All entries for Friday 25 January 2008

January 25, 2008

SAF Backs Rafa

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The papers the other day had coverage of Sir Alex Ferguson’s support for Rafa Benitez in his apparently endless battle with the two Yanks who now run Liverpool, a battle I get updates about from my Liverpool supporting mother and her adventures on various marches, protests and general Scouse sulks (although this year they are Capital of Culture sulks). SAF has reportedly said that “What happened with [Klinsmann] was a bad piece of business on Liverpool’s part, there’s no doubt about that. That sort of thing can be very upsetting for a manager. You should allow a manager to get on with his job.”

Now many in the media and various comment boards on the internet are pointing out that Benitez’s Liverpool seem rather incapable of challenging Manchester United either in the league, or one-on-one, and that it does just come across as SAF wanting a manager he knows he can outsmart at one of his potential big rivals.

But does it not seem interesting that SAF wasn’t too vocal about the Chelsea treatment of Mourinho, or the uncertainty surrounding the two attempted takeovers of Arsenal which Wenger seemed unhappy about? Russian oligarchs coming in a taking over a club don’t appear to rile SAF as much as Americans coming over, loading a club with debt not stolen oil money, and upsetting the fans.

Cough cough Glazers cough cough

SAF has been left alone to do his job, but he’s won the league and challenged well for it in recent years (ok, every year since 1991). But who really thinks he’d have been given as much leeway if we’d not won the league last year? If we were in Liverpool’s shoes? Longterm plans and management are out of fashion everywhere except Arsenal now. I genuinely think once SAF goes Manchester United are at risk of a high manager turnover as impatience with new managers will set in, like after Busby retired. And I think SAF knows this. His messages to the Liverpool owners aren’t meant for them, they are direct missives to the Glazers, warnings that just because their countymen are doing this doesn’t mean it’s actually a good idea. Who knows if the Glazers know enough about English football to realise the second longest serving manager in the country knows what he’s talking about, but you’d hope they are paying attention.

Owners should own and support and if they know about football then maybe take a hand, but always respect the boundaries of the manager. It’s common sense. Yanks and Russians who probably weren’t even interested in football five years ago are now flooding over and need to be careful though you wonder how much they are willing to listen to those who know what they are talking about? It’s enough to make you pine for the days of Elton John being the fanciest club owner in the country…

Oh, and as an aside, can Citeh fans please respect the minute’s silence at the Derby. I know most will, but I fear a small minority are set on ruining it.

January 2008

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