It has not been easy being a Chelsea fan this season. From such highs to such lows. The truth is that football in general just does not feel as fun as it used to be and not just because of so many failings we have on the pitch. Off it, we yet again appear to be the brunt of hatred and are inconsistent with our battles against it. The vitriol against our manager (although sometimes justified - why did we replace one right back with another when behind today?) is not helping the side. While our fans remain so unenamoured with Rafa it is hard to see us going forward as a club and I fear for our long-term future.
It is maybe because I have such high expectations of my football club that draws against Brentford and losses against the likes of Swansea and QPR hurt the most. Sandwiched in between all this was a win against Arsenal which although just about deserved could easily have ended up as a stalemate.
It was a beautiful winter's day today with the sun shining and a light breeze welcoming me into Brentford. It was almost a rugby-like atmosphere with pubs on every corner of the stadium, no petty chants from the home fans (unlike some of our peers in West London who act like schoolchildren) and to top it all - terracing! I only stood for the first half as the away end in Brentford provides one of the many reasons why so many despise standing - awful views, no facilities and a feeling of dread should an emergency evacuation be required. The seats in the upper tier would only have suited a quadriplegic and the hamburgers tasted like they contained not just horse but dog meat.
The first half performance was fairly woeful. I can forgive a side sometimes not being able to play flowing football due to a poor lower division pitch but there were other reasons to feel ire. The backpass that Turnbull picked up was simply embarrassing. Foul throws here and there. And a tendency for the side to want to pass the ball back and forth in our own half near the front of our penalty area where the pitch was at its worst.
I have rarely sat with such an air of resignation as I have done under Benitez. At least Di Matteo had the benefit of my doubt but when such basic footballing formalities cannot be completed then to me it reflects a more general problem. The two goals we scored were quite sublime but were overshadowed by such negative feeling from Chelsea fans that the chant, "Things are so bad, we miss Avram Grant" even had a following. At least the good old Chelsea humour was there with, "I would rather be a wasp than a Bee" making rounds as a song.
You do feel quite helpless. You wonder if Hazard's reaction to the ballboy time wasting earlier on in the week reflected something deeper - or is it too difficult to read so much into football these days? Sad times.