Liverpool Chief Executive Rick Parry has disputed claims by Lucas Neill that he never got to speak to Reds boss Rafael Benitez after Liverpool's bid had been accepted for him.
Neill joined West Ham this week for twice the money on offer at Anfield. Rather than play Champions League football on a contract that would increase in value should he prove his worth, he chose to join a team in the relegations zone. To all those looking on, it seems he chose money before possible glory. And his claims to have been a boyhood Liverpool fan all seem to be quite meaningless.
Parry said that he was sitting with Benitez when he was talking on the phone to Neill: "I don’t know who was on the other end of the telephone talking to Rafa when I was sat next to him, but I’m quite sure it was Lucas Neill."
Neill has tried to deflect attention away from what seems to be his money-first decision, claiming it was a tough choice to make because of his boyhood support of the Reds. Liverpool play West Ham on Tuesday next week, it would be interesting if a Liverpool journalist can ask Neill some of the questions about Liverpool FC that a true fan would know. Neill had said: "It was the most difficult decision of my career. I followed Liverpool as a boy. I had posters of Graeme Souness, Ian Rush and Kenny Dalglish on my bedroom walls, but I didn’t get the opportunity to speak to the real people that count at Liverpool. It would have been nice to hear the manager of Liverpool's thoughts, but because they never got that far in the negotiations, it didn't happen. He possibly could have talked me into it. But I was getting a small, cold feeling from Liverpool and a volcanic heat feeling from West Ham. My decision was based on football."
The player didn't exactly help his credibility in this deal by saying he needed to be talked into a move to his so-called boyhood club, but Rick Parry's statement that Rafa did indeed speak to Neill shatters any credibility that Neill might have had left.
Liverpool FC are clearly better off without him.