I don’t know whether Rafa Benitez will be successful at Stamford Bridge but the level of abuse he’s already received from fans is scarcely believable and that was before he’d even had a game in charge. What I find even harder to understand though, is the almost total absence of any press criticism of the Chelsea supporters.

Just think back to the dark days of a long list headed by the likes of Souness, JFK and Sam Allardyce. Through gritted teeth we got behind all of them because as supporters we just get on with and back anybody who is in the role, a bit like the eleven on the pitch, no matter how bad it gets.

The football was abysmal under Allardyce and steadily got worse, while the results in his final eleven matches were relegation form. Yet until the very end, fans were still intent on backing the team on match days instead of slaughtering the latest useless manager we’d had foisted on us.

Despite the shocking football and results, when any Newcastle fans dared to say that Allardyce was failing and his buys had been disastrous, the press’ overwhelming message was who were the fans to think they knew better…respected manager…supporters haven’t a clue.

There were no limits to the patronising way that the press treated us, I think that with the countless managerial reigns we’d seen, we knew when we were seeing yet another manager dragging us further and further into misery.

Then we have Chelsea appoint a manager who won the Champions League with a very average Liverpool team and also countless other trophies, as well as the magnificent achievement of overcoming both Barca and Real to win the Spanish league with Valencia.

At his very first match, the fans have banners with ‘Rafa Out’ and ‘In Rafa we will never trust’, plus I think it’s the loudest I’ve heard the Chelsea fans at a match as they sang anti-Benitez chants throughout the match.

I watched in disbelief as afterwards, instead of the TV pundits putting the spotlight on the disgraceful behaviour of the fans, instead they were basically asking Benitez to justify why he was appointed.

The same in the written media, a general discussion of whether Rafa was the right appointment and not how dare the Chelsea fans slaughter a manager who has been there, see it, done it.

When Chris Hughton was sacked, many fans quite rightly were furious because he hadn’t been given a fair crack and there was justifiable worries that just when stability seemed to have been achieved it might have been thrown away needlessly.

In all of this though, while fans were understandably sceptical of Alan Pardew’s appointment, there was no matchday chants or demonstrations against the new manager.

Maybe that played a major part in him starting off with a 3-1 home win against Liverpool, whilst despite their costly squad, Chelsea have begun the Benitez reign with two home draws and failed to score a single goal, the fans’ focus on demonising their new manager instead of getting behind the team.

I would love to see what they’d have to say if JFK walked through the door next and of course what the press would say…about what they had to say.

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  • Good point. Well made. The national hacks have a very different attitude to London based teams then to us up here in the north.

    None more clearer than this Chelsea farce. Speaks volumes

  • Heaton Mick

    To be fair to the Chelsea fans (not something I say very often) they have ‘previous’ with Benitez as he’s heavily criticised their fans (for waving plastic flags) and some of their players in the past.

    Rather than comparing the Benitez appointment with Pardew’s it probably similar to us appointing Steve Bruce or Man City appointing Ferguson.

    Regardless of the fact that they don’t like him I fail to see how it’s going to help the club be successful if there’s zero atmosphere in the ground and it’s interesting to see the lack of press criticism for the fans compared with the stick the Blackburn fans got when Kean was in charge.

  • You clearly have no idea what you’re talking about. Chelsea fans hated Rafa Benitez long before he came to Chelsea; he called us plastic and fans without passion and said that he would never take the Chelsea job.

    The press, mostly, understands that you can’t go straight into a managerial position which you said you would never take, expecting fans you insulted to not insult you back, let alone like you.

    Good research on this. You definitely know a lot about football. *cough cough*

  • shane

    Not sure what your reading up north but the press are hammering the club in general. We are flavour of the month(s) lately, with the JT affair, RDM sacking, Clattenburg affair etc etc Chelsea have been dragged through the mire constantly lately.

  • Mal

    I struggle to see the relevance of this article to the current newcastle regime. There is no comparison with the appointments of Pardew and Benitez. I’m sure we would be the same if we sacked someone who’d just won the european and FA cups and appointed someone who’d been highly critical of us in the past. If any of our managers achieve half of what De Matteo achieved at Chelsea he won’t be sacked – more likely given the freedom of the city. I have every sympathy with the Chelsea fans on this one (did I really just say that?)

  • Jezza

    The media in this country hate us Newcastle supporters, make no mistake about that. It’s because we’re from the far North, predominantly working class, and most of all because despite winning nowt for deacdes we continue to show a level of loyalty, passion and comittment unmatched by any “supporters” of the glamourous, trendy, successful, media darling clubs of London and the North West. This more than anything gets their goat.

  • Wee Hughie

    To be fair to Chelsea fans we have never appointed a manager who said the fans had no passion and were plastic and our club had no history and he would never work for us.