23 November 2007

I heart Transfer Season

I guess I’ll just get the regrettable bit out of the way. Over the last couple of days we’ve had a very strange press conference from Rafa, a heavy-handed ultimatum from Gillett and Hicks, and a mountain of media speculation. I never want to read too much into these things, but every outlet has carried the same narrative, and the original article was by Tony Barrett, who’s easily the best Liverpool writer around.

My 2 cents is this: Rafa is a very political manager compulsively focused on winning at all times. It’s little surprise that he’s already planning transfers for January. Meanwhile, Gillett and Hicks want Liverpool to qualify for the Champions League before transfers and budgets are spoken about. Which again, is no surprise (they are businessmen, nationality doesn’t even come into play) it even if I don’t like it.

And I will side with Benitez 11 times out of 10. He’s that good of a manager. But you have to remember, whether the media/fans have exaggerated what they’ve done or not, Gillett and Hicks have so far done what they’ve promised.

I don’t like that they aren’t currently in Liverpool, or at the very fucking least, having Foster Gillett or someone else in Liverpool able to handle transfers (where has Rick Parry been in the last two days, by the way?). I don’t like that Benitez has to wait until mid-December to tie up any deals, and said deals might be contingent on Champions League money. I really, really don’t like that we’re seeing speculation over Benitez.

But it’s not as if football clubs, both big and small, have inner arguments over fiduciary matters. They usual just, you know, stay in house. Which, and it takes a lot for me to criticize the great man, you can blame Benitez for thanks to yesterday’s theatrical presser.

However, my main thought is that it’s probably a tempest in a teapot, despite the fact that there are real, negative undertones present. The best result would be qualifying for the knockout stages, and having the finances less of a question.

And although it may be misplaced hope given what’s been written, I still think that Benitez will be here for years to come. This is the man who less than a week ago said “But even if I was approached I would tell whichever club it was that I am really happy with my club, my squad, my supporters and my city. There are still many things which I want to do here, so I am planning on being here for a long time.”

Letting him leave would be utter madness. Give him a blank checkbook and go away. But until then, deep breaths coupled with belting renditions of “Rafa, Rafa Benitez.” Oh, and ignore the British press, who’s hunting around for further casualties following Wednesday’s performance.

Back with the Newcastle preview shortly.

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