No matter how hard we try – Hodgson is not wanted at Anfield

The appointment of Roy Hodgson as Liverpool’s new manager, after weeks of leaks from those senior sources that it’s about to happen, will come as a massive disappointment to a large number of the club’s supporters.

It was 50 years ago last December that Bill Shankly arrived at the club to begin what became a golden age for the club, and although not every manager since then has left the post with as much respect as they had when they started, every single one of them has been supported from day one.

Shanks was succeeded by Paisley, who made way for Joe Fagan, who handed the keys to the bootroom onto Kenny Dalglish. All of those men ended their time in charge with even more respect from supporters than they had when they arrived.

But even when that tradition of promoting from within came to an end, the supporters always greeted the next manager with respect and support. Whatever feelings fans had about them when they ended their time at the helm, Souness, Evans, Houllier and Benítez all started out with the backing of the Reds’ passionate support.

That support is vital for any new manager. But that is just not going to happen with Roy Hodgson.
Continue reading No matter how hard we try – Hodgson is not wanted at Anfield

Independence Day Rally, 4th of July 2010, Liverpool

Liverpool supporters’ union Spirit of Shankly have organised an Independence Day Rally to be held this Sunday, 4th of July 2010, at St George’s plateau, Liverpool at 12 noon.

The event will feature addresses from Karen Gill (Bill Shankly’s granddaughter), John Aldridge (ex-Liverpool striker and board member of Share Liverpool FC), Steve Rotheram (inspirational speaker, former Lord Mayor of Liverpool and now MP for Walton) and Neil Fitzmaurice (actor, writer, star of One Night in Istanbul to name just one).

Spirit Of Shankly representatives will issue their Declaration of Independence.

There will also be live music from Ian McNabb (Icicle Works), John Power (Cast and The Las), Peter Hooton (The Farm), John O’Connell (Groundpig), Pete Wylie (Wah!) and the Sons of Anfield.

Please try and attend and spread the word.

More details:

Reports: Benayoun agrees terms with Chelsea

Reports from Israel suggest Yossi Benayoun has agreed terms with Chelsea for a summer move away from managerless Liverpool. Liverpool have denied agreeing any fee with Chelsea, the Reds believed to be asking for £10m, but it seems clear that the move is inevitable.

Yossi BenayounBenayoun was said in some quarters to be looking for a move away from Anfield because he was unhappy with former manager Rafa Benítez and also frustrated at not getting enough starts. With Benítez gone and the next manager still unknown Benayoun still wants to leave, suggesting it wasn’t just Benítez and a lack of appearances that troubled him. The return to London would give no guarantees over appearances, but Champions League football and a big pay rise are likely to be more tempting than staying at Anfield in the current climate.

Yossi has three years left on the contract he signed for Liverpool last summer and is reported to have agreed a four-year contract with Chelsea. The reports say he will undergo a medical in the next few days before signing for his new club. Of course this can’t happen unless the two clubs do agree the fee, and with reports suggesting they are £6m apart on their valuations there would be much negotiation required before Israel’s captain would be clear to play in front of the plastic flags.

A figure of around £6m seems to be the most likely compromise on the fee, but any fans in doubt as to who negotiates transfers at Anfield will note there is no manager there to negotiate this one. Rafael Benítez left Liverpool earlier in the month after asking for guarantees from the Chairman Martin Broughton that all money from player sales could be reinvested in the squad. The Chairman is understood to have refused to give that guarantee, leaving Liverpool fans wondering whether any of this Yossi Benayoun money will be available to the next manager, whoever the next manager turns out to be. Continue reading Reports: Benayoun agrees terms with Chelsea

Club asked for Kenny’s advice – time to take it

An article that appeared on Anfield Road on Friday discussed an email received the day before from Liverpool’s Chairman, Martin Broughton. The BA man had replied to a note that had been sent to him just a matter of hours after manager Rafael Benítez had been declared the club’s former manager.

In light of the predictable kinds of response the article got (here and on other websites) this is probably a good time to clarify a few points. Continue reading Club asked for Kenny’s advice – time to take it

Broughton responds to criticism of Rafa’s departure

The following email has been sitting in the Anfield Road inbox for a day-and-a-half now. As the hours have ticked by the sense of bemusement at what it contains has grown.

In the wake of the board’s decision last week to get rid of manager Rafael Benítez whilst retaining the services of the (temporary) managing director Christian Purslow, it was felt necessary to vent some anger at the man whose name was on the announcement. That man being the new Chairman, Martin Broughton.

The email pointed out that if Rafa Benítez had been considered a failure, surely Christian Purslow was one too? Wasn’t his main task, the main point he was hired, to find some new investment for the club? People who’ve spoken to him will recall how Purslow bigged himself up as some kind of saviour from the owners and their own failings.

Yet Purslow is said to have completely ignored a genuine, firm, proposal to finance the new stadium. Maybe there’s a good reason why the kind of person with access to funding for a £300m stadium isn’t even worth meeting up with when urgently looking for £100m investment in the club.

If the email had been sent a day or two later it may not have been written with quite the same tone. The anger was at Christian Purslow still being in his job as much as the departure of Benítez. The email was sent with thoughts about leaks from “senior sources” fresh in the mind. The email was sent because there would have been enough evidence of those leaks and that failure for Broughton to act and to end that temporary appointment. Continue reading Broughton responds to criticism of Rafa’s departure

Warmth shows as Benitez bids farewell

It was just over a week ago that the Liverpool hierarchy finally confirmed that they had decided to mutually consent to the departure of manager Rafael Benítez. Benítez was officially announced as the new coach of Inter Milan yesterday, with reports coming out of Italy suggesting his transfer fund at his new club will be an astonishing £80m. But Benítez wasn’t presented to the media and fans yesterday, that takes place next week.

Margaret Aspinall, HFSG chairwomanInstead he was in Liverpool, saying his goodbyes after returning from holiday. One of those goodbyes was to the Hillsborough Family Support Group (HFSG). Just to take time out of what must now be a hectic period for him was a touching gesture from a man who had no obligation whatsoever to do so. But then he handed over a cheque for £96,000 of his own money; it takes little imagination to work out just how moving that gesture was to the vast majority of supporters.

Most of the cynics – because there are always cynics – have wisely chosen to keep their opinions to themselves. The few that couldn’t are best ignored, along with their future opinions on issues surrounding the club.

The HFSG knew that Rafa wanted to meet them and say farewell, and they knew he wanted to make a donation. But as chairwoman Margaret Aspinall explained, the really were taken by surprise: “When he handed me the cheque and I looked at it and saw the amount, it was quite emotional,” she said. “I didn’t know he would be so generous.”

Benítez has seen and felt the pain that Hillsborough continues to cause. The man some describe as cold and unfeeling seems to be anything but when he’s dealing with people who actually deserve some warmth. And Margaret, mother of James who was just 18 when he was taken from her, certainly deserves some warmth. She was clearly taken aback by the gesture and led the calls to persuade Rafa to rethink his request for no publicity.
Continue reading Warmth shows as Benitez bids farewell

LFC must move on, Kenny the right option

Kenny DalglishDebates about whether or not Rafael Benítez should still be Liverpool manager will rage on for as long as there is anything to use as proof for one side or other of the argument. He’s gone, but the debate about him hasn’t. And now there’s a debate about whether his replacement should be the last manager to win the league for Liverpool, Kenny Dalglish.

With Benitez, his performance for Inter will be used as proof he wasn’t good enough. Inter fans themselves won’t expect a repeat of the treble that Jose Mourinho left them with; Mourinho himself wouldn’t have expected to repeat the feat if he’d stayed. Expectations will be reasonable. But the usual elements of the English media and the hardcore extreme critics of Benítez amongst the Liverpool support will use it as proof of how poor he is.

A week ago, as we waited the official announcement of the news we knew was on its way, it became clear that next season was going to be no better than this when it came to the quality of internet and phone-in debate. Whatever Benítez was doing in his new job, if he took one, back in the Premier League every single Liverpool result would be used as proof that Rafa should have been sacked a long time ago, or that the club should have fought tooth and nail to keep him.

Those with points of view somewhere in the middle would have been found rocking quietly in a corner somewhere, peeping through fingers at the site of the last of the family silver being loaded onto trucks headed to the airport for a BA flight to the USA, stopping off at RBS and Midocean Partners on the way.

This article isn’t here to defend or to attack Benítez. He’s gone, he won’t be coming back – other than to make offers for players or staff he knows the club would struggle to refuse – and Liverpool fans have to move on too. Continue reading LFC must move on, Kenny the right option

New crack at fan ownership – SoS to launch credit union

With hundreds of Liverpool protesters turning up at short notice last night to protest at Anfield about the owners and Christian Purslow, it’s clear that anger amongst supporters shows no sign of fading. Today the Liverpool supporters’ union, Spirit of Shankly, announced a plan that they hope will help fans take the club back from the banks, the profiteers and the personal empire-builders.

Last night’s protest, which saw the US flag set alight by supporters trying to send out a message to the owners rather than their compatriots, wasn’t actually organised by SoS, and perhaps that’s why it caught authorities by surprise with the turnout much stronger than it seemed they were expecting.

Although members of the Spirit of Shankly committee joined in, it was in their capacity as supporters. It was a supporters’ protest. Although it happened just hours after the club announced their sacking of the manager – dressed up by lawyers as “mutual consent” – it wasn’t a protest about the departure of Rafael Benitez. Of course that was one of the issues that had angered many of those there, but not just for the act itself more for the way it had been planned, more for the way the club had gone about it.

Some of those there felt the best way to get a message out to the owners back in the USA was to burn the US flag. Anyone with an understanding of the situation knows that this wasn’t aimed at the people of the USA, but at the people from the USA who own the club. No doubt those who set fire to the star spangled banners would love the USA to get together and shame the owners into accepting a fair price for the club, and if the US people don’t like to see such desecration of their national symbol they might find it’s easier to appeal to the owners, stubbornly holding out for an exorbitant price, than it is to appeal to those supporters who really have had enough.

Continue reading New crack at fan ownership – SoS to launch credit union

“Bleeding us Dry” – Well Red Mag special

Issue 2 of Well Red, the new full-colour magazine for Liverpool supporters by Liverpool supporters is out now.

Well Red Mag - June specialBut the man behind the magazine, Gareth Roberts, has also brought out a special free download edition of the magazine, all about “debts, lies and Rafa”.

In the words of the magazine itself: “Well Red is the voice of the people that count at Liverpool Football Club – the fans. Packed with quality articles about all things Anfield – on and off the pitch – the full-colour magazine is a cracking read for any Red.

“There’s no media myths from agenda-led journos and no knee-jerk analysis from Sky Sports drip-fed telly clappers.

“Well Red offers honest opinions on the issues of the day at our great club, exclusive interviews and features about the glory days and contributions from some of the best Liverpool FC writers around.”

The free and print versions include pieces written by Dion Fanning, Tony Barrett, Liam Tomkins, Claire Jones, Gareth Roberts and some guys we’ve never heard of going by the names of Andy Heaton and Jim Boardman. In the print version there are many more articles, including contributions from Dave Kirkby, Richard Buxton and Paul Tomkins along with exclusive interviews with Roy Evans and George Sephton.

You can download the free version here: and Gareth asks that you send the link for the download to mates, post it on forums, Tweet it, Facebook it and generally pass it round to other fans.

Well Red - Bleeding us Dry

To order a copy of the regular printed magazine, go to

Rafa forced out, club say “by mutual consent”.

The management team of Liverpool Football Club and Athletics Ground Limited have made the following announcement about their sacking of manager Rafael Benitez.

As is always the case in these situations, the company agreed with lawyers to term their sacking of the manager as him leaving “by mutual consent”. Having fallen deeper and deeper into debt, the company had got to a stage where they were no longer even in a position to guarantee that money coming in from sales could stay as part of the transfer budget.

Although there were many reasons to be disappointed with the performance of Rafael Benitez last season, he was not sacked for footballing reasons. The presence of Kenny Dalglish as Christian Purslow’s search partner should not be seen as a sign that the club is in the right hands. For Kenny Dalglish not to have seen the efforts over a period of 12 months by Purslow to undermine the manager is a worrying sign of how convincing Christian Purslow can actually be.

Rest assured that the final decision on the replacement for the manager will be taken by Christian Purslow, and he will not be looking for someone who will dare speak out against him again.

For what it’s worth, the statement issued via lawyers and the official LFC company website follows:

Liverpool FC Statement

Liverpool FC today confirmed that Rafael Benitez is to leave the club by mutual consent.

Mr Benitez relinquishes his position as team manager after six years and the Board of Directors would like to place on record their grateful thanks for his services and wish him all the best in his future career.

The Board has now asked Managing Director Christian Purslow, with the assistance of Club Ambassador Kenny Dalglish, to begin a formal search to identify and assess potential candidates for the managerial position.

No timescale has been placed on the process and Liverpool FC will make no further statement until a new manager is appointed.

LFC Chairman Martin Broughton said: “Rafa will forever be part of Liverpool folklore after bringing home the Champions League following the epic final in Istanbul but after a disappointing season both parties felt a fresh start would be best for all concerned.”

Rafael Benitez said: “It is very sad for me to announce that I will no longer be manager of Liverpool FC. I would like to thank all of the staff and players for their efforts.

“I’ll always keep in my heart the good times I’ve had here, the strong and loyal support of the fans in the tough times and the love from Liverpool. I have no words to thank you enough for all these years and I am very proud to say that I was your manager.

“Thank you so much once more and always remember: You’ll never walk alone.”