Looking at the car-crash that is Liverpool’s season, there have been any number of reasons given for the downturn in Liverpool’s fortunes. Many blame the manager, his transfers and his tactics, some absolve him of blame entirely and point the finger at the lack of direction and investment in the club at boardroom level. Others blame the injuries that have dogged the team’s best players all season long, a lack of confidence and/or form. Supporters have even begun blaming each other with any Liverpool fan, such as me for example, who dare not toe the party line of “Rafa’s the king, the club is going to be ok, it’s just a blip” of being disloyal and somehow betraying the club. They feel a blind acceptance of anything the club or manager do and an unwillingness to be critical can be viewed as showing their total love for the club, others perhaps feel this notion of loyalty without question can equally be viewed as a being utterly self-defeating, cowardly and unhelpful in the long term.
So I’m prepared to risk the ire of Red’s fans who think everything is hunky dory and that all we need to do is get rid of the Yanks and before you know it, we’ll have 50 league titles, Rafa will be anointed as the second coming and no other club will have won the Champions League in the past 30 years. Oddly enough regarding the clubs owners, they are absolutely right.
The reign of Hicks and Gillett has been one of dreams and broken promises. All Liverpool have for a new stadium are talk of the impact of the credit crunch and how it will lead eventually to building a smaller stadium than they need, some pretty pictures of the aforementioned stadium, planning permission and precious little else. There’s no “spades in the ground” as we were promised when the Americans took over. Then there was the Klinsmann affair, Rick Parry’s sacking, the divisions within the boardroom itself resulting in a stalemate at the club, Hicks Jnr’s emails to fans, the ham fisted attempts to attract “investment” without seeking to hand over any real power or say in the club. It is a story of greed and mismanagement on a breathtaking scale. All these matters are suitably dressed up however as “being in the best long term interests of the club.”
Not that any Liverpool fan buys this fantastical nonsense for a second.
As such, anything that Rafa does will, in effect, be meaningless. Yes, he could go out and maybe buy a £15m player in the summer. That’s no good. Liverpool need at least 3 or 4 £15m players. A £30m player would be nice too. They need a stadium that can generate the same kind of revenue that you are seeing at Manchester United and Arsenal, not some watered down pipedream that exists only in the boards imagination and Liverpool Echo graphic artist designs. They need, as much as I hate to say it, a Roman Abramovich.
Rafa has made many mistakes of his own, for which I have slated him for in the past. I will continue to do so as every good fan should. Acceptance of mediocrity is no endorsement of the manager, it is moral cowardice. Better to question his decisions and his mistakes so perhaps he can understand what we see when we see the team play. However sacking him would be counter-productive. I do not know of any manager who could do a better job in the current climate at Liverpool. Benitez has made some awful decisions in the past on transfers and that is down to two things, firstly his judgement and secondly, the fact that on almost every transfer, he is forced to compromise. For example this summer, we get in Johnson and Aquilani. The compromise? We lose Alonso. He gets given a transfer budget of £20m for the season, the compromise being that this has to include wages too. It’s robbing Peter to pay Paul and in the long run, it will never work. The evidence of that? Well look at this season for a start.
Liverpool’s solution to their current problems don’t lie in sacking Rafa Benitez, as much as many fans, like me, are irked by the Spaniards mistakes in recent times. He proved his quality in Spain with Valencia, by winning the Champions League with Liverpool, finishing second last year with enough points to have won the title in seven seasons of the Premier League. The REAL problem lies at the the heart of the club and at boardroom level. Empty promises made to the manager and the fans eventually lead to broken dreams.
And it’s happened this season.
It would have happened whoever was the manager.
The Rafa-lution is over. Long live the revolution!
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