Rafa will not walk

Has there been a softening of attitudes in the war at Anfield? Rafael Benitez is now said to be backing down somewhat in his anger towards the owners, but Tom Hicks has already set his heart on sacking him. George Gillett has all-but disappeared, along with his son Foster who departed these shores a month ago without explanation, handing over his duties to Rick Parry, chief executive of the club.

Yesterday News of the World journalist Chris Bascombe saw his article on how close Rafa was to the sack attract massive attention. Hackles of supporters were already up amongst Reds in the wake of Rafa’s recent hints that he was being told to concentrate on coaching not transfers, and those hackles were raised further when the man himself explained more about it after Saturday’s convincing 3-0 win over Newcastle. But on Sunday Bascombe confirmed the rumour that had been spreading – the owners want Rafa sacked.

The outcry was unbelievable – certainly on internet message boards – and today sees fans without the internet back at work and able to discuss a story they may not have heard yet. Does Hicks want to do the unthinkable, and sack Rafa?

Today Chris Bascombe spoke on TalkSport about the situation, and in his view the owners are still planning to sack Rafa – the question still not if, but when. But later in the day Liverpool Echo reporter Tony Barratt quoted a source as saying Rafa was ready to offer an olive branch.

It seems also that there is just one of the owners behind this move to sack the boss. Tom Hicks is the man George Gillett brought on board when he realised he couldn’t buy Liverpool on his own, but stories in recent weeks of bust-ups now match up with the unilateral actions of the Texan. Gillett’s son Foster was getting on fine with Rafa, as far as anyone can tell, until after the Arsenal game when he called it a day and quit his attempts at being a part of the Liverpool set-up.

RAFA BENITEZ is ready to hold out an olive branch to Liverpool’s owners – but his gesture of reconciliation may have come too late to save his job.

Today saw Liverpool Echo journalist Tony Barratt put his latest information forward. He says that “sources close to Tom Hicks and George Gillett insist no decision has been made to sack Benitez,” but without an outright denial it’s pretty obvious who their thinking is going. And those “sources” are almost certainly going to be Rick Parry.

Barratt also talks of Rafa’s wishes to call a truce on the situation. He quotes a “source close to Benitez”, which of course could even be Benitez himself. The “source” says: “Rafa loves it at Liverpool. He loves the people of the city, he loves the fans and he loves the club. All he wants is what’s best for the fans – he gets frustrated when he feels he’s not able to do that.” And the fans know that, give or take a couple that even now are regretting their unnecessary and over-the-top complaints whenever Rafa didn’t win a game convincingly. Sometimes you don’t miss something until it’s gone, and the events of the past few days have made many Reds realise just what they’ve been missing.

The source explained that Rafa got frustrated because he missed out on a transfer for a particular player. In another article this target is named as Kahka Kaladze of AC Milan, who was to be signed to help the crisis in Liverpool’s defence which has seen the squad with only two recognised centre-backs available for most of the season. Despite this, the source says there’s no problem with Rafa working with Rick Parry, and he’s happy with the owners, but he wants to “continue the job that he’s started so he can continue improving the squad in a bid to deliver the title he knows Tom, George and Rick want just as badly as he does. The manager has got a few transfers that he wants to get done, one in January and two Bosmans in the summer but it looks like he is going to miss out on the first one now.”

The move for a centre-half frustrated Rafa most, and that frustration is exacerbated by the time differences between here and the US. The source said of the centre-half that it’s “a position Rafa feels we really need back-up in. The frustration stems from the fact that communication has been so difficult with everyone being so far apart and in different time zones. But the fans should be reassured Rafa has no plans of walking away. He loves it here and his family are settled on Merseyside.”

It’s reassuring to hear Rafa saying he won’t walk away. Liverpool supporters will be behind him throughout this difficult period, and already boycotts and protests are being planned should Hicks allow what seems to be his temper get the better of him and sack the manager we’ve been waiting for since an emotionally worn-out Kenny Dalglish stepped down from the job.

One reason Rafa won’t go of his own accord is because of his absolute love of the city and the club, something he’s never had before. He appreciates in a way he’s probably never been able to express: “He always describes his children as ‘Scousers’ and that makes him really proud,” said the source. “And the fact that the fans have backed him so much only makes him want success even more for them. Even when he guided Valencia to their first Spanish league title in 31 years their fans did not sing his name but the Liverpool fans sing it every single game. Rafa only wants to work for Liverpool.”

Rafa’s unofficial spokesman also sent a message to the owners that it was pretty recently that he was showing his gratitude for their help in signing Liverpool’s best striker in some time: “It wasn’t that long ago that Rafa was thanking Tom, George and Rick for the work that they had done to bring Fernando Torres to Liverpool. He is still grateful for that and hopes that there has been no lasting damage done.”

It may be too late now, with Hicks said to be unmoved in his views. Whether George Gillett can step out of the shadows and resolve the situation remains to be seen, but Rick Parry again seems to be unable to see what’s happening. Either he can’t see it or he doesn’t care. He came close once to letting Steven Gerrard leave the club because he couldn’t be bothered to communicate properly with the captain, and it looks once again that Parry’s stuck with his mobile phone switched off and not at all bothered about the club’s future.

The differences in time zones mean it’ll probably be 4pm UK time before Gillett rolls up at his offices today. He needs to realise that Liverpool are still capable of qualifying for the knockout phase of the Champions League, and that even if they don’t, they are possibly nearer to being able to win the league this season than at any time in many years. If Liverpool won their game in hand today they’d be second, with Arsenal still felt by many to have most of their toughest fixtures to come. Without the Champions League to play in, Liverpool’s chances of winning the league would increase. And they’d increase all the more should Rafa be able to bring in cover for the defence to enable him to play the type of game he wants to play.

Ironically, Rafa’s intentions in striking early in the transfer market are both to avoid losing targets and also to save money.

Now Rafa is reported to be ready to keep his head down and work quietly for the next couple of weeks when Hicks brings Gillett over here to announce his decision on Rafa’s future. The duo can expect a hostile reception, even more hostile than that of the opposition, one of our most hated rivals, unless they act soon to put the record straight on what they are trying to do to our club.

They’ll get to see a hint of the fans’ support for the manager if they bother to watch the Champions League fixture on Wednesday against Porto. But if they dare turn up at Anfield wearing scarves next month with their hangman’s axe hidden underneath it they’ll get more than a hint.

There’s still a way out of this mess for the pair, and if they can swallow their pride then they’ll see that Rafa staying on as manager is by far the best option for a club they claim to be only custodians of.

10 thoughts on “Rafa will not walk”

  1. spot on you are right what you say, hicks to me seems a arogant man. yet if he lets rafa go he will never be welcomed at anfield again. i think like many of us now morres made the wrong choice, DIC would have been the correct choice. the lies the yanks have told us, we will be like the mancs in massive debt and parry is so weak why has he not come out and backed rafa, maybey gillett can blow hicks away. it is noway to run a football club by fax , i guess we all should of known the americans all live by credit i hope this can be sorted and rafa is given what he requires. then we can all move on rafa is one of us he has earned the right, gillett and hicks have not yet,

  2. Rafa will stay or you will see a RED revolution like nothing before.

    Hicks needs to get a grip and realise that Rafa is the man doing the job while they play with their sporting franchises in the States.

    That is the reason why all the fans will back Rafa. We see him as the man to take us forward and win the Premiership.

    These words rings true – IN RAFA WE TRUST!

  3. Rafa has come in and done fantastically, he has given us so much in such short time. Rafa only wants what every fan desires in their hearts and he is not afraid of showing it. He has put his job on the line to try to bring us this success.

    The US owners need to look past their pride and listen to what Rafa is saying. He knows what he is talking about…

    We have to back Rafa during these times, there is no better manager at the helm to steer us to success in the Premiership.

    We cannot let Tom sack Rafa, We are the fans and must get behind Rafa.

    Rafa, you will never walk alone you have the whole of the Anfield red army behind you….

    Parry should listen to those stamping boots from the kop and get his finger out of his arse and start backing his manager.

    The voice of anfield will not be silenced.

  4. Very well put.

    I’m sick of the lies they told us and they need to let Rafa do what he does best – manage our beloved football club. He knows how passionate we are and he is too – the Americans are not and looking back, the wrong decision was made.

    Rafa will be backed unquestionably by us – lets all stand firm and back him 100% – In Rafa we trust.

  5. Rafa has been the best manager to come to Liverpool since Kenny Daglish left, that was 17 years ago, do we really want to go through the same different manager every other season routine becasue the owners don’t what he said. Rafa has passion and feeling for the club and yes will get wound up when his job is held up by hicks and co. Your grown men talk about it, iron out the differences, learn to recognise the concerns of the manager for what they are, improvements for the team and its overall success. Hicks and co need to understand the levels of passion Football evokes, fom the fans to the manager… we have a manager who really does have passion for Liverpool and has set to build a programme to achieve greatness across the whole club from scouting, the academy to the team all for the now and future why would yo want to get rid of someone who has so much passion for the club and its success, it’s more than a job for Rafa it’s his life and that’s the simple difference that sets him apart from others. Yes fustrated you would be if you want to move forward and you’ve got bosses over the atlantic that know more about making money than the passion of the game, surley talking about free transferes of quality players is good for money and who can deny we need a centre back. The Reds fans will revoult if he is sacked…. Long Live Rafa

  6. Show of support for Rafa starts at the Sandon at 7pm on Wednesday before the big match, bring along any banners, scarves, etc.

    Rafatollah will also be given a view for the special occasion!

    Great article by the way, can you forward it onto Hicks please?

  7. spot on, rouman. Being LFC fans themeselves, DIC or even Thaksin was better choice we had over the yanks.

  8. Rafa has broken the code.

    He is not doing things the Liverpool way. He has gone public over an internal argument.

    In all the years of LFC’s success, everything was done behind closed doors.

    Despite all the superstars we have had, the public controversies have been few.

    I have supported the Reds since 1964. I was at the press conference when Bill Shankly retired. He went because they would not give him a seat on the board.

    I knew Mr Smith, the chairman, who (with Peter Robinson) was the architect of Liverpool’s dominance.

    This was because they gave their managers complete control over their own domain. No matter how good or valuable the player, if the manager wanted him out – he was out.

    But the Liverpool creed was, among players and managers, that all disputes and differences were resolved within the club.

    In a way, that management style was ahead of its time.

    As much as I like Rafa, he has broken that tradition by speaking out so publicly and creating a potential crisis.

    His public utterances have created a very public division within the Liverpool FC family and as far as I am concerned it is he who does not understand the “Liverpool way”.

    Even when Gerard H. left and he was not happy, he did not slag off the club or its management.

    If Rafa can get away with criticising his managers in public, what can he do if one of his players crtiicise him publicly?

    Like the way we play on the pitch, everyone needs to keep their discipline.

  9. The Yanks will know how passionate we are if they dare sack Rafa.

    United we stand in our backing of the greatest manager in 20 years (King Kenny took charge of a very good squad, Rafa has built this all up himself)


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