until the summer, making it the 3rd manager this season, the season where we should have been enjoying being London’s First Champions of Europe. Instead we’ve become a laughing stock (thinking of the big picture and putting this into context of supporting the club for 30 years, and the next 30 years +, I’d still take this situation over having NOT won CL) and another manager for the next 4 months probably isn’t the answer. The answer was, in my mind, always to keep Robbie with the understanding it’s reviewed each summer.
Rafa was not the answer and now he’s proving it, but we’re stuck with him. I agree with the Rafa Out campaign but part of me just wants the circus to stop and get back to the football. This is hard to do and CFC fans need to keep up the singing ‘We don’t care about Rafa’ but just make sure, at home, we keep up the support for the team too (away are exempt from this, they’re brilliant). If we don’t keep it up, the board might think we’re warming to him. God forbid.
Lets at least hope Rafa’s European record helps us to go far in the Europa Cup, I’ll be in Prague so really want to come home with a win!!
Now, back to the reason for this article. Dan Silver, a life long Chelsea fan decided to vent his frustration with an email to the board. He’d sung the songs, ranted on twitter like the rest of us but like the rest of us, still wanted to be heard by those that make the decisions, so he decided to send a letter to the Board. When I was growing up it would have been a letter, obviously nowadays it’s an email. How he got Bruce’s email address is not important, he got it and sent him this, making sure that it was a much calmer message than what was probably going through his mind at the time, in the hope it won’t be ignored (in the same way I immediately ignore rants on twitter from ‘Internet generation fans’ comparing Rafa to cancer or wanting him to actually die).
From: Dan Silver
Sent: Wednesday, January 30, 2013 10:56 PM
To: <;;;;;;;;;;; Bruce <;;;;;;;;;;; Subject: A very upset & disgruntled fan
As I am sure you are aware 99.9% of Chelsea fans are at this current juncture extremely frustrated, angry and upset with the state we find ourselves in. After the euphoria of Munich, we now find ourselves as upset as we were happy.
Roman has been quite fantastic for us, that is an understatement, without him the last few years which have been amazing would not have been possible.
I have been a fan for 33 years and the club have been in my family for 90 years. This is the worst period I have experienced, it tops the play-off defeat to Middlesbrough, 94 Cup Final, Moscow etc.
It is not an over reaction I promise, this a measured response from a long term fan.
The problem is the manager.
His anti-Chelsea diatribes will not be forgotten, it was always going to be an uphill struggle for him but the inept displays, the inept substitutions and tactics and the inability to change a match when teams come and defend is simply not good enough.
His presence at the club is divisive, the true fans are angry and upset, he is hindering our progress. We have some outstanding talent at the club, we just need the right man to take us forward -
Rafa is not that man. He was unemployed for two years post Inter, which to me suggests that he can't cut the mustard, top coaches are not out of work for long unless it's by choice.
Substitutions at Swansea, Brentford etc were wrong; Swansea we were 2-0 down & needing goals; you take a chance throw on Fernando, switch to three at the back (they could cope with Michu) and go for it, not centre back for centre back. I am not a qualified coach nor an expert but that change was obvious.
In my humble opinion Rafa should go before he does too much damage.
I don't know if you will even read this or acknowledge me but I am so upset and angry I had to write a measured, sensible email without profanities!
You can follow Dan on Twitter @DanSilvs73
Now considering the frustrations of all Chelsea fans, I'm sure you'll agree this must have been a very restrained email.
Now here's the reply, which gives me a little more confidence that they accept the severity of the issue. Not because of what Bruce says, more due to that fact he says anything at all. He could easily have ignored Dan's message and no one would have complained.
From: "Buck, Bruce M" <;;;;;;;;;;;
Date: 30 January 2013 23:06:06 GMT
To: "' <;;;;;;;;;;;
Subject: Re: A very upset & disgruntled fan
Thank you for your email. Contrary to your expectation, I have read it.
You will appreciate that I cannot respond to the specific points you raise but the Board and Roman are as frustrated as you are with some of the recent results. We are all working as hard as we can to change things around.
I hope you will continue your support of the club as the boys really need your backing now.
Article by @pateramore for @the_sweetFA
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