Roman: The Gift That’s Stopped Giving?

I’m sure it hasn’t escaped regular TCB readers’ notice that I’ve been a lot less active on here over the past few weeks. The truth is, for probably the first time in my many years supporting Chelsea, I’m at a complete loss for words – or at least I don’t have anything to say that won’t sound like the whingeing toddler in a supermarket you implore its mother to ‘sort out’.

I vaguely remember feeling like this before, when Avram Grant benefited from Jose Mourinho’s departure.  As far as I was concerned, he was a charlatan shoved into the role simply because the manner and speed in which Jose went didn’t afford other options. The fact that even his coaching badges were questionable only served to underline the inappropriateness of his position even more than his press conferences did. The difference with Grant though is that I was motivated enough to rant about it on here – frequently. This time, it just feels pointless.

Back then, in spite of hearing he’d leave us in the lurch a lot more than we hear it now, I always believed Roman had Chelsea’s best interests at heart. The appointment of FSW has burst that little bubble.  From day one, I’ve always defended Roman against suggestions of us being a plaything he’d soon get bored of and walk away from, leaving us ruined – and to an extent I was right because he hasn’t walked away (yet). The irony now though, is that it would seem he might actually be doing more damage by staying.

And before you start wading in to remind me just how much we’ve had out of Roman – I don’t actually need reminding. I’m aware of where he got us to and of course I celebrated what felt like the pinnacle of that in May – but everything that’s happened since that night has chipped away at the faith I once had in our benefactor.

Not that I’d never questioned decisions before, I had, plenty of times. And the heavy-handed approach was already in evidence, not just with our many managers but with players as well. The treatment of Anelka and Alex was never comfortable even before AVB’s exit, but he probably bore the brunt of that. Malouda suffering a similar fate now and the whole Lampard ‘situation’ expose the board a little more than they allowed before though.

Roberto Di Matteo’s sacking and FSW’s appointment in November though, that was the defining moment for me. Right there. Of course, RDM was never viewed as a long-term appointment, heels were dragged worse than a lush in stiletto’s over that from the off, so it was never a good sign. The choice of successor though, interim or not, now that was as narcissistic as it gets, just as his staying is, in spite of a worse record than the predecessor. If anything smacks of ‘this is mine and I’ll do as I please’, the current stance does – and it’s a stance that’s been harder than ever to ignore since that night in May.

So, I suppose the realisation that makes me struggle so much with an opinion lately is that we can stamp our feet as much as we want, it has no effect. In fact, the sad truth is, for all our shouting and ranting – we don’t even have a voice anymore.


11 Responses to “Roman: The Gift That’s Stopped Giving?”

  1. Great article and an excellent read but I would ask one question: exactly when did we have a voice?

    Not during the Abramovich era, certainly. And I mean no disrespect to him and/or the board when I say that. It is his club, and while I have not agreed with everything he’s done I have to say that in hindsight he has mostly been right.

    We havent had a voice in Ken’s era either. We could discuss fences, the electric fences, catering, the sale of players – we had no real voice.

    Further back, in Mears’ time it was blatantly apparent fans had no input. Everyone could see the end of the club coming even before that sale to Marler went through, but no one could do anything about it.

    In my opinion, the nearest we got to having a say was during the Save The Bridge campaign way back when. At least the Board seemed to want to listen then.

    I think we have to face it that we are dealing, not with a family club, but with something approaching a multi-national. Chelsea are a corporate company, and like all other corporates, will pay lip service to its customers because it’s good PR which benefits the company. Not because the fans matter, other than as a source of income.

    I personally cant see a problem with this at the moment. I am worried, yes, and have lost some faith in the board, but ultimately I trust Roman and his instincts to do the right thing more often than the wrong thing.

  2. Great post.
    Watching the Newcastle game I didn’t feel upset the whole time.
    I’m sure many fans would of known before the game we would come away with nothing and for once i didn’t feel anything.
    Even if Roman and the board did decide to listen to us and sack Rafa where does that get us? Another sacked manager and even less stability.
    Firing RDM for FSW was the ultimate middle finger to the fans who are feeling very confused about where the heart in this club now.

  3. is now*

  4. Bluebrain – I take your point about us not genuinely having a voice even before Roman, I’ve always referred to Chelsea as ‘my’ or ‘our’ club previously. It doesnt even feel as if I can do that anymore and its soul destroying.
    As Baguru quite rightly says, the appointment of FSW really was showing us all the middle finger.

  5. I really cannot see what all the whingeing is about….so we have an ex Liverpool manager and yes he said we were this and that….so what….grow up….he is the manager of our club.
    We have never had a voice at Chelsea….even years ago when Ken took the realms and we met him at several fan meetings…..we complained about the toilets in the shed….he said ‘ new toilets or new players’…in other words…shut up!
    We are fans…not even shareholders….you go , you support, you stay or leave….
    RDM was never the man for me…..maybe in the future but not now…he got lucky and his luck was starting to run out…Roman saw and it reacted….unfortunately results have been not a lot better…..but there is really is no-one else for the job…..YET…so better shut up, sit tight and wait and in the mean time back the club…manager as well!
    We seem to have certain players controlling the club on and off the pitch and for me it is not healthy…..bring in the young blood Hazard and Oscar and others…yes possibly let Frank go…..he’s done a good job and been well paid for it…….others will come in, others better than him too….
    As far as showing us the middle finger…..he took the best man at the time…..and if you cannot support him (Roman) in his decisions…….then you all deserve the middle finger!

  6. Can agree with some of your points Jockney but you said it yourself.
    “We seem to have certain players controlling the club…”
    That is happening because of us not backing a decent manager for the long term. The players know they are more important then the manager and do not respect him.
    Should we really start showing commitment managers now with FSW?
    I sure as hell hope not.
    Not coz he is ex Liverpool, but because he is incompetent and has the one tactic which every single team has figured out in every game with him, bar a couple and we have either been lucky to get away with a win or succumbed to mediocrity.

  7. Unfortunately we were playing the same style of football latterly under RDM….and note how one of the big clubs has come in to offer him a job as manager…NOT!
    More I believe will be revealed after certain players have left as I do think they have too much off field control and the fans are being mugged off…..
    Rafa might/might not be the man…..but not giving him a chance and not respecting Roman’s decisions is laughable….basically only backing him when we are winning…if that be the case…f..k off and support one of those northern clubs who behave like that!
    Incompetent people cannot be judged after 6-8 games…..regardless of who they are….he has a decent background and you cannot hide that??
    I can imagine there are loads of you out there who would have run a mile under Danny Blanchflower…we were truly crap…..but we kept going and backed him until he was fired…..you do not need to agree with his tactics but until the manager is fired……supporting means just that???

  8. I understand man you’re right. Supporting is just that. And it is very obvious the players have a lot at fault. We have got great young prospects to be a dominating team over the next 10 years. We just need the right manager to guide them. I feel Rafa hasn’t got a chance without the fans and players respect.

  9. I personally blog too and I am composing something very close to this article,
    “Roman: The Gift That

  10. Why would the players respect any of our managers when its quite clear Roman and the board never do

  11. Oh PLEASE ! We are currently sat in the top 3 and with a squad in transition. What you have to remember is the state of the club before Roman arrived and where we are now. Forget the trophies for a couple of minutes and think of the training ground before Roman and the training ground post Roman, I know having spent lots of time there with my kids its a different club entirely and we shouldn’t just consider the team and manager.

    Having said that the PR machine at Chelsea is awful and Lampards agent has totally got the upper hand in any negotiations as he did the last time Frank was up for a new contract. If i was to change anything it would be that, the PR as the vitality of the club is still beating loud and clear in the area of the club it always has in the junior sides.

    Our football is without soul at the moment and we need one or two good signings to liven things up. Either that or promote / bring back some of the talent we have already at our disposal. That would give the first team the passion it lacks but may mean results wane.

    Rafa will be gone soon, he may bag a trophy but for me I would like to see David Moyes in the hot seat with complete autonomy and the likes of Lukaku, De Bruyne, Josh, Kalas back to give the team much needed energy and passion