Most Reds today seemed to be together in backing Rafael Benítez in the face of the attack from the idiot without any balls, the faceless, nameless board member who’d gone crying to the Daily Mirror about how he didn’t feel the current manager was up to scratch.
The local press were on Rafa’s side too. The Liverpool Echo – ironically part of the same group as the Daily Mirror – ran stories with headlines like: “Rafa knifed in the back” and “Reds rocked”. Expect even more explosive stories from them in tomorrow’s print edition – stories in that version of the paper tend not to be published on the paper’s internet site and so tend to have a different flavour to others during the week.
Chris Bascombe is the Echo’s chief reporter on all things LFC, and he said that it came as no surprise that Rafa was attacked in this way. He wrote: “Several of the seven man committee have been faceless for so long, they’ve specialised in their anonymity.” He said Moores and Parry must take instant action and call for the immediate resignation of the nameless director. He also said that this was the lowest point of the season so far, saying: “It was presumed Liverpool’s defeat to Manchester United was the low point of the season. Today’s scandal comfortably eclipses this.”
Bascombe went on: “If the ‘influential figure’ had any guts at all, he’d put his name to the comments immediately and allow others to question him on views which are clearly at odds, not only with the majority of Liverpool supporters, but the rest of his board.” He also said: “After everything Benitez has achieved at Anfield, the cowardly attack splashed on the back page of a national paper this morning summoned images of a World War 1 commander complaining the troops on the front line hadn’t done enough to defeat the Germans by 1916.”
Bascombe is a passionate Red himself, and was clearly speaking from the heart, echoing the views of most Liverpool supporters: “At best it’s irresponsible drivel, at worst it represents the ramblings of a man descending into lunacy.”
Bascombe has contacts inside the club and no doubt is told many things he’s not at liberty to reveal. Off-the-record chats about what’s going on. So perhaps he’s talking on behalf of Rick Parry when he says this: “There have long been suspicions that certain low profile members of the Anfield hierarchy have been on a mission of self-preservation for the past 16 years. Their contribution is negligible, particularly in recent times when Moores and Parry have borne the brunt of the public pressure and criticism in attempting to safeguard the financial future of the club.”
And that’s pretty true – until today how many members of the board could you name? Steve Morgan isn’t on the board before you choose him.
And as Bascombe says, the board member who doesn’t deserve that seat is one of those who is regularly seen “enjoying the European jollies which Benitez has provided since his arrival in 2004, but little else.”
He also quotes what that director had said about this summer’s transfer dealings. Laughably the director had said: “The signings we made in the summer cost us a lot of money and they’ve not worked, it’s the same old story. We were happy to spend £9m on a centre-forward but we were told we should be spending £30m. You can’t go out and get a Bentley all the time.” Shocking comments.
As Bascombe points out, Rafa Benítez had to send players out on loan in order to be able to afford to pay some of his summer signings – and most of those were failures bought by the previous manager. And he also reminds us that Rafa’s success in Istanbul has helped swell the coffers quite a bit too, and that Rafa is the “only Liverpool manager in history to win two major trophies in his first two seasons.”
The money Rafa has had to spend doesn’t match that available to the likes of Man United, Chelsea and Arsenal, who Bascombe says “are not only wealthier, but raise far more revenue from avenues such as shirt sponsorship deals.” He suggests Rafa “may well ask what contribution the ‘unnamed source’ has made to raising any funds?”
A big worry of course now is what impact these comments will have on Rafa in the long term: “This is a manager who rejected both his boyhood team Real Madrid and Inter Milan a few months ago, believing he had the full backing of his board and several seasons to bring the title to Merseyside. Both Roy Evans and Gerard Houllier had five years to restore the fortunes of the club, and neither suffered the kind of insult from one of his own board Benitez must tolerate today. If Moores and Parry don’t act instantly, the long-term repercussion should not be underestimated.”
If anything can be gained from this idiot’s outburst to the Mirror today it’s that it might cause a shake-up at the club. Perhaps his seat on the board should be handed to someone who actually cares about the club and not his back pocket, someone like Kenny Dalglish. Other changes may come about too, changes that a new-look board might be better equipped to deal with. Bascombe wrote: “There are deep-rooted problems at Anfield, which everyone at Liverpool is fully aware of but prefer the fans not to consider. Benitez has no control over the Liverpool Academy, which has produced just one first-team regular since the move to Kirkby in 1999. The search for investment has been a painful, and sometimes embarrassing process, and although Benitez’s transfer kitty may compare favourably with teams with aspirations for UEFA Cup qualification, they’re light years behind Chelsea and Manchester United. All these matters are the board’s, not the manager’s, responsibility.”
He ended by suggesting the shareholders in the club should call for an extraordinary general meeting to remove this director, and he also lists the board: David Moores, chairman; Rick Parry, chief executive; Noel White; Terry Smith; Les Wheatley; Jules Burns; John Cresswell.
In another article in the Echo, Les Lawson was asked his views. He’s the secretary of the Merseyside branch of the Liverpool supporters’ club and he too found it “unbelievable”: “I find it totally unbelievable a member of the Liverpool board would criticise the manager who won the Champions League in his first season, with the worst squad since Bill Shankly arrived at the club. He then won the FA Cup in his second season and won more league points in a season for Liverpool since the Premiership began last year.”
Lawson continued: “Whoever is responsible for these comments is completely out of touch with how Liverpool fans think, and I would have thought he’d be more concerned with working towards attracting the investment which would help Rafa build a team to challenge Chelsea.”
Our hope here at AnfieldRoad.com is that this faceless shameless idiot has caused a shake-up that will see him lose his cushy part-time job and all the benefits it brings, and instead bring about some movement on investment. A new-look board might just give us that final boost we need to get back to the full-on glory days we are still very close to getting back to.