The Greatest Gift the Blues Can Receive is Patience

As the football world is becoming even more popular, a new caliber of fan has been born. This new character amongst the sport is typically very passionate, smart (sometimes too smart), and can even be relatively wealthy. These new additions are great for football both globally and in England. However, this new found passion, coupled with their unfamiliarity with the cyclical nature of football clubs, leads to a considerable amount of impatience. This new attitude is very dangerous for the sport and Chelsea fans would do best to avoid this behavior at all costs.

It is easy to trace this way of thinking back to Chelsea, as we don’t have to look too far into the past to find its origin. A little over a decade ago, the football world was changed forever. Chelsea was bought by a wealthy owner named Roman Abramovich. He immediately instilled a winning culture at Chelsea. The Russian brought in Jose Mourinho to pilot his new, heavily funded project and the Blues would go on to win several trophies in his first few seasons.

Abramovich is not shy of change and this is evident in his treatment of managers. Throughout his period as owner, Chelsea have had 10 different managers, with Jose Mourinho receiving a second chance. This is far from consistency. The Russian billionaire has created the notion that winning is the only form of job stability at Stamford Bridge. He is a ruthless owner, often viewed as a tyrant who has a short-term memory. Yet, I love him, and I’m not the only Chelsea fan who feels this way. The new winning tradition at the Blues is a revelation and his impact cannot be put into words. However, his actions have had side effects.

In creating a “perform or leave” mentality,  Abramovich has also procured a level of expectation from his fanbase, that is truly lacking in patience. Chelsea fans have adopted the Russian’s attitude of winning at all costs. However, they are missing some of the fundamentals of winning.

Throughout the season, it is inevitable that players will experience a poor run of form. Even the best players are not immune from such a condition. Managers take several tactics to remedy these situations. Some drop the player, in order to rest them, while letting another squad member have a go. This often creates a sense of competition, should the squad member perform well. However, this is usually only temporary.

Another solution is to allow the player to play through their poor form, work out all of their mistakes, and earn back the manager’s trust. This is typically the best way to maintain the player’s confidence throughout their rough patch. However, this ideology has become somewhat of a lost art in football, and certainly at Chelsea.

When Gary Cahill had a dreadful New Years Day, fans were immediately calling for his head. Mourinho answered their calls by dropping the Englishman in favor of Kurt Zouma, who performed splendidly in the absence of Cahill. However, in each time that the Englishman was picked after being dropped, his every mistake lead to fans once again asking for his removal from the lineup. This impatience with Cahill is an example of a larger picture that is growing in football. And it must not be tolerated or accepted.

When a player goes through a poor run of form, they are in need of support, in order to get back on their feet (no pun intended). With the lack of support from fans, it’s harder for players to regain confidence and takes longer to hit their stride again. Chelsea fans needed to support Cahill rather than call for him to be sold. This holds true for players like Fabregas and Oscar who are currently trying to find their top form as well. Even guys like Ivanovic have been called out on social media. The Serbian has been nothing short of brilliant for us this season, and the second he has an underwhelming performance against Hull, some Chelsea fans want to sell him, and move Azpi over to right back. This is not a healthy mentality for a team that seeks to achieve stability and dominance over a long stretch of time.

A perfect example of the negative effects of this behavior is Fernando Torres. While his performances for the Blues were certainly underwhelming, the entire blame cannot be put on his shoulders. He may be a man whose price tag caused his eventual demise. However, he is a talented striker. At one point, he was one of the best in Europe, and seems to be finding his form for Atletico Madrid. I think that the lack of fan support contributed to the Spaniard’s downfall. Whenever he missed a shot, it wasn’t just a miss, but a £50 million mistake. That is too much pressure for any one man to bear, and we sure didn’t help him deal with it. While Torres might have been a failure regardless of our actions, I am sure in saying that more support from the fans would not have hurt his playing.

Winning should always be the number one priority. Especially when our owner is investing exorbitant amounts of money. Mourinho is the manager for the job, and Abramovich represents the perfect man to back him. Chelsea have the quality and the motivation to be the major force in England over the next decade. However, it will not be all downstream from here. The Blues will encounter rough patches, slumps and even failures. No team can maintain perfection over long stretches of time, not even Arsenal. However, they do have the chance to be great, one of the best English squads ever. But this will not happen without an unwavering fan base. Their responsibilities will be to get the team back on track, not point fingers. Just as a manager is responsible for getting the best out of their players, fans must have the same attitude. So next time, Oscar makes a poor pass or Cahill a sloppy tackle, let’s support them rather than throw them under the bus (once again, no pun intended).

For more from Tyler Strauss, follow him on Twitter: @tyler_strauss_


One Response to “The Greatest Gift the Blues Can Receive is Patience”

  1. Well said, we need to back our team up and applaud them all the way for they find courage in the appreciation we give and so they can always give their best even when they are failing.