Just when I thought I could ignore malignant Liverpool "news." Ha. Not with these cancers in control.
Not long after 8pm British time, the Internet exploded.
Liverpool offer Rafael Benitez a way out of Anfield
The "relevant" part:
Liverpool have attempted to pave the way for Rafael Benitez’s departure by offering their manager a compromise deal to leave the club this summer.
In what amounts to a vote of no confidence in Benitez, the Liverpool board approved a proposal to the Spaniard which would see him depart Anfield with a lucrative pay off worth in the region of £3 million up front.
According to the terms of the five-year contract he signed in March 2009, Benitez is entitled to a £16 million severance package but given their current financial predicament there is no possibility of Liverpool being able to come up with that kind of money, regardless of their desire to bring about a change of manager.
As such, the club’s hierarchy is hoping that Benitez will stand aside without demanding the windfall that he would otherwise due or else they will have no option but to allow him to continue in the role he has been in since the summer of 2004 in the knowledge that he is no longer wanted/
And it's by Tony Barrett. Needless to say, my heart still hasn't slowed down, and I'm working on my noose knots.
My first thought was the usual Benitez defense, of which there are countless on this site. We can do the "he's underrated and unfairly criticized" or the "Liverpool will lose star players and everything built since 2005" arguments. But I'm sick of those, you're sick of those, and it'll accomplish even less than usual. Now's not the time to debate Rafa's managerial merits.
What I will repeat is this. I continue to believe that Rafa is the last line – the only line – of defense against the owners of this club. Purslow is the bank's yes man. Broughton is a Chelsea fan. The majority of the board is made up of Hicks' and Gillett's friends and families. If Rafa goes, then all those references to Leeds and Newcastle really could come true. Say goodbye to Torres, Gerrard, and Mascherano. Say goodbye to a worldwide scouting network that's brought the likes of Pacheco, Insua, etc. Say goodbye to stability, and any semblance of the Liverpool Way.
It's truly become Benitez versus the Tumors, and the owners know it. Which is why the story's come out like this. There are no quotes from Rafa or his agent, only reports of the Board's actions. And it's at 8pm, giving Benitez no time to respond but ensuring that the national media will have nothing but Rafa come morning. It is a power play. And it is yet another disgusting example of what Hicks and Gillett have done to this club.
Once again, we're airing our dirty laundry in public. Even if Benitez's isn't gone, this is the day Liverpool Way truly died. Shankly is rolling in his grave so hard the coffin might come out.
My only hope is that Benitez will tell to owners to sit and spin. He has no need to take £3m when owed £16m with years left on his contract. Hopefully he'll continue to be a bulwark against the criminal negligence of the custodians. But it doesn't look good. Fight. For the love of all that is holy, please Rafa, fight.
Being a sports fan creates such a feeling of impotence at times. It's especially hard when we're an ocean away. I know first-hand that Americans love this club and want to help. One of the few things we can do on this side of the pond is join with those who are doing something. Help Spirit of Shankly help us.