Rafa tells Roy to quit talking and concentrate on coaching

Former Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has responded to the latest round of attacks on him by current Reds manager Roy Hodgson.

Was Kenny frozen out of Melwood - and who by?Hodgson yesterday described an 1-0 away win at Bolton, courtesy of a very late goal, as a “famous victory”. Despite Roy’s description this match is unlikely to feature in any “hall of fame” featuring Liverpool’s genuinely famous victories down the years. It was Liverpool’s first away league win since April, but Roy’s first away league win in 442 days.

Before that match came some quotes from Roy dismissing Kenny Dalglish’s credentials to become Liverpool boss  a second time and accusing Benitez of freezing Kenny out of Melwood.

Hodgson said Dalglish, who has won the league four times as a manager, was “good at” scouting, working at the academy and playing an ambassadorial role. “You cannot find a better person for that than Kenny,” said Roy, who got the manager’s job at Anfield despite a CV that raises big questions about the criteria used to select him.

As Liverpool’s season slid from bad to worse with embarrassing defeats at home to Blackpool then away to Everton there were calls for Roy to be removed from his post. Many felt it was better for the club if Kenny was to take over in a caretaker capacity until the club could secure a suitable replacement.

Although Kenny has been out of management for some time, most of Roy’s success came before Kenny won his fourth league title. Roy won the Danish league in 2001, along with their equivalent of the Community Shield, but other than that his success at club level was in Sweden in the 70s and 80s. He’s also got to the UEFA Cup Final twice, losing both times. And he won the LMA Manager of the Year award last year.

At a time when his side were still in the relegation zone, Hodgson’s comments seemed patronising towards Kenny. Roy spoke as if Kenny was only worthy of an advisory role: “I told him I was disappointed he went for the manager’s job,” said Roy, “because for me he should be working for Liverpool on a permanent basis, long after I leave, for years to come, assisting all future Liverpool managers.”

Roy then had his latest dig at the manager who he seems determined to blame for his awful start to the season: “When it was mooted the club wanted me for the job I made it clear to Kenny I wanted him on board and it wouldn’t be like it was with Benitez where you are here in name but never allowed to set foot into Melwood and we don’t want anything to do with you.”

The comments raised a lot of surprise and anger amongst Liverpool supporters. Kenny would not wish to be dragged into a spat between Roy and his predecessor, and had only ever had good words to say for Benítez – from before his own return to the club through until even this weekend, when he referred to Rafa as one of his “managerial friends”.

With Benitez in London tonight for a press conference ahead of his side’s Champions League tie against Spurs it was inevitable he’d be asked for a response to what Roy had said.

Benitez said: “I will be clear. I will be clear because I didn’t want to talk about Liverpool before but I had to talk because they were asking me again.

“I think that Mr Hodgson, he doesn’t understand,” said Rafa.

Benitez echoed what many fans have been saying every time the latest set of quotes from Hodgson has hit the wires: “Every single press conference is even worse than the last one. He’s talking about things that he doesn’t know.”

And for the sections of the English media that laugh at what they don’t understand, Rafa had a new quote for them to struggle to understand: “And some people cannot see a priest in a mountain of sugar.” Rafa was never their cup of tea, and that quote will be added to the “bottle of milk” quote from a couple of weeks back (an old Spanish saying that went over the heads of many of those paid to write the quotes up) and brewed into something it never was.

For those who haven’t yet worked out the meaning of the saying (and it seems that’s a sizeable number), a priest wearing black against the white background of a mountain of sugar should be easy to spot. So some people struggle to spot the obvious.

The current Inter Milan boss spent most of his time at Anfield fighting with the hierarchy, something that endeared him to all fans initially but would be increasingly used against him by his critics as being a distraction. Where Rafa tried to align himself with the supporters (and against the boardroom), Roy has tried to align himself with the boardroom and has increasingly annoyed supporters. “With my people we gave, and if he doesn’t understand maybe he has been in Liverpool not too long,” said Rafa. “We gave the fans their pride – again. We fight for the fans, we fight for the club and we fight for our players. So maybe he cannot understand this.”

Benitez had been trying to get Kenny back at the club before Purslow’s appointment, but it wasn’t until Purslow arrived that the move finally went through. According to Benitez the role Dalglish was given wasn’t the one Rafa had in mind: “I brought back Kenny Dalglish to do a role in the club and Christian Purslow gave him another role.”

And Rafa suggested he was going to talk to Hodgson about all this: “He doesn’t know but I will explain it to him.”

He also suggested Roy should quit talking and concentrate on coaching, much like Tom Hicks told Rafa to when the club’s financial mess first started to unfold three years ago: “So,” suggested Rafa, “instead of talking about the flips or the flops, he has to concentrate on his players, try to do his best. He has a good job to do.”

As for those “flips and flops”, Rafa said: “They’ve signed nine players.”

He then went on to explain what he – in his view – had left behind: “I left that squad – with £10m net spending – I left that squad with £300m value, 13 internationals, so instead of talking about flips and flops, he has to concentrate on his job, try to do his best and not talk about the level of his players or the new players.”

With many fans wishing Roy would stop putting his foot in his mouth, perhaps the current manager would be wise to take some of the advice of his most recent predecessor: “Concentrate,” said Rafa, “try to do your best, because it will be the best for the club and it will be the best for the fans. And I will stop talking about this.”

It’s highly unlikely that Roy will avoid getting asked what he thinks about Rafa’s advice – whether he takes it or not we’ll have to wait and see.

But maybe Kenny Dalglish will have a quiet word with Roy about his embarrassing outpourings and his attempts to use his good name to both score points over his predecessor and defend himself from some much-deserved criticism.

Or maybe NESV will save him the need to when they meet tomorrow with a manager even more out of touch with the fans than his side are with the top of the table.

20 thoughts on “Rafa tells Roy to quit talking and concentrate on coaching”

  1. I find it quiet bizarre that Hodgson can call in to question Rafa’s tenure at Liverpool when Rafa’s achievements at the club are greater than the achievements of Roy’s whole career.

    Also who is Roy to questions Rafa’s transfer dealings when two of Hodgsons signings, players he worked with before, Poulsen and Konchesky are already been branded failures and not good enough for LFC.

    Its embarrassing to hear the manager of our club question any other managers achievements especially when the other manager has clearly had a far more successful career.

    Roy should postpone any dealings with the press for the foreseeable future. Hes an embarrassment to the club.

  2. I agree….amazing to be criticisizing Rafa for one bad season out of 6….
    the man who won 2 La Liga Titles, 1 UEFA cup, 1 Champions League, consistently got Liverpool in the top 4 of the League, consistently in the Top 8 of Europe….
    managing the current European champions…

    this from Woy who has won nothing in any major League……who is a decent
    manager for lower-midtable clubs…..but has no class.

    Just hoping that NESV can see sense and replace Hodgson with someone who has class both on and off the pitch

  3. Agreed Mathew. I think its just a pity more Liverpool fans didnt look on paper what Rafa did over the course of his 6 years here. 2 CL finals and a second in the league alone is as impressive as you will get across most clubs in Europe for the same time period. To do it while competing against the resources at United and Chelsea is even more impressive.

    Some fans refuse to recognise how difficult it must have been to manage with the constant difficulties off the pitch.

    Again people complain about the type of football we played. Last year admittedly it was poor but the season before there were times we literally blew teams away. People will mention the results against Real and United but the one performance that sticks in my mind was the 5 nil demolition of Aston Villa. I genuinely believe had Rafa been given time and money under a regime that wasnt blighted by in fighting and scandals he would have won us number 19.

    As for Roy whether it happens now or in a years time he will be found out and he will be sacked.

  4. Roy should quit looking at the past of what should and should not have been. Instead, he should focus on the future like the Chelsea game and how to win us the EPL title and Champ League. The past ain’t gonna change but the future can be. In any case, I don’t think Roy is the man for Liverpool. There should only be 1 issue in the meeting with Mr Henry – How best for Roy to resign! Roy, Please quit.

  5. The fans attending the match should hold up banners like: “STOP TALKING WOY!” or “SACK WOY!”

  6. not surprised really, cos roy was really asking for it, for someone to shove his own foot into his own piehole. roy has to constantly big up himself, reminding people of his ordinary record as manager for the past 35 years. that’s a sign of insecurity. i just wish the owners would get rid of him.

  7. Something else just occurred to me. Roy accused Rafa of keeping Kenny out of the club. If that was true why then did Rafa urge the Liverpool board to hire Kenny as manager shortly after Rafa himself had been fired?

    Roy may sound like an educated, well spoken man but its clear as day to every Liverpool supporter that his opinion is misinformed and embarrassing.

    Now that the ownership issue has been resolved why does Roy constantly feel the need to keep airing his grievances in the public domain. Is he clutching at straws, trying to find a scapegoat for his disastrous start? Is he trying to deflect attention? Whatever his is attempting to do he needs to stop and man up to why he hasnt been able to come in and galvanize this team. If he looks hard enough he might realise that the reason is closer to home than he thinks.

    Hodgson Out!

  8. Interesting Results from the Echo’s poll;


    Liverpool FC fans give their reaction to Rafael Benitez’s comments (POLL RESULTS)

    Almost 1,500 Reds fans have filled in our online poll so far – and the vast majority of them agree with Rafael Benitez’s comments on Roy Hodgson.

    Asked whether the Inter Milan manager’s criticisms of Hodgson were correct, 88 per cent of fans – or 1,286 out of 1,461 – believed they were………….

  9. Protesting at matches was a necessity when we were at war with a hostile occupation. It servers no positive purpose for the team on the pitch or club moral at this time.
    Further, whatever his weaknesses, belittling the man with “WOY” only serves to belittle yourself and all of us supporters along with you. Wake up.
    We are better than that. This is Anfield. We are Liverpool.
    Respect it.

  10. massimo morrati spoke about benitez yesterday and he said there is no difference between rafa and jose, the only difference is that 1 thinks about today and the other thinks about today and tommorrow, guess which 1 is which…. if only we could have been united and driven out the yanks 2 years earlier, i have no doubt we had a man shankly would have been proud off


  12. *Sigh* … That says it all for me. I give up. Rafa always planned for the future. Jose planned for the now and left once he won everything. People seem to forget Shankly was only appreciated after he left.

  13. We need to change our song to ” You’ll never walk alone unless your name is Roy or you’ve had anything to do with Christian Purslow”

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