A Chelsea Fan Articulates His Anguish.
First and foremost, Thank You Robbie. Chelsea Legend as a Player and as a Manager. Forever.
Now, I dislike Rafa for what he’s said about Chelsea fans being emotionless and having no passion. Also for saying Lampard is overrated and Chelsea having no class. Yes he was Liverpools manager at the time and he was endearing himself to scousers, but I’ve never heard Moyes say these things. He has class.
Yes Chelsea fans still want us to win and be successful this season, anyone that says they prefer us to lose while Rafa is the boss is jumping on a bandwagon to sound like a die hard fan, despite not knowing what a die hard fan actually is (see http://wp.me/p2L8My-M ). However that doesn’t mean we want Rafa specifically to be successful, we want to win under a manager we respect and like. It was the same when Blackburn fans wanted Kean out but also wanted to stay up. It’s the team and club we want to be successful. We didn’t enjoy winning the Champions League and FA Cup last season just because 1 man would be successful, its because as a club we won a trophy, it was also extra pleasing that it was largely down to a Chelsea Legend.
Should Rafa be successful in Japan I can’t see him being given too much credit among the Chelsea match-going faithful, it’ll be the team that get the praise. When other fans rattle off what they’ve won, they say the club name has won xyz, not the manager has won xyz. Often they praise the manager for winning it, but only if they liked the man. If we win the Club World Cup, the team won it, we’re there thanks to last seasons fighting spirit and Robbie turning things around. Depending on how we start playing now, only a small portion is begrudgingly going to be attributed to Rafa for (hopefully) getting Torres to start scoring, but right now I can’t see that happening. [editors update on 28th Dec: don’t think Torres is back just after albeit impressive 7 goals in 6 games, but vs poor teams in Dec]
Onto Roman, who IS the best chairman we could’ve got after Bates when you compare him to other teams who have bought clubs on a promise or with loans. He has cleared our debt, tightened his contact and commitment with the club with shares instead of being indebted to him (making it less of a risk being left high and dry if he left), looked to increase our capacity and bank rolled our success. Very little of the fans anger this week has been aimed at him, and to be fair his good points do out weigh his bad. However the constant manager merry go round is certainly tiresome and we believe Jose, Carlo and Robbie should have all got more time (Ranieri too but him leaving meant we got Jose, so CR is still loved but Jose more so). Yet, we’re happy with his decisions to be decisive with Scholari, Grant & AVB. It’s a tough balancing act but as fans that were here before Roman and will be here after (hopefully that won’t be for a very long time) it’s still our right to protest the decisions of the owner and the board if we disagree. And Rafa being made manager is a decision we disagree with very strongly.
Other poor decisions have been having Kenyon & Gourlay so influential on the board. The lack of transparency distances them from the fans and actions such as cutting the number of fans forums exacerbates the situation. Ticket prices and the poor management of the loyalty scheme don’t help either.
Off-setting these bad points are easy: 3 Premier League titles, 4 FA Cups, 2 League Cups and the Champions League.
This is why a lot of the anger this week hasn’t been directed at Roman, its a hard line to cross, so the easier targets are focused on. Henry Winter summed it up nicely with, “Anyone mixing with Chelsea fans at Turin Airport on Wednesday was reminded that they respect Abramovich for what he has done to the club but they revere Di Matteo.”
One thing I disagree with though is the blame being put on Buck. Yes he’s an American lawyer and not a football fan. But he doesn’t have to be, Gourlay does in my opinion. It’s Ron’s role to be more in touch with the football matters than it’s Bruce’s role. Anyone listening to the two of them on talksport last month will have heard a stuttering Gourlay and a composed Bruce. He was clear in what he wanted to say in defending our club and didn’t take any loaded questions from the interviewers.
No he’s not a football man, but he doesn’t have to be to have our best interests at heart. I don’t see it as his fault that we signed Rafa, I’d say it was Gourlay and the board/ Roman in general in not taking the fans feelings into account enough. Perhaps they thought they’d given in to fans peer pressure enough by giving Robbie the job in June. Who knows, and I doubt we’ll ever know due to the lack of transparancy with the fans (not that I’m expecting them to tell us how they ink the manager).
So what now? Obviously we’re stuck with Rafa so let’s hope he doesn’t stay beyond May 2013 but also that he gets us into the top 4 come the end of the season. That was my target in August and nothing’s changed. I’m not expecting to lose Drogba, phase out Frank, change style of play, integrate 4/5 new players and still keep winning trophies immediately. The next manager surely must be Pep, but I’m very skeptical as to whether he can start and build the type of club ethic he had at Barcelona, where La Masia was already well established. he’s a great manager, but in the Premier League? Who knows. only Jose can be targeting with any sort of confidence that he can deliver us back to back titles.
Torres still has the same requirement, score as many goals as you can. That’s not changed just because he’s now also got Rafa managing us. He had a bad 18 months and was behind Drogba for much of it. However his work rate kept the fans on his side. This season he started well and still had the work rate to show he cared. However with Mata, Hazard, Oscar and Ramires all in the side with the objective (at least what must be a large part of their brief) being to supply Fernando, he still hasn’t scored enough. He needs to stay in the middle more, even though we know he drifts and drops deep to try to get into the game.
With the players I’ve just mentioned, we don’t need Torres to run his arse off anymore, let them do that and you focus on scoring. It this isn’t his fault. El Niño didn’t call Roman and ask for a new manager, he hadn’t asked to sign Miereles or the others. He has got on with trying to emulate his past self, but I can’t see it happening. He hasn’t been the reason for 3 managers leaving, Roman’s love for him possibly has. If he leaves in January (before Wednesday I thought that was a certainty, but not so sure now) he can still hold his head up high. No one will be burning there Torres Chelsea shirts.
As for the board, listen to the fans. Get a football/ Chelsea man in Gourlays’ position ASAP and give a new manager the time he deserves, and give Chelsea legends and the fans the respect they deserve.
Most of all….We Know What We Are….Keep the Blue Flag Flying High.