Are Chelsea fans to blame for the Swansea result?

Torres: beaten down.

I was invited to the Chelsea vs Swansea game last night and, as a neutral, I wasn’t sure of what to expect, but it’s fair to say I wasn’t prepared for the events that unfolded. My pre-game thinking was that a home leg in the semi-final of the League cup should have been bread and butter stuff for Chelsea. To say the game didn’t go to plan is an understatement.

This morning you will have seen the fallout from this result spread over newspaper headlines, Facebook timelines, Twitter feeds and endless callers to radio talk shows. In the main, the focus of the conversation has been berating Rafa Benitez and the performance of Fernando Torres. Listening to the conversation you would think this was the end of Chelsea’s season…

From a neutral perspective, because of the negativity that surrounds the team, it feels like it could be.

Believe me, it wasn’t doom and gloom all night for Chelsea, things started well; Chelsea fielded a strong side consisting of 14-goal top scorer Fernando Torres, backed up by the trio of Oscar, Eden Hazard and Juan Mata. David Luiz started and starred as a defensive midfielder and Chelsea played a strong backline minus John Terry. On paper things looked good and during the early exchanges of the game it was David Luiz dominating midfield and Chelsea creating chances upfront. Things seemed to be going well for the home side, but with 16 minutes played, as it’s become usual at Chelsea, the home fans waded in to the match.

The minute’s applause and chanting for Roberto Di Matteo is as touching, romantic and sentimental as it is counter-productive. Unfortunately last night it was the catalyst of the negativity that would engulf the rest of the match.

Roberto Di Matteo is gone and consigned to Chelsea’s history books. Roman Abramovich, Bruce Buck, Rafa Benitez and the team know the fans’ feelings on this. They knew before they gave the job to Benitez and they didn’t care.

This ‘show of support’ is an awkward situation that I can only liken to breaking up with a psycho possessive girlfriend that won’t accept a relationship is over – you don’t want to hear from them, but instead you receive endless phone calls, gushy texts that turn to abuse, not to mention general irrational behaviour – but you just want to get on with it and move on.

Chelsea fans need to move on from Roberto Di Matteo for the good of their club.

It still baffles me that football fans think they can influence decision making at a football club. It baffles me even more that they don’t realise that their actions in the stands CAN influence what happens on the pitch and it is the latter that played out last night.

Chelsea fans were not 100% behind the team from the outset and it started to turn the atmosphere toxic, a vibe that built up in to a second half crescendo of discontent.

Fernando Torres’ performance paid testament to the fans’ actions in the stands.

As loud cries of ‘you’re f*cking sh*t’ and ‘you’re cr@p, get off the field’ rang out from the stands whenever Torres didn’t produce, you could see his confidence levels evaporate. Add the reoccurring calls for the introduction of Demba Ba and you can see why Torres’ performance ended up as it did, the fans slowly chipped away at him. He was simply reacting as any human being would and this is not a one-off incident, it has been happening a while. 

All footballers thrive on confidence – the confidence to try things, to make passes, to score goals, to perform to the highest standard – and this is even more important for strikers. What we saw last night was a manager handing his talisman and top scorer a huge confidence boost by starting him in an important match ahead of the new striker in town and a crowd that disagreed with the decision and decided to let it be known. It felt as though the crowd were almost willing Fernando Torres to fail as another reason to hate Benitez.

In the second half things started to go against Chelsea on the pitch, but off the pitch, things had conspired against the team long before.

All fans need to realise that they need to back their team every game 110%. Let me make this clear, it is not just Chelsea fans, this is a growing trend in football, fans almost want their team to fail to prove a point and get their way. Clubs make business decisions, but fans make emotional ones – this is a wide gulf and unless fans start to understand this, then it could turn in to a big problem.

Shows of fan power against managers and boards have become more frequent in the Premier League over the past few seasons. Alex McLeish being bombarded with abuse from Aston Villa fans and Blackburn fans taking it too far with Steve Kean are prime examples of this. Where are those clubs now?

Last season, Chelsea’s league season capitulated as the fans turned on Andre Villas-Boas who was tasked with changing an establishment. We have seen it at Liverpool, title contenders to top four hopefuls; change takes time, it is the reality of modern football. Eras end, big players move on and nowadays you are only as good as your last season.

Chelsea fans feel harshly treated. They didn’t want to see Roberto Di Matteo go. They don’t want to see Frank Lampard go. They didn’t want Rafa Benitez to arrive. But this is reality. The sentiment and emotion that lives in fans has less of a place in the modern version of the beautiful game, a game that is now underpinned by business and balance sheets. History is dead, fans can no longer live on past glory, expectations should change real-time rather than be predefined, especially when change occurs. I hate to say it, but it is true.

Chelsea fans are in for the long haul with another management change on the cards this summer, legends are ready to leave, and a successful cycle is approaching its end. Before a new era begins, Chelsea fans should back their team and give them a platform to achieve as much as it is possible this season, because, after all, it is success that fans really want.

All football fans should be careful what they wish because the grass is not always greener.

Claus.

What is your view on what is happening at Chelsea? Are you a disgruntled Chelsea fan? Has Claus got a point? Leave you comments below and join the debate. You can follow Football Rascal on Twitter and Facebook and get involved by telling us your views because it is you, the fan, that really matters. 

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  1. Blain says:

    As a CFC supporter, I am sick and tired of the behaviour of some of the other fans. I don’t care who is in charge, if its your club and your team, you support it! Its almost idiotic to see the fans doing the dirty laundry in front of the whole world with silly 16th minute tribute to RDM and cursing out players on the field all the while being arm chair generals. RDM is gone! Get over it! I felt just as bad for AVB and those prior to him but with every new manager, I am willing to give them my support! The team is being managed by Rafa. Get behind him. Get behind the players. I agree with Claus 200%!!! Some of the fans are acting like spoiled little brats! If you have gripes, take them up to Roman instead of dishing it out to Rafa, Torres and the likes. But on this account I am afraid, the fans are gutless because Roman could simply pull the plug on funding and back we go to square one with CFC in the dog house.

    Lets get a bit of perspective. We are not going to win every match and every cup! We have had so many bloody managers on this team that CFC looks like a temp agency for temporary workers. Give one chap a chance to make a difference. Rafa is a smart guy. He can do good things for Chelsea, only if given the time and chance. Nobody wants to freaking come to Chelsea because of the shit the fans and the owner dishes out. Nobody is ever good enough and that is because the fans and the owner have a stupidly unrealistic expectation!

    For good or bad, I am long on Chelsea. Even on the worst days, I consider things at Liverpool for perspective. They are in a rough patch, but chugging along. This is what is needed at Chelsea. Heads down, supporting the team a 110% and understanding that with so many changes, there will be ups and down before the team is able to get to full form and perform at the highest levels with consistency.

  2. Soba says:

    An excellent article, though even if I see Torres play up to 70mins without making an impact I would be eagle to see him subtituted, it’s not of me as a spectator to start chanting for another striker. The calling for Di Matteo at 16′s is becoming madness because it’s over already. But then Torres need to let the management know if he has any internal injury. I say this because, giving the kind of service the mid-fielders provide, a decent striker should have done much better.

  3. Olawale Goodluck says:

    I dont know what is going with chelsea owner (Abramovic) of sending De Matteo out by impost Benitez on the fans, Benitez which render Liverpool and Inter useless by his tactise, is better to send Benitez and Torres out and call de matteo back and sign 1attacking midfielder and 1 great/sharp stricker

  4. Clement Acquah says:

    Thanx 4 this informative piece. I’d gladly pay a fine in advance before i would verbally abuse Torres. I’ve never hated “anything” more in my life. I’m really struggling to control myself atm with regards the anger and tons of invectives boiling within me. I’m seriously boiling within with hate and anger so much so that i can be used as a nuclear arsenal. What better time to get rid of him than NOW. If i don’t stop now, i can pour out insults at him enough to fill a 2000 page book.

  5. Clem Aye says:

    I dont agree with Claus. The fans are human. The fans are watching their team day in and day out and supporting them totally. They see changes for the better and at the same time see changes that are bad. You can see who has had a bad game, a good game, who’s unlucky and what the managers tactics are. You need to voice your opinion in the hope that the manager does something. Its normal. Its also normal for people to try their best and miss a few times. Thats the nature of the game. You can see the difference in desire and passion between FT and Ba. If the fans are having a pop at you then you can either sulk or buckle up and get your act together. If FT were playing like he really wanted to score and absolutely chasing balls, making spaces … the fans would see it. They would not boo, but really get behind him. Its happened many times in the past. These fans backed FT to the hilt. Unfortunately, they can now see that FT really has no desire. And Rafa – if he has any clue about the passion of the fans, and basic football, he could react during half time and change things around. Forget the fans – if all Rafa wanted was to win, with the team he has, its pretty straight forward. And its not just this match. Its pretty much most matches. You go in with plan A and B. With the quality of our team you dont normally need plan B. however, if A does not work, you quickly deploy B. Its normal. Both the manager and our star player needs a reality check. Its not fair on the rest of the team because every time FT is included in the team, we are down to ten men. Its certainly not fair on the fans. If FT does not want to be booed, start playing like he means it. If Rafa wants to make an impression with the fans, listen to them…. do something for them. Dont tell the fans to shut up because they will not. They pay good money to attend these matches. It is their right to object and make their feelings heard. A team is nothing with out its fans.

  6. Munson says:

    Spot on!
    Is the Chelsea fan’s anger misdirected here? After all It was Roman that sacked RDM, Roman that signed Torres and hired Benitez. Of course they wont, you have to take the rough with the smooth if your owned by a Sugar Daddy. Dont bite the hand that feeds you…

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