A Fanbase Divided: Chelsea and Social Media

DISCLAIMER: This article in no shape or form is targeting any fan over their beliefs and opinions on Chelsea Football Club. It instead aims todiscuss the different perspectives fans have on the club. It will also explore the factors in why fans are in disagreement with each other on social media and touch on the different sorts of fans in the utmost respectful manner.

Chelsea's squad celebrate scoring.
Chelsea have endured a difficult season, but it could still end in good fortune. Image Credit: Chelsea FC Twitter via Getty Images.

Chelsea and Social Media: An Introduction

  In sports, fandom is everything. It is what makes a team go that extra gear when they hear their stadium roar. The adverse response from fans can also cause certain players to get triggered and affect their performances in their performances. This is what defines the atmosphere of competitive sports, giving professional athletes the support that they need.

Mason Mount has suffered abuse on social media.
Mason Mount has impressed in 18 months of senior football at Chelsea. Image Credit: Mike Hewitt/PA.

Not only are fans diverse but many perspectives over the club’s ambitions are causing friction throughout the fan base. The constant managerial change is a huge factor in why many fans disagree with the board’s decisions. This may have started a while back ever since social media became the focal point for fan’s opinions.

Now, individuals use media platforms to voice their frustration and target individuals when things start to go south. This isn’t just in football but sports in general as the aim to persuade one another with their opinion is what drives certain people to lash out at each other. 

The Effect of Social Media

Before Twitter, or any type of digital social network, the fanbase’s verbal battleground was the stadium itself and the local pubs. The introduction of the Internet has, for better or worse, given fans the voice they never had back in the day.

Additionally, professional footballers use social media presently like everyone else to hear from their local fans which includes criticism or praise, and sadly also abuse. The pro quo that most athletes don’t care about social media is really far from the truth and it can affect the players’ mentality.

Every football team now has its own social media department that is managed by their marketing team which promotes the club’s image. The upbringing of this new generation has allowed fans to affect footballers in their work and their personal life. This ignites pressure on footballers after certain people harass or target individuals after poor performances.

However, a lot of these people could be classified as trolls, who are those who make incendiary comments for attention and clout. This comes to the point of the Chelsea fans that are at odds with each other. This isn’t as black and white as people may seem with many thinking that you’re either with the club or against it.

Moreover, the banter side of things makes it even more crucial for fanatics to not want their club to lose. To see a club back in a rebuild can lead to a 180 turn on the club. The urge to win becomes grave and so does the criticism. Memes intensify online debates when a club loses and other fan bases immediately banter the other. So the rivalry between one another branches into arguments and can catapult people to agitate their arch-rivals. 

The Different Dimensions of Social Media

While the support of numerous fans come well embraced, clubs are susceptible to toxicity on the internet. This will unfortunately will always be the case unless a filtering system is implemented. On the other hand, the frequent points of debate are the direction of the club.

This could be the main talking point for Chelsea fans with various disagreeing with the way the board has acted over the last couple of years. Despite the constant managerial change, Chelsea has gone on to win 3 trophies in the past 4 years. One could say why change when we’re winning titles? Some could also say that isn’t the bigger picture.

The plan to get back on track is the goal most fans desire especially seeing Manchester City (and also Liverpool last season) run amok in the league. The lack of patience between managers is a major factor why the fanbase continue to fight with one another.

Frank Lampard’s appointment as Head Coach led to much debate. This as consequence, created the ‘Lampard In’ and ‘Lampard Out’ brigade. The argument that you’re either with Lampard or against became the focal point in online debates. As mentioned earlier, things shouldn’t have been as black and white.

The departure of Maurizio Sarri left a sour taste amongst fans after securing the Europa League trophy and champions league football. Nevertheless, the Sarri supporters and Lampard supporters enhanced the tension between Chelsea fans due to the disagreement between the youth and the already established players. The disaccord between the supporters of pro-Lampard and the Lampard Out brigade also ignited harassment in our academy. The harsh criticism of Mason Mount is another good example. 

The Cobham Academy: Prejudice or Promise?

  Mason Mount has been vocally praised by many pundits, including several Chelsea legends. This, however, hasn’t been enough for certain people, who still refuse to credit Mount whenever he had a good game. The poor reception originated from Frank Lampard consistently selecting the midfielder. Something which has continued under Thomas Tuchel.

The argument of protecting Mason from unfair assessment divided Chelsea fans more than ever. Furthermore, the agendas paved the way to build up unwarranted judgment on the academy.  Lampard insisted that the youngsters were getting opportunities based on merit and not on favoritism.  

The decision to try out youth players, whilst welcomed by some was criticised by others. Certain senior members of the squad- Marcos Alonso, Antonio Rudiger, Olivier Giroud, Jorginho have all had spells out of the squad in favour of junior players. This has led to some people going as far as to discredit Chelsea youngsters, purely to express why the above should play instead. This has continued after Lampard leaving the managerial role. Thomas Tuchel may be reinstalling some of these senior pros, but it is very clear he will still be trusting the youth.

Concluding Thoughts

We each all have our own expectations of the club and this will not change.

However, even with the appointment of Thomas Tuchel, our fan base continues to be divided. There are clear difference of opinion over playing styles and players.

Social Media is split and it is necessary for Thomas Tuchel to rebuild the club.
Thomas Tuchel has set about rebuilding a fractured squad. It is up to the fans to do the same. Image Credit: Getty Images.

Hopefully though, we can help bridge a connection back to our fans and help support the new manager despite the separate beliefs we might have. The use of social media has magnified the voices of the most but in essence, created a rift between our club that could continue until Chelsea regain that dominance they once had.

Written by Rey Stevinho (@Rey_Blues30)

Edited by Rob Pratley

 


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