15 Apr 2008

Rafa, you should have kept your mouth shut. Now, you’re just another clown in the circus.

Last week, Rafael Benitez implored his team to ignore the embarrasing off-field crisis afflicting the club, and stay focused on matters on the pitch. This was good advice, and the team showed against Blackburn that they had taken his words to heart. So why is Rafa not following his own advice? His latest public comments just add fuel to the fire, and could ultimately put him in a precarious position.

In an interview with The Independent, Rafa made it clear he was unhappy with recent reports that Rick Parry had met with Jurgen Klinnsman:

"It was a surprise to me to read about some meetings. I will talk with the board about this as soon as possible, today (Sunday) or tomorrow.

“I want to clarify everything. I was surprised with some meetings with another manager. I was surprised by the people who were at the meeting. It is not the first time I heard about the meeting but about the people who were at the meeting. My position is being undermined.

"I don't want to speak to one specific owner. I want to speak to all of them. They were all in a meeting together and I want to know something more. I want to speak to all the owners, preferably all at the same time."

What I don’t understand is this: After his public spat with Hicks in November and with everyone else at the top making a mockery of the club by airing their grievances in public, why does Rafa feel he has to do *exactly the same thing*?

He didn’t need to say any of the above in public; it doesn’t help anyone and just makes the club seem like even more of a laughing stock, especially since it now appears that every level of management within the club is involved in public civil war.

And these comments are not just off the cuff and harmless – Rafa *demands* to speak to the owners and publicly states that his position is being ‘undermined’. He even has the audacity to try and dictate the format of the meeting, demanding that all the owners attend.

Now, I agree that Rafa should seek clarification from Parry, Gillett and Hicks regarding the Klinnsman situation, and I can understand his anger, but why talk about it in public in such strong terms? What does he gain? What does the club gain? What possible benefits could flow from his statement?

Rafa was doing so well, and was handling the turmoil around him with the dignity expected of a Liverpool Manager. Now, he has just become part of the problem yet again, proving that he hasn’t learnt a single thing over the last six months.

Furthermore, his latest public demands will no doubt antagonize Hicks, who made it clear after ‘Rafa vs Hicks’ debacle that he would take a dim view of any further public outbursts.

Perhaps Rafa thinks that because the team is doing so well, it puts him in a stronger position, which allows him to push his luck. I can’t help thinking that if Liverpool had been knocked out of the CL and 4th place in the league was at risk, Rafa would have kept his mouth shut.

In response to Rafa, Rick Parry has released his own statement, claiming that he is ‘more than happy’ to meet with Rafa and discuss the Klinnsman claims.

And on it goes, with each person who is supposed to have Liverpool FC’s best interests at heart perpetuating the pathetic and damaging tit-for-tat.

Sadly, Liverpool FC is becoming more and more unrecognizable by the day.


  1. Jaimie, I agree!
    Rafa should shut up, as should Stevie who also said something about the situation in public. None of it leads to something productive.
    In fact everybody connected to LFC should shut up and the responsible parties should take care of the problem behind the scenes and in a respectful manner.
    The worst thing with all the ”drama” is that everybody is cementing their position. Especially bad is it that Hicks takes a firmer hold of the club whenever somebody says something he does not like.
    As a consequence the owner issue drags on and damages the club.

  2. Well, of course you have a good point Jaimie. However, most of what you say is based on the premise that Rafa wants to stay. He may just have reached a point where he's not bothered anymore and is ready to walk.

  3. True, John. It's possible he's already decided to leave and this is his exit strategy. Perhaps he wants to get sacked - that way he doesn't have to quit and risk breaching his contract.

  4. What a mess! Isn't it time Parry did the decent thing and resign? His presence speaks out to the world of the disunity at Anfield. If he was to resign, that just might mean Rafa didn't need to walk. Or has Rafa already crossed the line again?

  5. I can't fault Rafa on this personally. He is in charge of the football and he needs to send a message to his dressing room that he still has a degree of control despite all this jiggery-pokery oozing out of the boardroom and into the tabloids. I aggree that none of this should be done in public but that's where it's been taken, we've got some big games coming up and I'm sure Rafa wants to assert that he still has some authority at the club.