New Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez was unanimously booed by Chelsea fans at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
The former Liverpool manager got off to a difficult start against Manchester City at the weekend, amid jeering and vocalized discontent amongst the Blues’ faithful – a tough crowd to please.
Today the fans are claiming the boos will continue – they held up home-made banners in support of sacked manager Roberto Di Matteo, who was fired after less than a year in the job, despite winning the Champion’s League and FA Cup.
Whilst the Blues fans may be less than enamored with Russian owner Roman Abramavich’s newest appointment, I’m inclined to suggest the Rafa-bashing may subside should Chelsea start to win.
However, even if Chelsea go on a sustained run of wins, even if Benitez motivates Fernando Torres to find his shooting boots, and even if he wins a trophy of any sort – he is still unlikely to surpass the perceived achievements of Di Matteo who was, in his playing career, a Blue, through and through.
Di Matteo also brought excitement to Stamford Bridge – his summer signings of Eden Hazard, Oscar, and Victor Moses, to a lesser extent, coupled with his vision of a change of system and style at Chelsea seemed set to usher in a new enthusiasm – a spectacle to behold.
Benitez will likely find it cumbersome to achieve what Di Matteo did in less than a season – Chelsea could fall victim to an early Champion’s League exit should Juventus and Shakhtar Donetsk draw in the final fixture – no matter how hard they try, their destiny in this year’s competition is out of their hands.
Benitez would then be left with two domestic cups and the Premier League to aim for – possible and achievable, but for Blues fans, I think the only remedy for Benitez’s blues would be winning the Premier League title this season.
Di Matteo’s side seemed early on to be running away with it – they took 25 points of a possible 27 in their first 9 games and sat top of the table. The team is more than capable of winning the league ahead of Manchester United and Manchester City. They’re only 5 points off the top spot after poor results in their last five games.
Benitez will find, understandably, that hostility towards his appointment will grow if Chelsea continue to slump – but he’ll be regarded as another great Blues legend if he can claim the title and anything less will not suffice.
Fans are fickle – but they always sing when they’re winning.