Friday, November 23, 2012
Chelsea and Rafa Benitez - what will happen next?
Chelsea have recently appointed ex-Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez to take over the helm at the club and a number of their fans have already voiced their discontent pretty loudly. Benitez has a pretty bad history with Chelsea and that's what's been getting under their fans skins. During his tenure at Liverpool, Benitez faced Chelsea numerous times and there was always some bad-mouthing between himself and the Blues, particularly when Mourinho was in charge.
In 2007, he once said "Chelsea is a big club with fantastic players, every manager wants to coach such a big team. But I would never take that job, in respect for Liverpool, no matter what. For me there is only one club in England, and that's Liverpool".
In addition to that, and this is the one that's sticking in Chelsea fans when they are venting their anger at his appointment as the new manager, Benitez said about Chelsea: "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". This comment is so popular that its been made into a plaque at Anfield.
What happens now?
Well, Benitez has to face the wrath of Chelsea's fans who, in large numbers, don't want him at the club. I'm also curious to know what Liverpool fans think of the move. Do they still rate Benitez as a legend at the club now that he's moved to the club he ridiculed on numerous occasions?
There's anger boiling up everywhere, but I'm wondering why are supporters still surprised by such moves? Morals don't exist in football anymore. Players move from club to club as often as we eat meals in a day. Joining rival clubs is becoming more and more commonplace and is making football fans look foolish in their support or hatred of said player or manager. Morals have stopped existing in our sport.
In Chelsea's case though, there is a problem that their Russian owner is creating. Roman Abramovich is turning the club into a bit of a joke. Benitez has now become Chelsea's 8th manager since the Russian took over. Claudio Ranieri, Jose Mourinho, Avram Grant, Luiz Felipe Scolari, Guus Hiddink, Carlo Ancelotti, Andre Villa Boas and now Robert Di Matteo have all left Stamford Bridge over the past 8 years. It is farcical the way that Chelsea have been changing managers. The worst part is that at the end of the season, no matter what happens, Benitez will always leave the club as his contract is an interim one and then they'll hire someone else...again. So we already know the outcome of this move. It's temporary and he's unwanted. The writing is on the wall. Results might be good and Chelsea fans will quickly forget everything that's been said and done (like usual when results start going your team's way), then they'll move onto the next manager.
Rumors are strong about Pep Guardiola joining the London club. But even if that happens, will it work? Would Guardiola be able to run a team based on Abramovich's demands? Ancelotti had steadied the ship and was doing a very good job and just because of one season which ended trophy-less (which is normal in football), he was shown the boot. Abramovich has a say in what happens on the pitch, so could you possibly imagine Guardiola accepting that? I'm not sure.
But I am sure about one thing. Abramovich has been showing a lack of respect to the managers who have been doing a decent job at the club. Since the Russian has taken over the club, they haven't finished lower than 3rd in the league. The only two times they finished 3rd, it was under interim managers (Hiddink and Di Matteo) and I don't see why the same won't happen again. But if they bring in Pep Guardiola at the end of the season, will he just be another piece of this managerial merry-go-round?
With their current behavior with their managers, Chelsea don't deserve a manager as classy as Guardiola - and the Spaniard will hopefully notice that for himself when the time comes...because we all know that it's what Roman really, really, wants.