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.
- The email replied to had been sent a matter of hours after Benítez was sacked/released.
- The email reply was received a week after Benítez was sacked/released.
- It was good to receive a reply of any kind.
- The delay in replying is not an issue and has never been claimed as such.
- The length of the reply is not an issue and has never been claimed as such.
- Rafa has gone, but the board haven’t. Therefore it remains relevant to debate their successes and failures, whether that relates to the former manager or not.
- Rafa has gone, as was just said. But don’t worry – finding fault with anyone else at the club will not bring him back. Relax. Now you’ve relaxed, try accepting that there have been failings by the club’s hierarchy.
- It is difficult to take seriously comments along the lines of “This is not Rafa FC, go and support Inter if you’re that bothered”, when it comes from someone posting it from underneath their Peter Crouch avatar or using their Xabi Alonso username.
- You do not need to see the original email to be able to discuss the reply. You are probably just being nosy, or clutching at straws to try and protect your long-standing stance on Rafa (who left last week and won’t come back just by you being slightly critical of the club’s hierarchy).
- A senior member of the Anfield hierarchy, some weeks before the departure of Benítez, had been at pains to point out repeatedly that Broughton was “only here to sell the club” and would have no say in the future of the manager.
- This site will not implicate certain people by revealing full details of the correspondence with Martin Broughton. Furthermore, and following on from that, this site does not wish to jeopardise something it is aware is currently going on.
It can’t be emphasised enough – Rafa has gone. But that does not mean that everything the board or owners did relating to the manager should now be forgotten. He won’t be coming back, so why such fear of discussing matters relating to the hierarchy’s dealings with the former manager? If it was previously because of a worry it would weaken the campaign to see him gone, it can only be about saving face now because (believe it or not) he really has gone.
In time we might look back at the decision with as much regret as we look back on the decision to accept the resignation of Kenny Dalglish in 1991. We might look back on it as the right decision made at the wrong time, we might look back on it as the right decision made at the right time. Only time will tell. But the decision was made and we move on.
But where we are up to now is trying to prevent a repeat of the next big decision of 1991. That was the decision to give the manager’s job to Graeme Souness, a decision that most Liverpool fans wish had never been made.
The club told fans Rafa’s replacement would be chosen by Purslow and Dalglish. Then Dalglish was reported to have stepped aside from that search, considering himself to be a better option than any of the names on the shortlist, so now Purslow looks for the replacement all by himself.
Last week Kenny’s opinion was important. He was the man guiding Purslow and the board. Now we learn that at least one member of the board is angry about Dalglish’s decision to tell friends and family and in turn allow his wishes to be made public. And now all of a sudden Kenny’s opinion seems less important.
We know now, of course, that Purslow can’t appoint the replacement all by himself, so perhaps there’s a little bit of reassurance. Except that two of those involved in the final decision actually thought Jurgen Klinsmann might be a good Liverpool manager. He wasn’t a good manager for anyone, let alone Liverpool.
But as misguided as they were in preparing to sack Benítez at that time, and as bad as the choice of Klinsmann was, at least they actually looked at some options for his successor. They referred to it as an ‘insurance policy’. Perhaps Rick Parry, for all his faults, pointed out that they should find a replacement before they sacked him.
Those now running the club have little football experience and it should come as no surprise to learn there was no such insurance policy in place this time. At least one member of the hierarchy was making noises about his distaste for Benítez in the first half of the season, letting it be known he didn’t see Benítez still at the club next season, but still no move seems to have been made to get a suitable successor lined up.
Kenny Dalglish made it clear that the names on the shortlist weren’t good enough for Liverpool Football Club, according to recent claims. If the owners, the chairman and the managing director overrule him and still choose one of those names it would show a startling lack of respect for the opinion of a man so important to the club and its fans. If they didn’t respect or want his opinion, they shouldn’t have asked for it in the first place. If they expected him to just go along with their opinions, they don’t know him very well at all.
They now have no option but to hand the job to Kenny or find the funds that would attract some more suitable names to the club.
Go with the original list and there is a real sense that a backlash awaits the next manager.