Rafa offered new deal by both owners?

Quotes in Sunday’s press, reportedly from Rafa Benítez, claiming he’s already been offered a new contract were surprising to say the least. According to the reports, Rafa said he expected to sign the new deal over the summer: “The contract will be done before the start of next season. The owners have said that will be the case, so that is good.”

Tom Hicks said recently that Rafa would get a new deal if he took over, and although Dubai have made no indication of any extension for Rafa if they won the battle for control, they’ve made it known that he’d be a part of their plans. But few expected any offers to Rafa from the current, joint, ownership.

Rafa went on to say in the report: “Every manager likes to have his position clarified. I still have two more years on my contract and I am happy here. That is vital when you look to sign players because they want to know the manager is happy and they are joining the right club.”

It seems odd after all the water that has passed under the bridge to hear now of some real co-operation from the owners.

The idea of replacing Alex Miller, and in effect Pako Ayestaran, with former Liverpool player and coach Sammy Lee is one that isn’t too hard to see a way round despite the stand-off between the owners. Few would claim that replacing two coaches with one, assuming it is done within existing budgets, would be something either owner would block.

Even allowing certain transfers to take place is something that the club could still do with owners who won’t sit in the same room. Budgets of between £10m and £20m net have been mentioned, and if that money is already in the club’s funds, either from the January finance package or the various amounts of prize money and other forms of income the club gets, then it seems unlikely that either owner would actually block the funds from being used for transfers, or for players to be sold as part of the overall summer transfer process.

In cases like those, it protects their investment.

But to offer Rafa Benítez an improved contract seems at odds with the way George Gillett has been acting. He’s made it clear for some time that he wants out. He wants to sell his half of the club, just not to Hicks. And his opinions of Rafa aren’t exactly the kind that you would use to fans to show you back him. So for him to be a party to an improved offer to Rafa, who still has two years left with the club, is strange to say the least.

The fact the quotes appeared in the Sunday Mirror in an article by Simon Mullock are perhaps a sign that they should be taken with a pinch of salt, but to carry direct quotes that haven’t actually been said is a little risky.

Gillett has just been in England to take in the league match with Spurs, but also to attend a meeting with Dubai’s representatives. It was some distance to travel just to see the last game of the season – particularly with Gillett having been ill on a number of occasions recently – suggesting the meeting with Amanda Staveley and others was the main reason for his journey, and in addition suggesting the meeting would be worth his while.

Rafa had said last week in his regular press conference that he wasn’t too sure what was happening in the boardroom, but intriguingly suggested a solution could be forthcoming soon: “All I can add about the boardroom situation is that I am in contact with both of them and we are trying to progress with different issues that we have. I do not know exactly everything about shares, but in terms of what is my responsibility, we are progressing and I am doing my job. Everybody knows the club needs to be well organised and everybody knows what they have to do.

“Who will be in charge? Maybe the final solution will be soon.”

Unusually, compared to recent months, very little has been said in recent days by Gillett, DIC or Hicks.

Hicks did make some comments on the stadium, which got planning permission last week: “Site work will start in September and actual construction in late October, early November, with completion in time for the season starting in August 2011.”

Those comments came on the back of claims that work couldn’t start on the new stadium due to funding worries, but the initial £60m required to get that work underway has been in place since January as part of the refinancing package Hicks and Gillett took out at the time. Other restrictions mean the work can’t start before September.

May has been described as a key month in negotiations for some time now, amidst claims of pre-emption agreements having time limits set to expire in this month, banks having given Hicks only until the end of the club’s Champions League run before pulling the plug on his US loans, and of course a desire from fans to see a resolution tied into the end of one season rather than carrying on into a new season.

A compromise certainly needs to be found if the club is to move forward. Hicks is unwilling to allow DIC to take 50%, Gillett is unwilling to sell even one percent of his stake to Hicks, and DIC are believed to want 51% or more.

100 thoughts on “Rafa offered new deal by both owners?”

  1. Jim, the reason why the story could be true is because all the key players want Rafa to stay, albeit belatedly.

    Hicks is publicly signed up to Rafa. (But what a pitiful interview that was with Sky News!)

    DIC appear signed up to Rafa. (They’re business men. They can’t afford to throw good money after bad. And Rafa ain’t bad)

    Gillett appears on his way – with his shares likely to go to DIC or Hicks who both say they want Rafa. (Gillett – the real PR man – wouldn’t dare rock the boat no, me thinks. He’s sided against Hicks for personal and for ‘keeping up appearances’. Rafa is certainly his best route for getting more millions from potential suitors)

    Heeding Kenny’s words last week and the obvious signs that Rafa will be in demand from other big clubs plus with no obvious successor – how Mr. O’ Neil may regret his recent outburst – why, from a business-sense, would they not offer Rafa a new contract?

    The money he brings in from the Champions League, and the sale of players and the gems he’s uncovering in the reserve and youth teams suggests he’s a business man’s dream. Personality clashes must be smoothed over in our case (because we need the money), unlike Chelsea who could afford to sack Jose.

    But as much as I think Rafa’s great for the club, as you were pointing out Jim the ownership issue is actually the number one priority now we’re in close season.

    The press, bloggers etc can speculate all they like but it is clear that the board and prospective buyers need to be sitting down personally – or at least their advisors must – to get this matter resolved. Talk the talk they might but delivery time is now.

  2. @midlands-red: I understand that MR – but support for Rafa isn’t necessarily as strong as he’d like. A lot of people would have gladly sacked him after the Barnsley defeat, and there’s nothing to suggest we’ll not have another run like the one that led up to that. Will fans be as supportive next time?

    I hope it doesn’t come to that, but for all those with doubts over Rafa the cost of sacking him at the first blip will obviously go up because of possibly higher wages, and a longer amount of time remaining on his deal.

    I’m just a little dubious that this deal has been offered unless either they know, without a doubt, the takeover will be done soon, or GG has softened his stance.

    Hopefully the takeover will be complete soon, a few signs point that way, but we’ll have to see. I also think the relative silence from the main players tells us a lot. But again, maybe I’m reading too much into it.

  3. Agree with Midlands – Rafa’s deal is a no brainer for all sides. I’m sure Dubai are more than happy to let Gillett support Rafa with a new contract. It also kind of closes one of Hicks PR avenues of him and Rafa against the rest.

    I just want this to be finished pronto. I don’t know if I can bare much more of this uncertainty! Rafa (outwardly at least) seems content so that has me less worried. Compare his current state to one back in December when Hicks told him to shut up and coach.

    Rafa is the rock in this whole fiasco and I’m taking my lead from him.

    Please God in a few weeks we’ll be able to look forward to a productive pre-season and winning season ahead. What I wouldn’t give to sit down and watch the Euro’s knowing that the Yanks are back in the US concentrating solely on running their american ‘franchises’ into the ground.

  4. I think that the fact that Gillette has been in talks with DIC is a sign that something is afoot. The 22 May is only next Thursday I think we can expect fireworks in a few days time. Jim are you going to be doing a feature the day before.

    Chavski have signed Bosingwa for 16 million. Sorry to say but we are going to eating the dust next season the silly money that chavski will be spending next season.

  5. What I wouldn’t give to sit down and watch the Euro’s knowing that the Yanks are back in the US concentrating solely on running their american ‘franchises’ into the ground.

    Gillett and Hicks had two of the best hockey teams in the NHL this year, Stephen. Be careful not to let your anti-Americanism lead you into such mindless errors.

  6. Dawg – Yeah but they do not own any NBA or NFL teams now do they? The fact that they own a couple of ice hockey teams between them is nothing really to write home about.

  7. Dawg, I don’t think that Stephen was being particularly anti-American there.

    Hicks isn’t unpopular because he’s American!

  8. Edward // May 12, 2008 at 4:54 pm
    Anthony, please re-read what I actually posted!

    Edward – It sounds like you are prepared to allow a player of his calibre to play for LFC. He is just not good enough to play for LFC. He is hopeless.

  9. Hicks isn’t unpopular because he’s American, he’s unpopular because he’s Hicks. Liverpudlians (David Moores excepted) know a con artist when they see one.

  10. ” Gillett and Hicks had two of the best hockey teams in the NHL this year, Stephen. Be careful not to let your anti-Americanism lead you into such mindless errors. ”

    Dawg – Sorry but as you can clearly see from above you did say that he was being anti American.

  11. Anthony, Edward said I accused Stephen of being anti-American there.

    I didn’t. I was just cautioned him on letting his anti-Americanism (well-documented elsewhere) lead him into making such errors.

  12. No anti-americanism here, I hope….. in the same way no-one can claim to have all the answers, apart from Jim of course! 🙂

    These are such unchartered waters for us all – beavering away very much in the dark – that the shock/horror of the situation facing our great club leads us doubting anything and everything – except that Rafa, Torres and Stevie G etc. are top draw.

    Texas_Dawg – who could be Jim’s alter ego?? I’ve always had my suspicions! – has been good for me/us because he brings a perspective that makes me/you question where all this is going and why.

    But what he has not done is made anyone think that Hicks is good for the club, despite his arguments. In which case, Tom needs to go. Texas_Dawg has tried every PR trick under the sun and it hasn’t worke, so how is Tom to succeed?

    Here’s an idea……

    Just like our mate Gordon Brown, Tom Hicks needs to leave PR alone for a while and concentrate on the one/two big act(s) that would convince people he’s the right guardian for the club. That he has a vision. That we will benefit and it’s not all about him.

    My view is: if he could guarantee to wipe-out the debt – not in a few years time but now (ie transfer it to his holding company) – start building the stadium and tell Rafa – (not us – then Villa will want £20million for an average player in Barry) – he has serious money to spend, then we can go back in time to those heady days when these guys (who happen to be american) announced themselves at the press conference shiny teeth and smiles aplenty.

    Tinkering here and there won’t work. People automatically turn off when they hear Tom Hicks name (or see his interview on Sky Sports News). So Texas_Dawg, if you really do know Big H – there’s a blueprint for him if he wants his £1bn from the club hassle free.

    Ok- it may not be his leveraged (less risky) way of doing deals. But he ain’t got anywhere else to go with the fans……..unless he doesn’t care what we think! In which case just say so, Tom. Then we both know where we really stand!

  13. DIC, Hicks, Who´s it going to be?? Something needs to be done, and soon!! lets hope it is now afoot with the Takeover….
    I am not Anti- American, just Anti Hicks and Gillett, they should hang their heads with shame, the way they have both behaved, and dragged a club with so much respect and Tradition through the mud around the world, slagging each other off in the media, and the worst of it…not telling the exact truth about what they intended to do with the club when they were in the running to buy the club last year. If you open a shop on the high street and lie to your customers you will not last long, and when you lose the respect of the suppoters then that is the time to pack up and move on!!! 99.999% of everyone who support LFC want Hicks out and Gillett, they should both do the Honourable thing, and go!!! If they stay the hatred will remain for as long as they do.

  14. ” No anti-americanism here, I hope….. in the same way no-one can claim to have all the answers, apart from Jim of course! ”

    Jim – With regards to the above, just three questions!

    1. Why do men have nipples.

    2. If there’s a god then why do bad things happen?

    3. Whats the meaning of life?

  15. a mindless error is to compare hockey to the great game of football. firstly, hockey teams are easier and less costly to operate. secondly, the capital injection required is no close to that of soccer.

    its simple, to own a successful soccer team the owners need to inject large amounts of cash into the club. you cant have fly by nights like gillette and hicks owning a club with ambitions of liverpool. maybe sunderland or birmingham.. but not liverpool

  16. Anthony, Rafa picks the team.

    Currently, I don’t have a problem with Rafa.

    I’ll look at it again though at the end of next season.

  17. a mindless error is to compare hockey to the great game of football. firstly, hockey teams are easier and less costly to operate. secondly, the capital injection required is no close to that of soccer.

    Snoogy_Doogy,

    I don’t necessarily disagree. I’m not the one who has brought up Hicks’ other teams in attempt to predict what he will do with Liverpool. I’ve simply corrected the errors of some who have tried to do that.

  18. @Anthony Fakir: 1) Because they can. 2) You’d have to ask him. 3) 42.

    As for putting photos next to your name.

    Register here – http://en.gravatar.com/site/signup – using whatever email address you put next to your posts on here and upload a picture.

  19. Dawg, you’ve posted on numerous occasions that you don’t actually know anything about football! So how can you have an opinion one way or the other regarding the comparison with Hockey.

    Many posters have rightly compared Hicks ownerships of other ‘franchises’ with that of Liverpool and noted disturbing similarities.

  20. Dawg, you’ve posted on numerous occasions that you don’t actually know anything about football! So how can you have an opinion one way or the other regarding the comparison with Hockey.

    Many posters have rightly compared Hicks ownerships of other ‘franchises’ with that of Liverpool and noted disturbing similarities.

    Edward,

    I haven’t said I don’t know anything about football. Just not as much as most people here.

    And yes, I’ve read your allegations of “disturbing similarities” and have explained why they really aren’t any such thing in almost every instance.

  21. Anthony Fakir, Hi there, I spoke to Jim about it recently, they do it on RAWK and i thought that if i post here it would be nice put a pic up, and perhaps on this forum it would be good to know the person your talking to.
    I know Jim has left the link, i think it is a great idea!!!

  22. dawg, I remember debating the issues with you but I have no recollection of you ever offering a credible explanation.

  23. Thanks Edward. I’m don’t think I need to defend myself but I’m far from anti american (whatever that means??). But I am totally anti the way Hicks and Gillett have run our club.

    Anyway if I’m so anti american why do I love the Red Wings so much 8;

  24. @Texas_Dawg.

    Got your last message but this is the first chance i’ve had to reply.

    Interesting about Gillett. I wonder what the motivation could be for any possible U-turn?

    Regarding tranfers budgets, I hope that they are comparable to other big teams. Conceptually, we need at least that to happen otherwise we should fall behind, although that is not always neccessarily the case. A big budget sure would help us catch them up though, and thats what we really want!

    I guess the difference is that Chelsea have just spent 16million on Boswinga and our riposte is likely to be signing Swiss Phillip Degen on a free transfer! lol.

    btw, be sure to give my email address to either of the Toms any time they would like a civil discussion if you can.

  25. Anyone listening to bbc radio merseyside?
    The football fans football phone in is on highly recomended!

    Follow the link

    bbc.co.uk/liverpool/local_radio/index.shtml

  26. There seem to be a lot of contradictions being presented.

    The new offer of a contract to Benitez I’m sure is something Mr Hicks would’ve liked to have done if he tookover if full, as a statement of his support and in an attempt to curry favour with the fans, not presented as something that materialised as a joint decision. And then there’s, as Jim points out, the issue of Gillett. If the decision has been made by both owners then why Gillett? Is he staying on? But that is contradicted by the statements of Rafa saying a resolution may come soon!

    More than ever we remain in the dark!

  27. Dawg – You seeing it now? I had to clear my cache for the new pic to come online.

    Martin/Edward – Are you listening to the radio show?

  28. I wouldn’t spend that kind of money on Berbatov. You could get a much better player who would be less of a liability for that. He is too much of a gamble.

  29. Anthony – There was a guy on who reckoned we ought to buy
    Berbatov for £40 million and Sammy Lee ought to knock Rafa’s head in and play Torres from the start every game?

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