If I hadn’t have seen it for myself, I wouldn’t have believed it. Here we are, 60 minutes into the semi-final of the Capital One Cup, and cult-like chants of ‘Dem-ba Ba. Dem-ba Ba’ echo around the stadium, followed by ‘You’re f****** s***’ every time Fernando Torres received the ball.
This is a man with 14 goals in 33 games this season, hardly a paltry amount at all. Yet, at 1-0 down, against the run of play, we decided the best course of action would be to turn on the team, and make the stadium almost impossible to play in.
The hatred of Rafa Benitez is our current scapegoat. The 8-0 and 5-1 victories didn’t change views, they simply dampened down the abuse until a poor result came along next. Oh, not forgetting ending Everton’s unbeaten home record this season either.
Rafa Benitez has won 6 of his 7 away games with Chelsea since the defeat at West Ham, while only winning 2 of the 6 home games. Surprising? Not really. The cauldron of negativity at the Bridge, epitomized by the booing of Torres and Benitez, before, and during matches, is simply sickening. How on earth can we expect performances when we turn the ground into that every week?
We had 24 shots against Aston Villa, and scored 8 goals. Mata, Hazard, Torres, fantastic. That was followed by 47 shots against Swansea and QPR, with no goals. Suddenly, it is Benitez’s fault. Sure, Demba Ba could’ve started against Swansea, but did he start against Aston Villa? Should we have won both games comfortably anyway?
The fans believe they can change things at the club. We wanted Di Matteo to stay, we want Frank Lampard to stay, and we didn’t want Rafa Benitez as our new manager. However, we have to deal with it. The only thing we can influence, is the effort on the pitch, and the way to do that, is to get behind the team for the full 90minutes. Lose? Boo after the game. You have paid your ticket price to do so.
Footballers thrive on confidence. What can be more detrimental to a team than to abuse them during the match? It is almost as if the fans want Fernando Torres to fail, just for the sake of another stake to throw at Rafa Benitez.
In my opinion, we need to take a hard look at ourselves, and start to support this team, and the players on the pitch. We’re not out of the League Cup yet, and we still have the FA Cup and Europa League to come. Lets get behind the lads, and prove to everyone that not only are we Champions of Europe on the pitch, but off it as well.
By Brad Smith