Chelsea fans make their voices heard
At St Andrew's
The public vote was cast within seconds and the winner - vociferously announced by 3,000 voices at one end of St Andrew's - was Jose Mourinho.
And the loser, declared equally emphatically but with a liberal sprinkling of venom from the same quarter, was Mourinho's old adversary Rafael Benitez.
Chelsea fans have not had the opportunity to deliver their verdict on the fall-out from Sunday's sacking of Andre Villas-Boas which leaves owner Roman Abramovich looking for the latest manager to fill what increasingly takes on the appearance of the impossible job.
Roberto di Matteo, sharp-suited and stylish in the dug-out at Birmingham City and watching a 2-0 win which put Chelsea in the FA Cup quarter-final, was taking charge for the first time since being handed control until the end of the season - but there was another guest at his party.
Chelsea fans hold up a sign during their FA Cup replay match against Birmingham declaring their support for the return of former manager Jose Mourinho. PHOTO: Getty
Barely had the banks of cameramen moved away from Di Matteo and this fifth-round replay began before the travelling Chelsea supporters made their wishes clear on a variety of matters currently exercising Abramovich's mind.
The demand for Mourinho's return, a dream which has a great distance to travel before it becomes anything remotely resembling reality, was made almost instantly.
It was a plea for the old order to be restored but it remains to be seen whether "The Special One" and his former Russian paymaster can get even beyond first base before the potentially rocky ground of lines of demarcation can be discussed.
Of equal intrigue, providing the backdrop to a first half which came perilously close to flouting its billing as entertainment, was the vehemence attached to the name of the man it would appear many Chelsea fans do not want.
Benitez did everything but openly declare his hand, and consequently his interest, in a live interview with BBC Sport from the Emirates.
He had just watched Arsenal come within one goal of threatening a comeback against AC Milan to stand alongside his own greatest moment against those same opponents on the balmy night in Istanbul in May 2005 when Liverpool came from three goals back to win the Champions League on penalties.
And yet if the open revolt against his potential candidacy at St Andrew's is any accurate measure, there is no appetite for Benitez among Chelsea's following.
I believe Chelsea's hierarchy were aware of the anti-Benitez feeling among the fan base even before he took a verbal coating on Tuesday and that his chances of being appointed as Villas-Boas' successor cannot be rated much above nil.
It seems that Benitez, out of work since being sacked at Inter Milan last season, is paying the price for his notoriously spiky relationship with Chelsea and Mourinho in the matches that provided pivotal moments in their Premier League careers.
Benitez may have lost a League Cup final to Chelsea in 2005 but he twice overcame Mourinho in Champions League semi-finals and also had an FA Cup semi-final win to savour in 2006.
He slipped against Chelsea on other occasions but this was when Avram Grant and Guus Hiddink were at the helm.
This appears to have fatally damaged his standing among Chelsea supporters, to the extent where they are willing to make public their disapproval despite Benitez having shown he can devise the sort of strategy that wins the trophy Abramovich craves above all others.
Nothing was heard of Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola's name while it appears the Chelsea oligarch's own approval rating may not have taken too much of a hit despite the latest managerial change as he was serenaded with: "Roman Abramovich - He Sacks Who He Wants."
As indeed he does.
In the middle of this stood Di Matteo, declaring that Chelsea were now "a happy family" while sparing a thought for the departed Villas-Boas, which is more than the supporters did as they hurriedly moved the agenda along to his replacement.
The Italian was cagey on most matters, even whether he had spoken to Villas-Boas, although it is clear the main mission he has been handed is not to win the FA Cup but to make sure Chelsea finish in the Premier League's top four.
This will be the position from where Abramovich can attract his prime target.
He will not have departed Birmingham a much wiser man for a Chelsea performance that eventually deserved to set up a home tie with Leicester City in the last eight.
More pressing tests will come when Stoke City visit Stamford Bridge on Saturday before the second leg of the Champions League tie against Napoli, where they will try to chase down a 3-1 deficit.
Chelsea sealed the win with two goals in swift succession from Juan Mata and Raul Meireles early in the second half, but the first half was desperately unconvincing and Fernando Torres still looks like a striker incapable of scoring.
Di Matteo had the luxury of being able to bring captain John Terry back into the fold as an unused substitute, way ahead of schedule after knee surgery.
He was joined on the bench by Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba, with the next week likely to reveal more about the part they will play in the rest of Chelsea's season.
The rest was a matter of getting a job done, getting the win that lifts the turbulent air around Chelsea and bringing Wembley into sharper focus. These are the little victories Di Matteo must achieve.
As ever under Abramovich, the big goal is the Champions League. Di Matteo must make qualification a reality for there to be any chance of realising the dreams of the supporters who want a Mourinho homecoming.
Mourinho does not do Europa League, which means the hard work for the Di Matteo holding operation starts now.