Despite there not being clarity among all of the Chelsea fans as to what Benitez actually say about the club. whether he said we were "plastic fans" or we had "plastic flags" or that he wished "we all died and ended up in the 8th circle of hell where we belonged" I think at the end of the day its irrelevant.
Here is why: we football fans are fickle in the support for our manager and very stubborn in the reasons why we hate other teams/player/managers.
the fact of the matter is, at the end of the day we only really care about the team winning. I give you the example of good old Carlo, we knew he was a good manager, we knew he was a true gentleman both with the press, fans and squad, we knew the team he had at his disposal could just not do any better than they did, but that didn't stop most fans here and in the stadium asking for his head in his last months.
Then we have the case of dear Avram Grant; no one liked him from the day he moved in, I think is was mostly because he lacked any tangible managerial experience at a top club and the fact that he was following Mourinho was never going to help. but what is important here, is that we just didn't like him from the beginning for what ever the reasons were. It didn't mater that we went unbeaten for 16 games or that he managed to beat in Liverpool something even Mourinho couldn't do, or that he took us to our first Champions League final, which could have finished very differently had not Drogba behaved like an 8-year-old spoiled child at extra time when we were dominating united and Terry hadn't slipped when taking his penalty. He even ended his time at Chelsea with a wining average as good as that of Mourinho. All of that didn't matter. we just did not like him from the beginning and most of us were never going to like him what ever he did.
You may say I'm contradicting myself in my two samples; the fact is, i think they are separate scenarios.
THE CARLO SCENARIO: you may be the best manager around and be a nice and as popular as a Justin Bieber is with teenage girls. the moment you start loosing we fans will ask for your head in a plate.
THE HANGDOG SCENARIO: If we don't like you when you come in, its almost certain we wont like you when you come out unless you do something freaking special. even then we probably still wont. sorry old pooch.
I guess by now you know where I think Benitez falls. Although age still hasn't run long enough to give Rafa the characteristic low-hanging cheeks. its all too late for him. We really didn't like him before, we really don't like him now and its pretty bloody certain we wont like him next summer when his contract finish, even if he gives us the league and the champions league (we will all say it was RDM's team, the same way we for some reason gave Mourinho credit for stuff after he left).
So why would he apologize?. Some may hate/dislike him a bit less for his redemption, but I think its almost certain that those fans will feel the same were he to start winning matches and stop us from leaking goals. He knows that if Guardiola takes the job (even if he doesn't, Mourinho may be free then), he will be out the door regardless how well he does.
Also, if he back-pedals on what he said, there is the important fact of the media. if he says he apologises for what he said about Chelsea fans lack of passion/amount of plastic flags/etc. I'm pretty sure the media will spin that in more than a thousand ways, so he will end up being sorry from Liverpool selling Chelsea Torres to the fact that quantitative easing is not having the effect the FED thought it would. That apology and its interpretations will be new headlines in the UK and in Spain (where most people think the whole business is just because he used to manage Liverpool) .
His real apology as well as some interpretations of what he said will follow him for the rest of his career. he will be remembered by every one, as the guy who moved from one club to another and then had to beg fans to accept him, only for the fans to give him two fingers and send him on his way.
What happens if he doesn't apologise then; well, we fans are going to boo him a few more times one way or another and then as long as he start winning will just carry on cheering the team (but not him) as always. If he stars loosing the reaction will be same apology or not apology (complete outrage). Once he leaves; fans of other teams will remember him as the guy who went to do a job at Chelsea and got fired/released with total disregard to tradition and stability only to go for a shinier jewel. they will remember him for his job here and not for begging fans to accept him.
To summarise. He is here for his career, he knows that if he screws this one up, coupled with his Inter debacle he will find it hard to manage a top team again, so he has all motivation to do well. He knows that he wont be here past next summer, so why should he start saying stuff that will follow him for life and will only endear him to people who are never going to like him any ways? but will change how other fans perceive him.
What would be your reaction to a Benitez apology to his comments on Chelsea fans?
Accept the apology, but I still want him to leave in the summer (14 votes)
Accept the apology, and I would want him to stay after the summer if the season has gone well. (11 votes)
Apology? I want him to go back to wait tables as soon as possible. (5 votes)
I'm willing to cheap in so we can pay his compensation now. I'd rather have the teal lady running the team. (4 votes)
34 total votes