What did Roman ever do for us? That was easy for a group of us Chelsea supporters having a drink after the season’s last game yesterday: the Champion’s League, back to back Premier League titles, FA Cups almost every year. Tens of millions spent on Drogba, Essien, Robben, Makalele, Shevchenko, well OK, there was agreement to leave the last one aside.
What has the Fat Spanish Waiter ever done for us? That was a more difficult one. He cost us a rightful place when he was in Liverpool in the Champion’s League final through the ‘ghost goal’; and, of course, he took over from Bobby Di Matteo, one of our own. But at the end there was agreement that we could not blame Rafa Benitez for the ineptitude of a referee and his linesmen? And sacking Roberto after the triumphs against Barcelona and Bayern Munich, as well as yet another FA Cup was just another exasperating example of how dysfunctional the management of the club has become (not Roman of course, we would not have a word against him, but his parasitical courtiers).
The interim one was appointed when Chelsea was going through one of its self induced implosions. We have ended up with another successful season with the Europa League and third in the Premier League. Not that successful, mumbled an Arsenal supporter who had joined us into his beer. Well really, we scoffed, look at his team or Manchester City, Tottenham, Liverpool, Everton. What did they win this time?
Rafa should have gone on the lap of honour yesterday at the Bridge. He didn’t because he did not want more of the virulent abuse he would have received from some. It was sad that only two or three banners were there with grudging thanks to him, one saying we ‘forgave’ him. Forgave him for what? There were constant chants for the Special One. We are all looking forward to Jose Mourinho coming back, but a little courtesy towards Benitez would not have jeopardised that, we agreed.
One of the loudest guys in a section of the Matthew Harding stand yesterday (“fuck off you fat Spanish plonker, you’re still useless”) was a rotund character we have heard from before. During a Manchester United visit Ryan Giggs had gone down under a challenge. “Go and shag your brother’s wife, you f.….g poof” the man had screamed repeatedly. When a friend I was with pointed out this was an oxymoron, he screamed even more. “Who’re you calling a moron? Etc..” My friend tried to placate the frothing one by saying he meant to say he admired his use of irony. It is one of those clichés that football fans are witty and hugely knowledgeable about the game. Some may well be, but there are also an awful lot of swivel-eyed loons around in the grounds.
But then a lot of what is said in football is ludicrous. It is a world where West Ham’s Andy Carroll is pushed into the Manchester United goalkeeper De Gea by Manchester United centre-half Vidic, suffers a few bruises and Alex Ferguson declares it was "like a war zone”. This is at a time when more British soldiers are killed in Helmand, and the death toll in Syria reached 80,000. Yet Ferguson’s remarks were reported as ‘fact’. Undoubtedly Fergie, who as we know from the acres of newsprint devoted to him since his retirement was nothing but a genius, could not be so silly; he was just being ironic.
Kim Sengupta is The Independent's Defence and Diplomatic Correspondent
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