02 June 2010

I Hate Everything

Update 10:45am: Endgame. Official Statement from Liverpool FC on Benitez's exit. Eulogies to follow later. When I have some semblance of sanity.

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.


Hectorious said...

I've tried to remain sensible and calm but there's so many questions. I apologize for the lack of brevity, but I'll try and keep the points clear:

The World Cup: How much club business can successfully be conducted while the world's attention is on international soccer? Also, as an LFC fan does this mean we have to root for potential new signings to remain on the bench to keep the price down?

The staff: Pellegrino, Valero, Borriell (SP?), Macia and his scouts. Who's staying and going?

The Pre-season: Currently, a friendly with Borussia Moenchengladbach is scheduled, as well as the EL qualifiers, but should we now consider the entire pre-season a wash as the new staff and squad will still be taking shape?

The squad: well this is going to be fantastic, isn't it?

The timing: The season ended what, three weeks ago? A new manager will be found sometime in the next month (Klinsmann!), and whoever the new manager is will have about 7 weeks to build a "Top 5" squad?

Texans: The American Airlines Center plaza will be broadcasting World Cup matches this summer (home of the Stars/Mavericks) so perhaps an Anti-Hicks rally could be organized Stateside?

Anonymous said...

this is a dejavu of last summer but much worse. the memory of checking the news every morning hoping not to read any news about alonso leaving is still fresh; and it can always get worse.

as much as i criticized benitez so much in the past, i for one would rather see any owners, CEO, director, star players leave before benitez

i doubt benitez is willing to stay, it is apparent that he doesn't have the backing of the board, what makes anyone think that he will get his transfer fund as he requested? or maybe i'm hoping for the worst to avoid huge disappointments eventually

like you, nate, i hate everything too. i hate the club because it's not the club i knew over ten years ago

Matt said...


You are wise in your rage. Rafa's tenure is always tenuous, and even in perhaps forcing him out, these rats can't even be gracious, can't even be thoughtful for the team and the fans.

So, I hope Rafa does indeed fight - for the spirit, and heck, for the money too.

drew said...

They are despicable, and the only hope is that they may yet been over-hasty in their desperation. Their shameless back-room campaign of slating Rafa had made headway in the media (of course) and, sadly, even among many supporters, but what they've done here is so transparent and blatantly against the Liverpool way that it can't help but serve as a rallying cry. If Rafa goes now, it's as a martyr; if he stays, he's even more a hero.

I'm heading over to Anfield this evening for the SoS protest. YNWA.

drew said...

Also chances are very very good if (when) this goes through that they will appoint Kenny to a caretaker role till the sale is made; sort of an ace up their sleeve as Kenny would do it out of service to the club.

As much as it would rip me up seeing him as their mouthpiece, it would keep the youth program going for the time being and may just be enough to keep the squad together for this one season. And I hope to God they would have the sense not to come across the Atlantic again this decade.

Earl said...

Other than the chance to coach a team that isn't in turmoil, why would Rafa leave all that money on the table? He has to stay, right?

Forgive my ignorance, but is there any type of authority figure for the EPL that could step in for the good of the league? Take away their ability to make operating decisions, similar to what ML baseball did with George Steinbrenner early in his career. Like over here, Roger Goodell is the NFL commissioner who runs day to day operations and has significant power. For really big decisions they have owners meetings where every team has a vote to discuss rule changes, league business, etc. For prospective new owners, they don't even let you buy a team until they've thouroughly checked out your finances and business relationships. With the problems many teams are having over there, it would seem to me there needs to be a stronger governing body.

nate said...

Well in, Drew.

Give them extra-loud hell in an American accent for all of us.

And Earl, the PL does utterly basic check on owners when they buy a club. 'Fit and proper' test. And Thaksin Shinawatra passed it for City. Needless to say, worthless. And that's about it.

The League Managers Association could file suit for Benitez, but I don't see that happening either.

So, long story short, the answer to your question is 'no.' Sadly.