A Liverpool Fan On Why Chelsea Fans Are Right To Boo Benitez
Rafael Benitez has got the Stamford Bridge faithful singing passionately but unfortunately for him it's mostly a torrent of abuse. Chants of 'F*** off Rafa' rain down from the terraces whilst he does his best to pretend that it isn't happening. Chelsea fans have received a lot of criticism from media outlets and fans alike that they shouldn't be booing but I'd argue that the antipathy towards Rafa is justified.
As we're all well aware, Roman Abramovich bought Chelsea in 2003 and changed the club forever. When Abramovich purchased the club, a new era began at Chelsea. Before long, this new age of prosperity and the appointment of Mourinho meant that the trophies began pouring in at Stamford Bridge. They suddenly went from being talented nearly men to one of the most successful clubs of the modern era. And it was during these formative years of the Abramovich revolution that Jose's Chelsea kept clashing with Rafa's Liverpool. Odd though it seems to describe a period in such recent history as a time when a 107 year old club was defining itself, this was a new Chelsea. Rafael Benitez and indeed Liverpool, positioned themselves as the nemesis during these defining years as the clashes in the cups became more and more ill-tempered and hostile. Although United were their main opponents in the league, Mourinho and Ferguson had a respect for each other that was definitely not present between Jose and Rafa. Benitez became the natural enemy of Chelsea fans and he served to add fuel to the fire with his derogatory comments about Chelsea and their fans. Benitez is the natural enemy, the absolute antithesis of this new era at Chelsea and in this sense the hatred the fans have for him is understandable.
Some may argue that Chelsea fans have little right to boo decisions made by their charitable owner but this seems to miss the point somewhat. I haven't got the statistics to back it up but I'm fairly certain that EVERY Chelsea fan is eternally grateful for the money poured into the club by Roman. But whilst you can be grateful for his contribution, this doesn't mean a blind acceptance of every decision he makes. The alternative to Chelsea fans objecting to Rafa's appointment seems to be ultimate acceptance and consent to every decision. It's the right of the football fan to be voice their displeasure at how their club is being run. In many cases, this anger is misplaced or unjustified but nevertheless it's the reserve of the fan to sing passionately about whatever they believe to be right. Simply acquiescing and accepting every decision your owner makes because of how much he has contributed before now is not the right way to go about supporting your football club.
However these reasons given thus far also ignore perhaps the most salient point of all....he might simply not be up to the job. So far Rafa has resembled a manager who has been out of the game for two years focusing on his blog. Results haven't improved and whilst the defence has tightened up somewhat the creativity of the Hazard, Mata and Oscar trio has seemed more stunted which was all too apparent during the impotent probing for a goal against West Ham. All of this makes it all the more puzzling to interpret Benitez's reasoning behind accepting this role, it doesn't appear to be anything more than a seat warming exercise until Pep is done taking in Broadway shows in his sabbatical in New York. And as you're warming that seat for your more illustrious friend everyone around you shouts 'F*** off' at you and your career is left in tatters. On behalf of Liverpool fans everywhere; good luck Rafa!