It’s tough being a Chelsea fan…largely because of other Chelsea fans

Will Ford
Graham Potter, Chelsea, February 2023

It’s tough being a Chelsea fan right now. But not nearly as tough as it would have been had the club ceased to exist, as was a distinct possibility almost a year ago. We wouldn’t have had Chelsea fans at all, which presumably prompts wistful smiles from everyone save those Chelsea fans.

It’s not the football Chelsea are playing that’s making fandom arduous. Though painful to watch at times, any reasonable fan would be willing to grant Graham Potter the time that almost all fans accepted was required before they started to lose football matches. How grimly predictable that Potter’s leeway was contingent on him not needing that leeway.

Why can’t we have a legacy manager who comes in after a terrible pre-season with a mismatched squad of players, many of whom have spent significant time on the sidelines, in a campaign broken up by the World Cup, without a half-decent striker, and play brilliantly to win games of football?

Because you can’t have everything and Potter wasn’t sent from some ethereal plane. You’re being unreasonable.

Sure, he could have done better. Others would have done. Potter may well turn out not to be the man for the job. But in a season in which the owners have decided the outcomes don’t matter, it would be sensible for Chelsea fans to get behind the manager and team in the hope that next season, and the season after that, and the season after that, they can see the club build a style and ‘Chelsea way’ to evoke pride.

Chelsea were playing pretty well until very recently – dominating games without scoring goals. And any fool can understand why they were struggling to finish chances; they don’t have a player who can finish chances.

That’s not Potter’s fault. And though it’s odd to point the finger at an ownership group that’s splurged £600m, it is truly baffling that only 3% of that outlay was spent on an area of the team where they are currently and historically so short of quality, and which typically costs the most to remedy.

The displays against Southampton and Tottenham were poor. But that downturn correlates directly with the change in mood among the fans, some of whom decided to take it upon themselves to issue death threats to the manager of their football club and his family.

It’s safe to assume if you’re reading this you weren’t among that nest of pr*cks as their literacy skills likely fell short of reading the headline, assuming they had the opposable thumbs to click, but it’s quite possible you are among those who have been booing Potter and the players off the pitch. Potter himself has said he “understands” the frustration and believes the fans have every right to voice it, but do they really?

It’s not as though Potter and the players aren’t trying, and though some morons may believe Potter’s calm demeanour equates to him not giving a sh*t, we should largely be paying little attention to morons.

Surely the fans should be doing everything possible to ensure their team has the best chance of success, but those at Chelsea are currently doing the exact opposite. Presumably they think if they boo enough, Todd Boehly will show Potter the door, but there’s no indication the American owner gives a sh*t what the fans think right now, and frankly, good on him.

How would you react if the manager of your business had been sent horrific emails threatening him and his family? Give them more backing? Fingers crossed Boehly does just that. If nothing else, it will teach those tw*ts that no amount of hate will evoke change at the club they don’t deserve to support.

It’s painful to imagine those same fans singing Potter’s name should he come through this difficult spell and thrive at Chelsea, as they of course would. They shouldn’t be allowed to enjoy success when they take a slump this badly and make it personal.

Unfortunately, the morons will likely win. Potter will be sacked and if the next manager doesn’t win games of football, fans will send that person death threats and they’ll be sacked as well. Because I would challenge anyone to focus on their job and perform after being sent emails wishing the demise of their children. Simon Jordan can go f*ck himself, by the way.

When a club is falling far below their expected standard, conversations centre on who’s to blame. It’s usually the players, the manager or the owners. It’s likely a mixture of two or three but it’s the manager who will ultimately suffer. But in this instance, some of the blame can be apportioned to the Chelsea fans.

Not all of them, obviously, and those delivering the hate mail are clearly in the minority. But Potter has been “out of his depth” from day one and the tide at Stamford Bridge has now seemingly turned irreversibly against him. He must now be regretting his decision to join the club and may even consider resigning were it not to have a lasting effect on the rest of his career. Oh, to be at Brighton again.

If you’re reading this angered by a wokey snowflake take from someone failing to write about Potter’s need to man up and take criticism on the chin, you’re likely part of the problem. Wouldn’t you rather watch and love a sport in which nice guys can do well?

It’s tough being a Chelsea fan, because of other Chelsea fans.