Hodgson ensures Reds depression continues

As details emerged of more player unrest at Liverpool, calls increased from Reds fans for Roy Hodgson to be removed from the position of manager.

Not everyone happy with life under HodgsonLiverpool lie nineteenth – or second-bottom – in the league; very much in the relegation zone and no signs of improvement to that situation can be found in the words or actions of the manager.

Today Anfield Road has learned that two of the club’s most valuable assets – whether looked at from a financial or football perspective – have become sufficiently disillusioned with life under Roy Hodgson to be seriously considering their futures.

It hasn’t yet been described as a refusal to play, but it is understood that Fernando Torres has made it clear that he no longer wishes to play for Roy Hodgson.

It has also emerged that Pepe Reina has become equally frustrated, also finding changes to the goalkeeping coaching methods to be so frustrating that he is now weighing up where his future lies.

Today the club announced that temporary MD Christian Purslow was to stand down from his role. He would be staying on in a non-executive capacity, as an advisor to the owners, but his influence has been cut and his control removed.

Another update – although unofficial – revealed that commercial director Ian Ayre was to stay at the club after having his offer of resignation turned down. According to the Telegraph NESV assured Ayre he was a valuable member of the executive team and that he had a future at the club.

What fans are now waiting for is a decision on the future of the manager who has failed spectacularly to do what he was brought in to do.

On the day he was unveiled to the media, Roy Hodgson was billed as the man to “steady the ship” by chairman Martin Broughton. Liverpool’s start to the season is the worst since the 1950s. One more defeat would make it their worst start since the nineteenth century.

For many fans that makes Hodgson’s position untenable.

On top of claims that Liverpool’s two World Cup winners are finding it impossible to work under Hodgson is of course the evidence that Hodgson has got problems with Danish defender Daniel Agger. Hodgson recently made comments suggesting Agger was faking illness or injury. Agger was previously quoted – although he tried to retract the quotes – as unhappy with Hodgson’s tactics, tactics the quotes suggested were more like the Wimbledon of the 80s than the Liverpool of the 80s.

Hodgson’s summer transfer deals – that he said he was pleased with – have weakened the side considerably. Alberto Aquilani and Emiliano Insua were sent out on loan, leaving Liverpool with neither the benefit of their services nor the benefit of their transfer fees. Javier Mascherano was sold for a fee in excess of £20m but it was so late in the window that little if any of the fee was used on replacements or squad strengthening.

How much of that is down to Hodgson and how much is down to the outgoing MD is unclear. But the replacements have been far from inspiring.

Meireles is a good signing – but has been played out of position since he arrived. Poulsen isn’t even up to the standard of Lucas Leiva, let alone Mascherano. No cover was bought for Torres, a signing most Liverpool fans felt was vital this summer. Hodgson was more focussed on bringing in an average left-back in the shape of Paul Konchesky. Insua’s loan move and the re-signing of injury-prone Fabio Aurelio were also baffling decisions.

Not only have Liverpool been embarrassed in the league, they were completely shown up in the League Cup. As if going out to fourth-tier Northampton wasn’t bad enough, Hodgson went on to describe them as “formidable” opponents, leaving many a Red with head in hands.

That’s not unusual after Roy speaks. His view on each game Liverpool have failed to win always seems at odds with the vast majority of Liverpool supporters’ views of the game

Tonight, ahead of what many hope is his last game in charge of Liverpool, he was asked what he thought might happen if Manchester United (about to lose Wayne Rooney) were to make an approach for Fernando Torres.

Instead of responding with a morale-boosting “hands off” he suggested he’d have to have a think about it: “I think I’d have to say we’d cross that bridge when we come to it,” he told reporters.

Perhaps oblivious to the financial problems Manchester United are said to be facing, and Rooney’s suggestion that those issues have played a part in his decision to look for a move, Hodgson went on to suggest Liverpool’s biggest rivals outside Merseyside would be able to have their pick of targets.

“I am pretty sure when a great player like Wayne Rooney is looking to leave his club,” Hodgson said, “Manchester United will be in a position to target an awful lot of players around the world. I don’t think Fernando Torres would be the only player they will be targeting or we’d be the only club worried their star striker is going to be a target.”

After all those years waiting for Hicks and Gillett to get that shovel into the ground in Stanley Park we now find Roy Hodgson digging far bigger holes: “They will have the opportunity to replace him with many star strikers around the world, so all I can say is I am not naive to the situation. I am not naive enough to think there is no danger we will ever lose a player like Fernando Torres.”

What Hodgson is unwilling to admit is that the biggest danger to Torres remaining a Red of the correct variety is Hodgson himself: “I can only hope we won’t and I will make certain I do everything in my power to keep him happy at the club, help him improve his current form and to get him playing for Liverpool as he has in the past.”

What Hodgson has in his power, and what he must use if he has any self-respect, is the ability to contact the club’s owners and offer his resignation.

Without that offer, or without swift action from the club, the scenes at Anfield this weekend may well be unprecedented as vocal demands for Hodgson’s head seem to be inevitable.

56 thoughts on “Hodgson ensures Reds depression continues”

  1. How can the reputation of a man touted as a possible England manager fall so fast so quickly?

    If he has caused two of our best players to consider their futures at the club then he has no future with us. He MUST, for the sake of the club, its players and supporters, do the honourable thing and resign before any more damage is done.

    Thank you for bringing this to our attention Jim.

  2. I welcome the news concerning Purslow. I think its a sign that dire as things are at the moment, steps are already being taken to move us forward. Leadership at the top level must be sorted out before any new manager comes on board. That’s not to take anything away from Purslow’s role in helping get rid of Hicks and Gillett, for which I’m sure we’re all grateful.

    Now, we all wait to see what will be done about Roy.

  3. Agreed with every single word in the above article, I only hope we can get rid of him (Roy) before it is to late and we loose some of our best players and he blows the transfer money in Jan. He’s clueless on the sideline and everyone can see that.

  4. Get this imbecile out of our club. He is a clown of the highest order and enough is enough. He should have got angry at anyone asking about Torres to Man Utd but instead talks like a Fulham manager.

    Get Woy the retard out of our club before the fans forcibly remove him.

  5. Its a sad state of affairs. I dont like calling for a Liverpool manager to be removed ever, especially one as dignified as Roy but hes proven again tonight hes out of his depth.

    His Torres comments would have been fine if he was still managing Fulham. Why would torres leave for United when Rooney is leaving them because they are probably in the as perilous a financial position that we have just got ourselves out of. Plus Torres would never play for United knowing the rivalry.

    Roy is out of touch. Has to go or be pushed.

    Bring in Pelligrini.

  6. It will even gets worst, Ok he will focus on sunday game as its more important than the uefa game 2morro, But reading his comments he has set us up to be defeated tomorrow, will even hold his hands up to the fact, defeatist, insulting our intelligence, telling us to lower our aspirations for the team, If i remember right didnt Rafa use to get torn apart by the media for the same thing. For me Pulsow has realised his mistakes and done the honorable thing and resigned, as his milk was sour when he bought it in, Roy do the same.. For saying that alone tonight about Torres and the mancs and on top of everything else, he should be fired, NOW, coz we will get beat anyway tomorrow, this guy will destroy us, I even think he hates us, even though he is in our employment.. There is no turning back now, he has lost my support.

  7. I remember all these conversations about sacking Managers way back to Houlliers reign…At least he was animated and gave construcive support for the club its players , fans and future..But Hodgson, doesnt know when asked how many games left, how many games lost…it beggers belief..He was signed to steady the ship..well Woy, the ship is sinking, and i suggest you walk the plank, he is not a top 6 Manager, and certainly not of the calibre of Liverpool Football Club, time to go…before we are bottom of the league, Get respect back in the dressing room, Looks as tho Rijkhaard has put his hat in the ring..I am shocked and stunned at the demise of this fabulous club, and the poor signings that have been made, So Pull your Red sox up and sort out this mess, before its too late!!!!!

  8. Liverpool need a manager with a bit of class a manager that made barca in to the team they are today frank rijhkaard.
    Bein a liverpool fan all my life it hurts to see the board bring in a manager who loves firgi now that was a stupid move to make.. for aslong back as i can remember liverpool have not played attacking and aggressive football since the late 70s till the late 80s an frank can bring them days back to lfc an the glory that lfc has become so famouse 4 over the years

  9. I cannot believe that all our problems are being laid on Roy’s doorstep. What did he inherit? S.F.A. in truth. Benitez pulled this club to peices over the last 2 years.
    Player unrest? tell the over-paid whingers to pull their heads in. We have believed the hype for too long.,We ARE a great club undoubtedly, but this has not extended to the playing aspect for a few years now.
    We have long laughed at Everton and at Moyes in the early days, but despite them flirting with relegation in the early days and seemingly being unable to buy a jam sandwich each for dinner, they have stabilised and I don’t see too many jibes in the direction of Moyes these days. Hodgson needs a little more time and needs the over-paid dissenters to PLAY FOR THE BADGE. Not every one likes their boss, but like it or lump i t you have top respect the man and do what you are pain unimaginable sums of money to do.

  10. Where Shankly would big up his players to instil confidence and offer encouragement, Hodgson belittles them in public and criticises their form or abilities

    Where Shankly would downgrade the status of the opposition to engender self belief and a winning team mentality, Hodgson magnifies the abilities of the opposition, increases their reputation and downgrades our expectations of winning

    Where Shankly encouraged participation from the fans, would fuse the ethos of the club to that of the people and endorse their role as part of a holy trinity, Hodgson dismisses their voice as a negative distraction

    Where Shankly formulated a culture, of spirit and identity enshrined in passion, commitment and winning football, Hodgson is bereft of ideas, understanding and vision

    Hodgson is the diametric opposite of the great man. He is the anti-Shankly.

    To the shame of all of us the Holy Trinity is no more and I think that for the first time , certainly that I can remember, a Liverpool manager walks alone, and must.

  11. Big mistake leaving Gerard and Torres at home, they should have left Hodgson at home instead.

  12. This manager has been a source of emnarrassment to Liverpool FC and the fans for a while now. Can see changes happening at the top and will cascade down to the bottom. The new owners will shake up the club from top to bottom and wake everyone from the slumber of 20 years that stopped Liverpool’s progress all these years. Broughton and Pusrslow have left their seats and next it is Roy’s turn. Perhaps this weeks games will be the last ones for Roy to show that he can be employed by by another team in the EPL, not at the top end but may be a mid-table team or one just above the relegation zone.

  13. Roy must go. He is hardly motivating. Fans can see that the players on the field looks confused and hardly motivated.

    For the sake of the fans and the future of Liverpool, ROY – PLEASE RESIGN.
    To the new owners, please appoint a credible manager – a person of stature and able to lift us out of the gloom. Someone the calibre of Mourinho or Gus Hiddink.

  14. Hodgson is a waffler. He needs to pack his bags and f*** right off, right now.
    I have never heard so much s***e from a manager other than big sam.
    6m to sack rafa, 3m to sack muppit, and 8 wasted on poulsen and konch, who are not going to get the slightest look in when the next manager comes in. That could have bought a tidy player for Rafa.
    Honestly, im hoping for 2 losses the next 2 games, that will ensure this buffon is gone by the start of next week.
    ANYONE but him.
    Pellegrini is a progressive coach, big frank attacks and kenny would be a good interim.

  15. Compare Sir Alex to Roy – Sir Alex will NEVER under any circumstance even ENTERTAIN the idea of selling one of his players to a rival club! The first time Roy was asked about a potential transfer to Man Utd for Torres – he never ruled it out! shame on you Roy. you dont deserve the title of being a Liverpool Manager! why make our team weaker to strengthen our oldest rival! this isnt Fulham Roy – its a completely different kettle of fish! “white liquid is always milk…” keep it that way!

  16. things arnt good behind the closed doors at anfeild according to rumours,its good purslow has resigned players are now saying there confused with hodgsons tactics, that you can see on the pitch by the way they are playing.

  17. Deeply concerning stuff, although I imagine that NESV are reluctant to remove Hodgson so quickly after taking over because it might be seen to be not the ‘Liverpool way’. (I only hope they realise that the sh*t we’re being served up on the pitch is what’s not the Liverpool way.)



  20. Attention Liverpool Fans

    Start the Save Torres campaign now.

    Roy Hodgson has disgraced himself and the heritage of LFC by refusing to dismiss outright any MU bid for Torres. Hodgson is not only clueless on the pitch but off it too. He is demonstrating all the qualities of a small team manager which is where he had success.

    If this is not handled now the Torres to MU thing will gather a momentum of it’s own. It would also destroy the relationship with NESV. I have a good feeling about what NESV will do for LFC, but if they sell Torres to MU they will become more hated that Hicks & Gillett. Let John W Henry et al know that a sale of any player (except Poulsen) to MU is the best way of alienating the fans for ever.

  21. roy has been a disaster as a manager. he needs to go. this is what you get when you listen to journalist morons like patrick barclay and henry winter.

  22. For the first time as a fan, if losing to Napoli and Blackburn means Hodgson is sacked as manger, I wouldn’t mind if Liverpool lose! Because in this situation, if this man is allowed to carry on being manager, employing his clueless tactics and team line-ups. By Christmas I feel we will be deep in the relegation zone and by January, Torres, Reina and Gerrard will be so dis-illusion ed with the manager, they will consider leaving!

    For all his experience, he seems incapable of imposing any real change to a painfully stagnant team. Again it is the case of putting square pegs in round holes.

    He alienates players, the likes of Agger, Babel, Pacheco! Give the lads a try Roy, it couldn’t be any worse than your team selection at the moment. We as Liverpool fans are clued-up on our football and capable of noting grave tactical errors. And it seems that he is making one mistake after another. It seems to me that he would rather set up his team not to lose, rather than go out to win. That is not the football way and that is definitely not the Liverpool way.

    Its not only his playing style, the man has the demeanor of a rabbit caught in the headlights! If you are physically and mentally unable to motivate your players and enforce a reaction, then you have no right to call yourself a top class manger! Your players should go out there and play for like they do for SAF and Jose Mourinho!

    At the moment the team is playing like a Sunday League team. Why? you ask!! Because we are being run by a Sunday League Manager! I love his latest quote

    “My methods have translated from Halmstads to Malmo to Orebro to Neuchatel Xamax to the Swiss national team and many other jobs as well.”

    That fills me with confidence Roy….. But it begs the question bar the Swiss national team and your one mediocre season at Inter and Blackburn, where you were sacked I might add. Has anybody ever heard of these great teams that Roy is referring to??

    If you replace a world-class manager, you need to get it right. And we soooooo HAVEN’T!!

    GET IN RJIKAARD OR PELLIGRINI! Both are available, get them before it is too late….

  23. It is never good to hear about player unrest… but these are unsubstantiated rumors.

    There is enough doubt in Hogson’s ability for fans to call for a change in leadership, without unsettling and possibly incorrect rumors further undermining the team.

    If you have a source of these please let us know…

  24. I do not usually post on here, but like everyone else, have reached the end of the line with Hodgson. All the more ironic that we should have found ourselves saddled with this fool, when Inter under Rafa, turn in a great attacking display in CL v Spurs.

    For the life of me I cannot understand these remarks about Benitez “ruining the club” or “pulling it to pieces” What is this supposed to mean?

    The Board under Purslow messed up big time appointing Hodgson and I for one would carry Benitez back here if he would come.

  25. 1TRUERED, I reckon NESV already know how the majority of fans feel about the situation, they will also chat to the playing staff and if there are problems they will find out. I would like to refrain from a continuation of the e-mail campaigning as this might paint us a some kinda control freaks, or for want of a better term, internet terrorists. NESV are just in the door so give them time, I’m sure they’ll do the right thing, sooner rather than later. I agree tho, if no action has been taken following (my prediction) draws against napoli and blackburn then they’ll need to be told. I’m sure tho the kop will be doing that on sunday.

  26. The sentiments and feelings of fans must reach the new owners before its too late. Hodgson is truly out of his depth and completely lost at LFC. Mr Henry must push for a quick decision and if he takes advantage of the immediately available Rijkaard, then hopefully we can see some progress soon; as soon as the players have confidence in their manager.

    Players can very quickly sense the ability of their new Manager as soon as they start their training regime under their new boss. Mr Henry please talk to the key players individually and privately. They may not want to be forthright in their opinion in public.

  27. @ “The Filter”

    A number of sources either passed on or backed up the information on the situation with Torres and Reina. I first mentioned it on Twitter yesterday afternoon, but not until I’d done a hell of a lot of asking around. I also mentioned on Twitter about a bust-up between members of the playing staff, something I was told about in quite some detail – but something I feel is best left alone now, I think it’s something that will blow over. If not, and I (and others I trust the advice and opinions of) feel it needs saying then I’ll make sure it comes out.

    It’s not about getting a scoop or an exclusive, it’s about trying to get to the truth. And sometimes even the truth is best left unsaid.

    If I went posting on here where I’d heard this from, who’d passed it on and backed it up, I’d not be able to go to those sources again.

    I don’t approve myself of the amount of “off record” briefing that goes on, I think it’s a sign of how divided the club is (at many different levels) that it goes on at all.

    Hopefully that’s going to come to an end soon. But in the meantime I think it’s only right that people try as hard as they can to get this kind of information out.

    Also, I believe it’s been reported elsewhere since.

  28. I welcomed Woy’s arrival, but now I think we should cut our losses and get shut. It is plain as day from the players faces that they aren’thappy with him.

  29. What gets to me is that everything went wrong on the playing side when Purslow was appointed by Hicks and Gilette. He obvioulsy was briefed by Hicks and Gilette to control Rafa and basically undermine him – they didn’t want to alienate the fans even more so than they had already done by sacking Rafa so they let Purslow run him out of town. The constant leaks to the press last season that Rafa had lost the dressing room etc all stemmed from Purslow.

    in the 3 years prior to the yanks taken over we had won the champions league, super cup, FA Cup been to another champions league final, carling cup final and world club championship final. It’s only when Hicks and Gillett took over that things started goin wrong under Rafa yet he still finished 2nd with our highest ever points total in the Premiership,

    I would have loved for Rafa to have been given the chance to manage under the new regime. He understood what the club was about, related with the fans and fought our corner against the likes of Chelsea and Man United.

    What Purslow has left us with is a mediocre manager who should never have been given the job in the first place. Purslow will always have my respect for getting rid of the disease within the club that was Hicks and Gilette but it is obvious to anyone looking in from outside that his expertise is within banking and finance and that he has no idea regarding football matters.

    It’s such a shame that the acadamey seems to be finally improving follwing the set up that Rafa over saw yet he will not be there to see the fruits of his labour. He clearly understood how the club needed to move forward by appointing Kenny as club ambassador and not feeling threatened by him showed he has confidence in his own ability.

    I would love for Rafa to come back but that will never happen and I accept that but what I can’t accept is the dross that is being served up at our club right now. I just hope that NESV make the right appointment as both Chief Exec and Manager and that we can all move forward together – club united as we always have been!!!

  30. I’m sorry Roy but your comments about the scum sniffing around Torres are unforgivable at best. Your a nice man and it’s not nice to see anyone loose their job but you have to go. Please do the decent thing and accept the situation & resign now.

  31. Today was another lack luster, couldn’t be bothered, walk about the park match that we were luck to draw. The players just don’t look as if they want anything to do with it, and I fear it’s going to get worse. If big players like Torres & Pepe are openly talking about being unhappy. what will that do for the rest of the squad? The only ones who get any praise today are Jonjo & Spearing, the rest looked as average as they have all season.

    Roy needs to be sent packing immediately. Regardless of the result, if he is kept on past Sunday I’ll go mad.

  32. Today was another lack luster, couldn’t be bothered, walk about the park match that we were luck to draw. The players just don’t look as if they want anything to do with it, and I fear it’s going to get worse. If big players like Torres & Pepe are openly talking about being unhappy. what will that do for the rest of the squad?

    Roy needs to be sent packing immediately. Regardless of the result, if he is kept on past Sunday I’ll go mad.

  33. I thought last nighs performance was a lot better and the players battled well and seemed to be pressing the opposition more than they have been doing. Shelvey was outstanding and Martin Kelly showed he should always be ahead of Carragher for the right back position when Johnson is out. Hope that a win on Sun can kick start our season but last night was a step in the right direction I feel.

  34. Shelvey was outstanding until a tactical genius decided to stick him out on the right.

    As for Carragher he needs to learn to respect his team-mates and look at himself in the mirror. The manner in which Cavani skinned him in the first half was embarrasing.

  35. Wayne Rooney signs new MU contract. All is well with them.

    What an idiot Hodgson has made of himself.

  36. I don’t hink Hodgson is the right man for the job but I just think all this negativity surronding him his taking our focus away from what’s the most important thing – the team.

    If the team can show the same spirit on Sun as they did last night we should beat Blackburn. The buck stops with Roy and if he can’t get a performance out of them on Sun then it’s time for him to go.

    On another note – Carra has been very poor this season and my opinion is that he should no longer be seen as an automatic choice. The partnership between him and Skrtel clearly doesn’t work judging by the amount of goals we are conceding so he needs to find form quickly or I think he may struggle to hold onto his place in the team.

  37. Dave Usher who writes a blog for the Liverpool Way seems to think that the rumours going around about Pepe and Torres are in fact not true.

    I don’t doubt that players aren’t happy, and they would consider their positions at the club, but whether they have publicly or privately spoken out about the manager is apparently not true.

    I think that our team is a complete shambles, apart from Reina, Carra, Torres (who has been poo), Gerard and Meierles, the rest are just not up to the job.

  38. Roy was the wrong choice from the beginning, what makes it difficult to take is that he was appointed by temporary members of the board, 1 of them a staunch Chelsea fan. I’m so afraid that a win against Blackburn will be misinterpreted as an improvement and will delay roy’s departure. The new owners have to look past Sunday’s result and make a bold decision to sack Roy because his tactics will only leave us in mid-table, instead of the champions league places.

  39. Carra must leave. He is the falcrum for most of the player bust-ups inside melwood. Cause this Xenophobic prat has no respect for others except Scouse, But demands it like he is “God’s Gift” to Liverpool. HELLO! Liverpool is a global club for the past 20 years! Get used to it! We like the Scouse heart and values as a forigner but to use that as a reason to push your outdated ideals and ideas onto a team thats not like that its just crazy. And since Rafa is gone this guy has been peddalling his own ideals and ideas and acting like he knows everything. I’m sorry , you have no sports science degree that Rafa and Mourinho had.

    The guy needs to be dropped and offloaded. He is a cancer in the team than even Gerrard can’t understand him anymore. This is the player who worked for Christian Purslow to undermine Rafa internally last year. And guess what that gave this guy alot of power.

    All you have to do is look at Torres, Reina, Johnson, Skrtel, Lucas(!) and Gerrard. How they respond to Carra when has his usual crazy yell about WITHOUT USING HIS BRAINS AND LOOKING IN THE MIRROR! None of them want to hear his shrilling voice and double stadnard bum. Get Hodgson out and tell him to take Carra with him. We don’t need INSURRECTION anymore!

  40. No surprise Carra is the biggest supporter of Hodgson.

    At Everton he was shouting at Torres but the “out of form,out of sorts” Torres has done more this season that Carra has.

    He needs to be out of the team until he rediscovers some form and learns to respect team-mates.

  41. Let’s get RAFA back, and his missus can be his number two!! how about that lads, would’nt that be great

  42. While having only started following Liverpool Fc over the past 2+ tears I have, in the past, always been impressed with their attack. It was one of the things I enjoyed watching. Especially, with the likes of Torres, Gerrard, and at the time, Benayoun.

    Now however, this defensive game Roy has them playing makes me wonder if Roy knows what he is doing. His game may have been good for a Fulham, but it is not good for an attack minded team like Liverpool.

  43. Big win today, brilliant performance by Gerrard, and vital Torres scored.

    Most praise should go to Kygriakos though – what a monumentally brave performance, he didn’t hide for one second. That man went right up in my estimations today.

    If we beat Bolton away, Chelsea at home, and Wigan away, I’d imagine that 6 point gap to fourth will be closed considerably. It’s a big ‘if’, but its possible I think.

    I sincerely hope that Roy Hodgson proves absolutely everyone wrong. And with a few wins, like the ones described above, he may just be on the way to that.

    One thing is for sure, everyone done their bit today, and there wasn’t ANY sign at all that Roy has lost the dressing room.

  44. I think it was clear to see from the celebration of Torres’ goal today that team morale is not at the all-time low that some people are suggesting. I’ve literally never seen Torres celebrate like it, nor the rest celebrate so hard with him.

  45. The good old days
    Benitez and Christian Purslow have today spoken of the burgeoning relationship they believe can lead Liverpool into a bright future.

    The Reds’ managing director has made an impressive impact during his short time at Anfield and has developed an understanding with the Spanish manager that they both believe can help bring the club a new era of success.

    “We are working very hard together, very close,” said Rafa.
    “I would say we have a meeting not just every week but every day. We are on the phone and as soon as I try to do something or want to do something, he is there.
    “So we are working very hard here and I think the relationship is good. I am really pleased.

    “I think he understands the club. He was telling me about some games and he remembers who scored the winning goals and things like this – so sometimes it’s a problem for me!

    “He loves the club and he wants the best for the club.”

    The boss’ glowing words are echoed by Purslow, himself a fluent Spanish speaker, who is full of praise for both Rafa the manager, and Rafa the business man.
    “An absolutely key part of my job, is to make sure that the business and football side work well together,” he said.

    “And in people terms that means Rafa and I working well together.
    “My view is that we have an extremely close professional working relationship. We speak all the time. We have very specific plans that we work to and stick to.
    “I enjoy immensely that part of my work. Again central to success in any football club is the relationship between the leadership of the business and the football manager working well.

    “And I couldn’t be more pleased three months in as to how that is working.
    “And Rafa – he’s a pleasure to work with because not only is he a great football manager, he’s extremely commercially literate.

    “But I wouldn’t be too excited about the Spanish – in that Rafa’s English is excellent and he constantly tells me that my Spanish is terrible!”
    The Reds’ new managing director was also keen to point out that he has no intention of getting involved in team affairs and is committed to the ‘football plan’ he has helped devise alongside Benitez.

    He said: “It is entirely the manager’s job to decide who he wants in the football club at any point in time and I don’t believe that should be second guessed. And it isn’t.
    “My job is to support that and to provide the financial backdrop to make that possible and that’s exactly how it works. So every player at the club today is a player Rafa wants here.

    “That’s the way it must be and that’s the way it will always be between him and I. We work together on that basis.

    “And no, he’s not going to buy a player because I want him to and he’s not going to sell a player because I want him to. He’s going to make all of those footballing decisions.

    “And where we have to work well is in making sure we do so within a broad framework.
    “We call it ‘The Football Plan’. That’s what we have and that’s what we work to. And this summer for the first time we road tested the idea of a Football Plan – of having a list of players to sell or buy for broad values, within an agreed budget.
    “And I’m delighted to say that we achieved all of those goals over the summer transfer window.”

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