Be wary of Hicks spin as he fights for Reds support

Liverpool supporters need to be careful in the coming weeks that they don’t fall for the PR spin that will undoubtedly be served up by Tom Hicks as he aims to get Liverpool supporters falling for his stories and promises once again.

He’ll use the promise of a fancy stadium and the so-called £17m signing of Javier Mascherano to boost his claims that he cares about the club, hoping that we soon forget the lies and deceit of the past few months in particular, but that have been there since the day he first spoke of his plans for the club nearly a year ago.

He’s also keen to try and play on Liverpool supporters’ mistrust of the press, a mistrust that stems back at least to 1989 when The Sun lied about Liverpool supporters and what they had done to their dying and dead fellow supporters on the day of the Hillsborough disaster. Those lies were deeply upsetting, and the ‘newspaper’ was soon boycotted. For a paper that sells over 3 million copies in the UK, it now sells just 12,000 in the Liverpool area – where it used to sell around a quarter of a million.

In deflecting the blame and trying to deny claims about him yesterday, Hicks used the word “tabloid” three times, unprompted, to try and convince listeners that he was the victim of more tabloid lies. But the stories and allegations haven’t just come from the tabloids. The broadsheets have covered the stories, as has the BBC – the whole of the media is in on the truth about Hicks. Using our mistrust of the tabloids won’t work, not for most of us anyway. He even denied having spoken to DIC yesterday, before admitting that he had after all, dismissing it as unimportant because it was “months ago”. It still happened, so denying it is still a lie! And according to more reports, he was still speaking to them last week.

Liverpool supporters certainly gave Hicks the benefit of the doubt, even when the evidence was mounting against him. Where he came unstuck was when Jurgen Klinsmann was offered the job at Bayern and more weight was added to the claims he’d been offered Rafa’s job by the owners. The minute Hicks admitted that any doubters saw the light. Hicks has not been honest. And as soon as they have seen one subject where they were wrong to trust Hicks, they started to question other subjects.

But some supporters are still far too trusting. They already falling for the words Hicks used in his statements on Friday and his interview yesterday and have started to think maybe he’s not so bad after all.

That’s a dangerous approach to take. Hicks does not deserve the benefit of the doubt any longer. Even yesterday he lied about having had contact with DIC, before admitting the truth. The best way he had of getting back the trust of the majority of the Liverpool supporters was to show that the lies were now all in the past. But that’s not how he sees it. He thinks he can still lie to supporters, that they’ll fall for it all again.

So it’s important that we don’t. Listen carefully to what he says. And make sure any supporters you know who don’t have access to the internet are also careful to read and listen carefully.

One subject Hicks will use in the coming days is the signature of Javier Mascherano. Arguably the best holding midfielder in the world – (and if he isn’t now then he soon will be) the Argentinean is currently on an 18-month loan deal at Anfield, which expires in the summer. It’s no secret that there is a £17m agreement in place to see the player stay at Anfield for five more years after that.

Hicks has now told the press that he will allow the signing to go ahead – after he’d blocked it back in October when he told Rafa to shut up and coach.

So, surely, if Hicks is willing to find £17m from somewhere he must have the club’s best interests at heart? Not exactly. But he’ll be happy to see the headlines make it look that way. He will be happy to see the tabloids work for him in this instance. Except the deal isn’t quite what it sounds.

This was rumoured some time ago, but The Liverpool Way fanzine say they’ve now had confirmation that it’s true. The £17m covers everything – the fees to the owners of the player, and the player’s wages – for five years. It doesn’t even have to be paid up-front. The whole amount can be spread over five years, at a rate of under £3.5m per year. Mascherano’s owners will get a fee of a few million – at most £4m if Mascherano’s wages are £50k per week.

With the departure of Momo Sissoko looking close to happening, if not now then in the summer, the club will in effect be better off. They’ll save on Momo’s wages, and they’ll get around £9m in from his transfer. If it all works out then it’s going to be quite a deal, but not because of the generosity of Hicks, purely because of how Rafa will have exchanged Momo for Mascherano, and with change left over.

The same website have also got wind of how a big chunk of money has been spent with little to show for it. £15m has been spent on getting four different sets of plans drawn up for the stadium, and also on the services so far of a consultancy firm who’ll be liaising between the club, the architects and the builders. All that money spent, a third of the amount the club was in debt by prior to the takeover, and nothing more to show for it than some admittedly impressive drawings of a stadium that still can’t be built. There’s going to be another long process needed now to get the various permissions in place, which if successful will mean some work can finally start on building – but not too much, because very little of the required finance is in place for that. The club still need to get a £300m loan before they can finish the stadium, which is already going to be a finished a year later than promised at takeover.

So whilst it seems money is no object when it comes to getting drawings done, there are still issues with Hicks over just how his policy on transfers stands up to scrutiny. Last summer’s spending should not have required any borrowing, the club having brought in more than in previous seasons, and having spent much the same as in previous seasons. The Champions League income alone was higher than the net spending on transfers.

Martin Skrtel’s signature came in January, and is used by Hicks as a pointer to his intentions, to somehow prove that he’s now fully supportive of the boss. Skrtel’s fee was slightly less than Rafa had left over in his budget from the summer after the Gabriel Heinze move fell through, and will be paid in instalments over the next few seasons. The first payment for Javier Mascherano won’t be due until the summer, and in any case it doesn’t take much to work out that Momo Sissoko’s sale (£9m) would be enough to pay for both Mascherano’s first year (£3.4m), and Skrtel’s full fee (£5.6m).

Of course Skrtel’s fee doesn’t have to be paid in full just yet, and with Rafa interested in signing Pablo Aimar, a player he worked with at Valencia from Real Zaragoza, part of the Momo money could be used for the Argentinean playmaker. Whether or not this deal can go through in the last couple of days of the transfer window remains to be seen, if it does then perhaps it will work out that a little investment in the squad has finally been forthcoming, although of course that can soon be cancelled out by sales in the summer.

The big problem here is that we are talking of relatively small amounts of investment in the team after prize money and sales have been taken off. Investment of literally just a few million pounds, when the club is going to have to pay the interest on a massive total of £350m in loans.

Before the takeover we had our eyes on a new stadium and we had debt of around £45m, we also needed investment in the playing squad to allow us to compete with our rivals. A year later and we are now in debt, directly and indirectly, of £350m, and that’s before the stadium costs are included.

This loan has just bought them time, it only lasts for 18 months, and seeing as it’s already taken them 12 months to come up with a set of stadium plans that they think they will be able to afford then it’s easy to see just how short that time is. It took them nearly six months to get this interim loan, how long will it take to get the funding for the stadium. And Hicks refused to speak about the debt when interviewed by Five Live – and so we don’t know what rate of interest this finance has been taken out at. What was Hicks hiding? Where is George Gillett, if the deal is as good as Hicks says?

So please, don’t fall for the Hicks spin, and do all you can to warn fellow supporters, with or without the internet, that the battle mustn’t be allowed to fizzle out now. Hicks is not to be trusted – and even though he asks to be judged on actions instead of other people’s words, his own words are also something he can be judged on. His own words feature lies and broken promises. His actions have seen us lose ground in the battle to be a contender for the title and very little else.

On Thursday night there’s a meeting of various people involved in LFC websites, fanzines, associations, clubs and so on to discuss what can be done to continue putting the pressure on the owners. I’m hoping to be there too. If you’ve got any ideas on showing the owners that this battle goes on, that we won’t be lied to, that we want our club back, if not completely then at least in the hands of owners who think winning might be more important than “fan affinity”, then please either leave them as a comment under this article, or post them on one of the forums of the sites supporting the LFC Supporters Network.

Remember, no matter how much you want to trust Mr Hicks, his past actions have shown that we’ve never got to take his word for it on any issue, at the very, very least we’ve got to let him know that we’re watching his every step. Please don’t let yourselves fall for the spin.

21 thoughts on “Be wary of Hicks spin as he fights for Reds support”

  1. I am very concerned about what is happening financially at the club to me £26m player sales and £20m Champions League Revenue = £46m spent on players. Why did we have to borrow £30m to sign players??

    Further to this we only have borrowed money to start a stadium build. Where will the rest come from?? Are we going to be left with a half built project if the 2 billionares can’t borrow more money.

    Why was Tom not questioned on his claim to baseball writers that money will come out of Liverpool to he american teams???

    And where is George Gillett????

  2. Once again a media hype is fed to us as facts, Hicks has not lied to Liverpool supporters, only the media and internet sites like yourself. Hicks has kept his promises, only the credit crunch in the U.S. has delayed things like the new Anfield by a few months. Liverpool supporters, stop believing the hype and look at the facts before you go shouting at the new owners.

  3. Great article, but we seem to be solely focussing on Hicks and rightly so as it involves the future of our club but surely we have to be looking at Rafa’s position as manager. Our performances and results have not improved after 4 years in charge, I’m on about the league of course as this is the trophy we most desire. Look at us on Saturday our most common failing of all , an inability to play football when the onus is on us to attack. Rafa spends so much time worrying about the opposition he doesn’t seem to focus on us and our playing style, which is what?? counter attack ? short intricate passes? use of effective wide men? long ball? C’mon Rafa,we’ll be lucky to get fourth, just try to find a settled team week in week out and let the express themselves please. So to summise lets keep the pressure on Hicks but we also need to let Rafa know results/performances aren’t good enough.

  4. A shame the last two posters have different views to the topic in hand.

    Firstly, Brendan – Hicks HAS lied. He lied about Klinsmann and he lied about not talking to DIC – both facts came out later.

    And Gary – we know we are behind the other top teams in the league that is why we are crying out for investment. As for playing style – I disagree with you. When Rafa took over we were a counter attacking side drifting. Now we can use the wings, we press teams, we pass short, long, over the top. There is always a plan to get at the opposition. Remember Valencia at Anfield? We lack consistency at the moment and we find it hard to break down defensive teams. You really want a new manager and another 5-6 years of rebuilding the team????? Rafa is the man, but all the uncertainty created this season by the americans is unacceptable and has written off our premiership season.

    Great work Jim, the only thing I can think to add is to use the US media and Hicks’ teams messageboards to let our feelings be known. And to keep up the pressure at Anfield, singing and banners to the effect of not believing the lies – the bigger the better.

  5. The only way to make Hicks pay attention is to cost him money. No one would miss a match as a form of protest as this would affect the team as well. But a boycott of all concessions and merchandise would be feasable.

    Season Ticket prices are going to go through the roof next season to help cover the interest payments so the average fan wouldn’t be able to buy the latest shirt anyway. Stop spending money in the ground and in the stores.

  6. Fantastic article. his was exactly the kind of thing I was suspecting but without knowing all the hidden truths it was very difficult to read between the lines. It is staggering how little investment on players is actually being given and I would love to find out more about where all the money is going or how it is being spent.

    The following points raised in this article must be reiterated and noted:

    1. Hicks blocked the permanent signing of Mascherano last year and is now making himself out to be the man who is securing his signing. Its a joke that we are even still discussing Masherno’s permanet signing! This saga should have been dealt with a long time ago. Players with the level of quality Mascha has are EXACTLY the kind of players we should now be signing. It’s unbelievable that a player of Mascherano’s standing at a very reasonable price who is deperate to join the club and we have treated him in this way and almost f*cked it up. This smacks of exactly the kind of mismanagement we do not want and we are only detined to see more of with this lieing clown in charge.

    2. By all accounts 15 million pounds down the toilet on plans for the stadium and liaising companies. This is shocking. When Hicks talked about the building costs of the stadium going up being responsible for a downgraded version was he factoring the fact that this mug wasted an extra 15 million on different sets of drawings? For f*ck sake this is practically the same amount as the price of ‘el jefe’ (see 1. above).

    3. Where are the funds from our sales and winning the Champions League going? This article raises another great point in saying that the signing of Skrtel was simply the equivalent to the signing of Heinze we were supposed to have had last summer. As Jim says Hick’s statement that the signing of Skrtel shows the faith and support he has in Rafa is complete bullshit. The only real way to show support in a manager is to open new contract discussions which needs to start in the summe, providing their are no spectacular failures at the end of this season.

    I agree with the author 100% that we need to read between the lines on all of this man’s comments. I was initially a little calmed when I heard that the refinancing deal was sealed & perhaps willing to cut this American a bit of slack (I have no opinion on Gillett as he has been very incomspicuous in the background), however, I soon came to my senses and his comments over the last couple of days have reinforced my mistrust of the guy. We must act now before our club is completely ruined and we lose our beloved club for ever. With Hicks in charge I am convinced we will either fall deep into obscurity or cease to somehow exist as a football club.

  7. Don’t trust them……….How will we get the other monies needed to get the stadium built when our revenue streams will still be the same as now. It doesn’t stack up.

    All is H is doing is holding us for ransom until he gets a price he wants. We are still in deep trouble financially and to use a phrase used in some of the braodsheets the ‘sticking plaster’ of this loan doesn’t solve the long term future or stability of our club.

    Hicks and Gillette out Parry and Moores to follow!!!!!

  8. Just a couple of points that have so far gone unmentioned.
    Given the lies we have been fed I just wonder what name Hicks will come up with for our new stadium.
    Also I am of the belief that DIC will eventually buy our club but whats going to happen if the work commences on our new stadium and DIC decide it isn’t to their tastes.

  9. With you 100%. All I need to say really, except thanks for explaining it so lucidly. Maybe, by the end of the season, a simple table with a summary of all the figures would be useful? Or will it ever be that simple? I simply want to silence mates of mine (none of them Liverpool fans) who persist in believing the media story that these shysters have actually spent their money on players.

  10. It naturally to be sceptical of Hicks. But to be fair, he has backed Rafa in Jan window and committed to next summer signings.

    Obviously, we want to see the diggers starting work in Stanley park as proof of the new stadium. In reality, H&G cannot make money without a new stadium and increased revenue streams it would generate, It dosen’t make sense for them not to go ahead with the new stadium.

    Your comments about third party fees. All organisations and businesses incur fees for specialist work, architects don’t work for nothing.

    It’s Rafa Benitez that fans need to be really sceptical of. Most Rafa supporters base their opinions on what Rafa says rather than any objective or balanced viewpoint. Rafa promises a lot but delivers nothing, i.e. “we’ll be better in 2nd half of the season” tripe.

    Similarly, his boy Kuyt does a lot of talking, makes excuses, and delivers nothing. He’s an embarrassment to the shirt!

    Look, as supporters we need to look at on the pitch events and not use off-field events as a diversionary tactic.

    On Saturday we struggled to beat a pub team. There’s something very wrong at Melwood and Rafa Benitez needs to come clean and explain.

  11. Kevin, it’s obvious whose side you are on. Hicks hasn’t provided funds for anything – he’s just saying he is. And how come we haven’t tied up Mascherano?

    Why did they want Klinsmann? because they thought he could motivate the team into a better position and not have to spend so much money?

    The team has been unsettled this year because of all this trouble – we were doing ok in Nov when all this crap started. Remember Utd going through a rough patch just before their takeover?

    If you want more rebuilding for the next few seasons with a new manager bringing his own players in, fine, but don’t say we didn’t warn you. Stability is what we need now – Wenger and Fergie got it even through their barren years!

  12. 1 Year on and look at us!! firstly the team are now sliding down the league, the players have been affected by this and it shows, they are thinking what we are….what is going to be left of our club!!! what merry-go-round will be awaiting us all at the end of the season.
    This PR stunt is, I think being done to strengthen there hand now that they have got what they want, the pair of them will sell now because they can get a realistic price now that the club is theres. If DIC do come in then they will have to be prepared to put “alot” of money on the table, because these Sharks are looking at there wallets now and seeing how much of a profit they can make.
    They will lose the club so to speak as Americans don´t like bad publicity, and that is not good PR for them, hence, why i think that is why Gillet has not said anything, of course they “Don´t” want to sell the club, saying that now will loose them alot of bucks, they will no doubt put it out secretly as they have done before, hoping someone like DIC will come in and take it off there hands but at the price they are looking for no one will buy…$1 Billion, Does Abromavich have a friend with alot of money to throw around, because this is what those Americans are thinking, someone like that will just give them that amount of money…..I don`t think so!!!
    What is this that he has said (Hicks) that he will use some of the profits and put it across to one of his other teams, Fantastic…i feel great now, Unite, and lets get rid of them both!! Liverpool is suffering, now its time to stand up and be counted
    We are Liverpool

  13. your articles have been excellent. im pretty sure that the two who dont agree with you are stooges hired by whatever PR firm hicks is using. i know on RAWK there was a surge of accounts on the day or two before the deal was announced, and that these were largely pro fuckface and asswipe. KEEP PUTTING OUT THE TRUTH! FUCK HICKS AND GILLETT!

  14. Hick’s said he wants the fans to judge him and Gillett through their actions.
    1. £245 million against Kop Holdings (aka Liverpool FC) is a good start. Let’s face it H&G are going to get the supporters to pay for the shares they bought. We are paying for their privilege of owning our club.
    2. A further £105 million directly against LFC. In principle this seems fair as it involves improving our club but £60 million put aside for our mythical stadium is a drop in the ocean compared to the whole cost. The other £40 million split between loan arrangements, consultancy fees and possible signings.
    3. Hicks says he has never turned down a request from Rafa for transfer fees! Then what on earth was the cause of all that turbulence with Rafa in November/December. Why was the Mascherano deal not sorted out months ago when Mascha was consistently quoted as saying he wants to sign for Liverpool? Why are Mascherano and his agent now recently quoted as saying Liverpool are not forthcoming with an offer? He might be signed now as a peace offering but only because the deal is spread over 5 years.
    4. Gillet’s silence! That action speaks louder than words.
    5. Not interested in selling the club. It is now revealed that DIC met with G&H last Friday.
    6. Foster Gillet’s disappearance from Merseyside.

    There’s loads more grievances I could mention but I’m sure most of us are aware of these already.

    Anyway as a lesser of evils I’m hoping G&H really are just in it for short term gain (at ours and DIC’s cost). I’m also hoping that DIC will proceed with their bid although they are known to be disappointed with this expensive short team holding loan that potentially will disable LFC.
    Some light at the end of the tunnel comes with reports that DIC have appointed Freshfields, Bruckhaus, Deringer – legal firm specialising in acquisitions to assist with the purchase (see ‘Business Intelligence – Middle East’ web site).

    I’m so distressed over these chancers ransoming our club i’m losing sleep. I for one will do my bit to keep up the pressure.


    There has been a commitment to sign Mascherano – we need to wait to see if it happens and not assume it won’t happen.

    Most people can speculate on why H&G wanted Klinsmann. While we don’t know whether Klinsmann would have been successful or not, perhaps we should stick to what we know.

    Klinsmann undoubtedly has great potential as a manager, and believes in playing an attacking game with pace. Wenger was untried at the highest level before he joined Arsenal.

    As for the team being unsettled and playing better in November. What’s the excuse for poor performances earlier against Portsmouth, Birmingham, Tottenham Marseilles and Besiktas?

    Lets remember Wenger won the title in his 2nd season and has delivered 3 titles in 11 years, He has also unearthed great talents
    during this time. Who has Benitez unearthed? Kuyt, Voronin, Zenden.

    Sure Wenger and Ferguson had stability. But they had a settled way of playing. Nobody knows what system Rafa will play from one match to the next. What system will Rafa play on Wed…..4-4-2, 4-1-4-1, 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1. It seems Rafa is just as confused as the players.

    I’m suggesting Rafa cannot get the best out if his players and should settle on a preferred system and then stick with it.

  16. Even Derby County and their new American owners are laughing at us!

    How did it get this bad, Mr. Parry and Mr Moores?

  17. Dubai’s Liverpool bid may still kick-off
    Author: BI-ME staff
    Source: BI-ME and media reports
    Published: 27 January 2008

    UAE. Dubai International Capital (DIC) is believed to be pressing ahead with an attempt to prise Liverpool Football Club out of American hands despite a £350 million (US$700 million) refinancing deal struck late last week.

    DIC is understood to have engaged advisers including the City of London law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer to assist it in the pursuit of Liverpool. Insiders said this weekend that officials from the Gulf state’s investment vehicle had met with Tom Hicks and George Gillett, the joint-shareholders in Kop Football Holdings as recently as Friday.

    Despite continued denials from Hicks and Gillett that they have any plans to sell the club, sources close to DIC said the investment group had continued to receive encouragement to make an offer for the club.

    The intrigue surrounding the Americans’ ownership of Liverpool reached fever pitch last week with the finalisation of a refinancing package that should enable Liverpool to leave its Anfield home – where it beat Havant & Waterlooville in the FA Cup yesterday – and move to a new 71,000-seat stadium in Stanley Park.

    It is understood that the latest refinancing, struck with lenders including Royal Bank of Scotland, may need to be replaced with a further package within the next 18 months.

    DIC declined to comment, while spokesmen for Hicks and Gillett could not be reached today.

  18. Kevin you seem to need a reminder……… you say Wenger has been at Arsenal 11 years and unearthed some great talent.Tell us Kevin how long has Rafa had?
    Lets not confuse the issues here.The issues being the ownership not the management.The owners have acted like morons going behind Rafas back and lieing to the fans thats what upsets us the most.If they don’t want Benitez then sack him and move on not have a secret meeting where Klinsman is offered the job and then when you are caught making that offer completely deny it and blame the tabloids.
    Thanks Wesley for putting that article up.

  19. Great article, but here are some points I’d like to clear to everybody in hope the whole picture becomes even clearer:

    1) Although Hicks did lie, and the fact that the “tabloids” and press in general have done their part in publishing what he said. The media is pretty much the same old shit they used to be, and their treatment to the club in way too many occasions made us look as aweful as ever. If trust shouldn’t be there for these American muppits, it certainly shouldn’t go out as well for the media who started hyping things even more. I won’t forget when the Porto match was labelled “Rafa’s last game in charge” and then followed up by almost every match we played since then!… Some facts are there, and we better know who’s standing by ourside and who’s not, cause quite simply everybody out there is certainly not helping in this matter, and all they care and would care about is extra paper revenues for them!

    2) WE MUST GET BEHIND THE TEAM. Forget about Hicks, forget about Gillett, forget about Parry, about Moores, about Rafa… all we as supporters care about is seeing this football club WIN, and ONLY WIN. So we seriously need to get behind the team, especially within the 90 minutes they appear on the hollowed turf of Anfield, otherwise we’ll be in real crisis be it on or off the pitch! … I’m certain many of us do that, but let’s keep this message louder and clearer than Hicks’ lies on any website or paper there is.

    3) This is to continue #2. When the Calciopoli showed up and all the players were just uncertain of their positions, and where will they go, and how everything will pan out with their respective teams, what did they do? They won the effing World Cup in Germany!. When AC Milan players lost 15 points in the Serie A, and they knew that it was not their own problem, but their stupid and sick dictators up the ladder, what did they do? They won the Champions League! (some might say unfairly, but overall they did, and sadly for us the record books say so)… The players should understand that the real mantel shows up now especially under all these dark clouds appearing on top of them, and we need to do the same as well. We need to show the world why we are the best fans in the world, we need to get together in numbers, do what we do best, do what we do and excell in it… Some might say we’ll cut our appearances in the team, but guess what, this will only hurt the team and no one else, it won’t hurt the owner’s feelings OR POCKETS, so why do it?

    4) If we are to put any pressure on these cowbows, we need to keep questioning them. I honestly believe that putting as many requests and as many articles anywhere anyhow and anywhere on how the club is handled, on how everything is performed would put pressure on them, at least it would put them under scruitiny, and let them know that we are not letting them just walk out with the news that they got a new re-financing deal which has another part for me to specify next.

    5) This re-financing deal can be good and can be bad. It depends on our performances and how well we can do. To be fair and so honest, some performances were hardly good, but many were, which is the only positive I can take from this. To actually pull Man City all the way to their own half for almost the entire 90 minutes is encouraging and is what we were on about, and on another day we would have capped it with a goal for sure. The Wigan game was dissapointing a bit, and surely the Luton game was a let-off in all acounts (The away game I’m talking about here). The games that followed were so much under the intensity of this problem, and Gerrard’s outspoken remark on this case was obviously a sign of how much it is affecting the performances, and that everybody should let all of this just pass and our only concentration should be on the team’s performances and support (which of course I shouldn’t be talking more about, we all now our parts, and I believe it’s just about mentioning the issue of supporting, and nothing else. We’re all worried about the club’s future, and all this actually came like a shock to all of us on how fast everything deveoped.

    I honestly believe that we have a bigger part to do here, 11 on the pitch can make a difference, so imagine over 44,000 off it, what will they do?!

    Thanks for all this, I’m sure you guys are putting to much effort into this website, just hope my points are heard and are not on the same deff ears we have as owners… Cheers!

  20. It’s plainly obvious there are people working for Hicks on this very forum – just look for the views that dig up old stuff about Wenger and Fergie doing this and that – only someone who has put in some ground work would know to throw up stuff like that.

    Even then, there is no mention of the good things Rafa has done. A certain CL win, another CL final, an FA cup, a record points total, a total change in play from the Houllier reign. And behind the scenes, the preparation, the youth system (this obviously takes time!), and so on.

    And to say he messes with formations is mad. I’ve seen us play 2 formations this season – a 4-4-1-1 formation which is the most common, and a 4-3-3 which has been used to stretch teams defending deep. Granted it hasn’t always paid off, but what do you expect the manager to do, nothing?

    And the other chestnut is that the premiership had already changed when Rafa took over. He has forever been playing catch up. For every step the other big 3 take, Rafa has to try and take 2 or 3. He is trying, but it doesn’t help when funds are not released, the owners don’t understand the team needs to be constantly added too, the owners are creating uncertainty by threatening to appoint a novice coach – and leaving the transfers to Dick Parry – a man who would be late for anything you care to name…………

    YNWA Rafa!

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