Published on February 27, 2013 | by Nathan Evans


Is the problem at ‘The Bridge’ closer to home?

Some of the flags that Rafael Benitez was talking about in 2007
Photo courtesy of Tuga M on Flickr

Since the arrival of Rafael Benitez at Chelsea the boo-boys have been having a field day at Stamford Bridge, but are these boos justified?

The short-term signing of Benitez was a sore subject for many Chelsea supporters, especially after such a short space of time since parting with fan favourite and living legend, Roberto Di Matteo.

Di Matteo was already considered a “Golden Boy” before he joined as assistant manager largely down to an exceptionally successful career as a player.

When time called to step up to manager he already had the full backing of the fans, this support was secured when he returned victorious from Munich with the Champions League trophy.

A poor start to the season for Chelsea saw the end of the Di Matteo era at Chelsea and the beginning of what the Chelsea faithful may call the Dark Era.

There was plenty of speculation after Di Matteo’s dismissal of who would fill the vacancy, with names such as Pep Guardiola and even talk of Jose Mourinho making a return.

These were soon averted when it was announced that Benitez would take control over the Chelsea squad.

The jeering started mainly down to the fact that Rafa was an ex-Liverpool manager, who had made some slightly controversial comments about Chelsea in the past. Back in 2007 Benitez was quoted saying:

“We don’t need to give away flags for our fans to wave, our supporters are always there with their hearts, and that is all we need. It’s the passion of the fans that helps to win matches, not flags.”

As well as making this comment, earlier on in the same interview, Benitez was also quoted saying:

“I would never take that job, in respect for my former team at Liverpool, no matter what. For me there is only one club in England”.

Five years later and Mr. Benitez has gone back on his word, but who could blame him?

A manager of his calibre, out of work, and seems now to be out of luck. Following his departure from Anfield, a brief spell at Inter Milan saw him win two trophies.

So did Rafa make the right move by joining Chelsea? Fans may disagree but this is merely down to his previous connection to arch rivals Liverpool.

Surely it can’t be because they feel he is not good enough, considering he has 14 trophies under his belt, including the Champions League, UEFA Cup and La Liga on two occasions.

Having spoken to many fans who feel very strongly about this situation, they believe he has made a mockery of Stamford Bridge.

Seeing as ‘The Bridge’ was previously considered to be a fortress that most teams hated to play at. It is understandable to see where they are coming from. Chelsea went almost four years unbeaten at home under Mourinho.

But with a totally different take on the game, can comparison be made?

Personally, despite being an avid Chelsea supporter, I feel that the constant booing and jeering of the team and the management is not helping at all.

The fans should be cheering and supporting their team just like they did under Mourinho, Carlo Ancelotti and Di Matteo.

By booing at the end of each half it is only going to affect the players as much as it will affect Benitez and Roman Abramovich.

Many fans have said they still love the team and will continue to do so – prove it, support your side, get behind them and cheer them on.


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