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Welcome back Rafa


I need to remind the Chelsea fans, who have jumped all over the Internet in united fury at the sacking of Roberto Di Matteo, that Roman Abrahamovic owns the south-west London club now.

He has invested his millions into the club, saving it from the ruins of Ken Bates’ mindless and ultimately unsuccessful pursuit of a league title in the summer of 2003. Had Roman not ridden into town, Chelsea might not still be in business, never mind having a manager to sack. Another thing, these same fans cannot have celebrated every trophy and title won in the nearly 10 years of Roman’s ownership and turn around to call him names and query his style of management. It is utterly hypocritical. It is odious even.

What is "continuity" in football as we currently know it? Let's ask the Chelsea fans, who are claiming anger, if they would rather the continuity that has seen Arsene Wenger continue in his job for the past seven years without a trophy to show for it or Roman's methods that have made Chelsea the most successful club in England in the last decade in terms of trophies accumulated.

I know what I will choose for my football club. Hiring and firing of managers so frequently is very uncommon in England, hence the current overreaction, but that flies in the face of reason and the facts on the ground. If Abrahomovic has shown anything it is that in the final analysis the players on the pitch are far more important than the managers. For a man with pockets as deep as his, he could easily think so. Other clubs will rather stick to a manager and plan long term.

So in steps, through the revolving doors, former Valencia, Liverpool and Inter manager, Rafa Benitez. Personally, Liverpool missed a trick of a lifetime in allowing Rafa to depart from Anfield. He is a very stubborn man. He is very difficult to deal with by all accounts and does not make friends with his players. He is one of the best tacticians in the modern game. He was so deeply affected psychologically by the Liverpool sacking that he never thought through the Inter job before accepting it. The parting of ways shortly into the job was inevitable.

That stint in Milan seems to make people forget what a talented football manager Rafa Benitez is. Any man who could win two La Liga titles and the Uefa cup with Valencia, follow it up the next season with the Champions League for his new charges, Liverpool, is borderline genius in his abilities.

Even he admitted that whenever he looks at the team celebrating that win in Istanbul he wonders how it happened. Chelsea have gotten, in place of a young manager, an experienced - not old, mind you - campaigner who knows his ways around the block.

If the book makers are wise, they have to start reviewing the title odds now because Rafa is good enough to help Chelsea get the Premier League title. Chelsea have also gotten a manager who just might have the operating manual for the forward - and part time striker - Fernando Torres.

Did Bobby di Matteo deserve the sack? That is absolutely immaterial and irrelevant. He was really never wanted for the job by Abrahamovic. As has been made clear, especially in how long it took for the job to be offered to him – over EIGHT weeks after the Champions League win.

In my preview of the league just before the start of the season I feared that Di Matteo would not be good enough. However, after the team started well enough and with really important wins at Spurs and Arsenal I felt he was probably here to stay. The emotionally charged match with Manchester United seemed to have caused him great turmoil, for things stopped being the same since that match. It might even be that his handling of the "the Clattenburg affair" might be the reason for his sacking, more than the results.

Rafa Benitez is back. He is certainly an entertainer and will ruffle feathers across the Premier League again, especially those of Sir Alex Ferguson up in Manchester. It will be fun.

Twitter: @CalvinEmeka


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