Somehow, after a rather ruthless and seemingly impulsive move, Chelsea fired Roberto Di Mateo beating QPR in the racve to be the first club to sack a manager this season. However, in an even more impulsive move, they hired former Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez to fill the void...THE SAME DAY! To me, this means one thing; Roman wants Torres to succeed and will blame anyone but Fernando Torres for Torres' failures.
On form, RDM was quite right to keep Torres' posterior firmly planted on the bench. However, judging by how quickly Benitez was appointed, this clearly was RDM's undoing. It also begs another question, why on earth would Benitez want to manage a club for an owner who's previous three managers never made it past 300 days in charge? To quote the great poet Nelly, "it must be the money." The way Chelsea are handing out compensation packages, pretty soon they will be in violation of FFP. Ok, so it's an exaggeration, but it seriously must make one wonder what is really going on behind the scenes at Chelsea.
Why Benitez though? Many would say that, "no one else is out there." Well Pep Guardiola is sipping Mai Tais on a beach somewhere taking his "break" from managing. There are plenty of managers who could be lured to Chelsea, despite the fact that they will likely be dropping into the Europa League soon. The only thing that makes sense is that it is all about Torres. Roman wants his £50m worth of striker to perform.
To me, it is further puzzling that Chelsea would hire a man who once said:
''We don't need to give away stupid plastic flags to our fans to wave, our supporters are always there with their hearts and that is all we need. Its the passion of the fans that helps us to win matches, not flags. Chelsea fans lack passion."
That quote that reportedly hangs on the wall at Melwood.
It is also puzzling that a man who once donated £96,000 to the Hilsborough supporters would then go to the club who's fans booed the minutes silence in honor of the 96. Sure, it was a small group and not representative of the club itself which quickly apologized, but it is a clear black eye and rift that stands between Rafa and his ideals.
He also routinely intimated that Abromavich had essentially bought trophies during his reign at Liverpool (except the ones Liverpool knocked Chelsea out of, but I digress). Yet, apparently that can all be brushed aside in the name of pushing his darling, Torres, onto the pitch.
This isn't the first time that Rafa has followed in Jose Mourinho's footsteps. Tell me Inter fans, how did that work out? His time there was an absolute disaster and he was sacked about 6 months after getting the job. He took an Inter team that had just won a treble under Mourinho and plunged them into mediocrity. Furthermore, he asked for more money to buy more players. This is the same excuse he used over and over at Liverpool. Rather than getting on with the players at his disposal, he seemed to invest an exorbitant amount of time on transfers. After his time there, I thought for sure his coaching days were numbered.
We can look at the good that Rafa while at Liverpool:
- He found Torres, Lucas, Xabi Alonso, Agger, Skrtel, Kuyt, Macherano and Reina
- Set up a decent academy, although I think Ayesteran and Segura did most of the work
- Got the best out of Stevie G.
- Won a few trophies (although never in convincing fashion and with mostly Houllier's men)
- Got to a second Champions League final as well, lost it, likely due to karma for the first win.
Now let's look at the bad:
- He drove out Xabi Alonso over Gareth Barry.
- Got rid of Hamman, Owen and Murphy, all who proved they had a lot left to give.
- Went on a tirade about Fergie (Liverpool started slumping after that)
- Played Lucas incessantly as if Lucas had naked pictures of Rafa and was blackmailing him (which might have cost us the league in 2008-09)
- Brought in Morientes, Nunez, Voronin, Josemi, Kronkamp, Babel (for £11.5m!), Zenden, Pennant, N'gog
- Brought in Mark Gonzales, fought to get him a work permit, then got rid of him the year he finally got it.
- Brought in Robbie Keane (for £19m) then benched him as he was finding form and sold him back to Spurs for (£16m)
- Pushed Crouch to the fringes despite his decent goal scoring record
- Showed Riise the door and left himself with no LB, a void not filled until Enrique because he also got rid of Stephen Warnock (who also proved to be a decent LB)
- Replaced Riise with Dossena who cost £4m more than he got for Riise and sucked apart from that cracking goal he scored at Old Trafford.
- Pushed Paco Ayesteran out as well.
- Gave us the Aquilani saga (for £20m) which only recently finally concluded.
- According to Anfield Online, Rafa spent over £190m in his tenure and only brought in a little over £108m. Sure he dealt with Ace and Gary's (Gillette and Hicks) ownership, but he didn't help it either.
- Started numerous feuds with random managers which seemed to affect the team.
- Rotated the squad so damn much that they were never able to gel. It is no coincidence that his best years were his first few when he didn't have the players to rotate.
If you can't tell from my disjointed thoughts, I can't quite understand this. He has had a tumultuous relationship with many other Premier League managers and with the Chelsea fans, many of which don't want him. I just can't see how this can or will work out, especially because he doesn't have three letter initials. The EPL is not the same league as when he left it. Sorry, Chelsea fans, this isn't looking good for you, but it could be worse. It could have been Mark Hughes.