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Rafa Out: Why Don't Chelsea Fans Like Benitez?
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Rafa Out: Why Don\'t Chelsea Fans Like Benitez?

Yesterday afternoon during his first game in charge of Chelsea, he would not have failed to miss the banners reading: Rafa Out, but Benitez is not the kind of manager to let it get to him. He will have known full well before taking the job that he would have a difficult time in the initial stages, and he will be more determined than ever to prove that he is a professional. The more games Chelsea win, the more fans will start to be won to his cause.

But Why The Hostility

The fans' dislike of Benitez is more than just because of the popularity of his predecessor Roberto Di Matteo, but stems back to the bitter rivalry Chelsea and Liverpool, Benitez's former club, shared a few years ago, when Mourinho was manager of Chelsea, Benitez of Liverpool, and the teams were destined to meet time and time again in big matches, particularly in the Champions League.

As is natural at those times, managers tend to say things about the other club that fans do not like. Chelsea fans hated Liverpool with a passion for a good few years, and Rafael Benitez was the figurehead for that hatred. Various comments made in interviews and press conferences helped to heighten this distrust.

There is no doubt that Chelsea fans are aware of Benitez's prowess as a manager, not only for his Champions League success, but the rapid decline of Liverpool's fortunes since he left has also shown how well he carried the club. However, his final season at Liverpool, when he appeared to "lose it" in his infamous press conference about Alex Ferguson meant that instead of leaving the club on a high, he left England almost as a laughing stock, and now he has returned, but this time to the club that was the most happy to see him leave.

A Professional

Rafa has stated that the fans at Stamford Bridge will learn that he is a professional, that he wants to do his job to his best to help Chelsea win, and win together. It is true that football is a fickle world and many fans may turn to his cause, but it is not going to be an easy road. Chelsea fans are used to having new managers these days. No club should be better adjusted to receiving new managers than Chelsea, except perhaps for their neighbours QPR, but this time things are different.

Yes, the majority of fans will end up realizing that jeering and booing is no way to show support for your club, and others still will realize that Benitez wants to put the past behind him and move forward with Chelsea, but in order for this to happen, he first has to get Chelsea firing on all cylinders again. Win, win, win.

Perhaps Chelsea fans needn't worry too much. As Roberto Di Matteo learned, nobody is safe in today's business world, so maybe Benitez will only be around for a few more months.


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