There Was No Need Sir. Alex

Posted: June 3, 2010 by mcdonaldtaf in Liverpool FC, Manager Talk

Who would have thought when Alex Ferguson made his comment about ‘knocking Liverpool off their f*cking perch’ that there really was no need. Less than a decade later with United having equalled the number of league titles and drawn a Champions League closer, Liverpool seem to be on the verge of imploding and meekly limping off their perch. Under the pressures of crippling debts, which have increasingly stifled any transfer activity, and with owners whose sole aim appears to be financial gain we have lost our way. Along with ‘the Liverpool way’.

A group of fans (the majority I would suggest) were clinging onto hope that last season was a blip and things could be turned around. It is fair to say that the grip was holding firm because we had some world class players and a proven world class manager. The latter now appears to be on  his way out of Anfield, while questions will be increasingly asked about the former – especially Fernando Torres and Javier Mascherano (who probably represent two years worth of interest payments).

There is genuine anger among some fans about the decision to part ways with Benitez. So we should prepare for spin like we have never been spun before. We’ll be told that he’d lost the dressing room. Yet if that’s the case why have they taken so long to come to this decision? If he’d lost the dressing room surely this decision could have been taken weeks ago. Why did Mascherano (verbally) agree to sign a new contract with the club? Why has Reina signed a new contract? Why does Torres openly acknowledge his respect for Rafa and how Rafa has improved him as a player? Questions, questions and more questions. Sadly and inevitably it will all lead to spin and media hype driving certain sections of our fan base, those who won’t ask the questions above, into their ‘I told you so’ mode.

Most upsetting of all Rafa continued to stand by the club as it potentially headed towards the precipice of mid-table mediocrity due to financial decline, and he was making a difference. He worked with the board when told that interest payments were sapping away his transfer budget and the club had to reduce its debts. He turned away from the overtures of top European clubs time and time again. The man was of the mould who understood how important the fans were. I genuinely believe that those fans, who believed, were the ones who made it difficult for Rafa to leave of his own volition.

Did he make mistakes? Well he is human, as are other Premier League managers. Has Ferguson made mistakes or Wenger? What exactly did either of them win last season? A league cup between them! Many parallels have been drawn between Arsenal and Liverpool over the past season, yet who has won more in Rafa’s tenure? I guess long term stability means nothing at Liverpool anymore.

Some have suggested that the club needs refreshing and a new manager will achieve that. Who will want the job though? The financial and political position of the club are not appealing but neither is stepping into the office of a manager who was genuinely adored and respected by the majority of Liverpool fans. I have no doubt the Kop will get behind whoever takes over and give them every opportunity to prove how they’re refreshing things. Most though, will be wishing the change had been one of ownership, financial power, transfer policy and a return to the core beliefs the club was built on.

Political power games, on what is fast becoming a sinking ship, have led to yesterday’s news. The ineptitude of the club’s board continues to be played out in the media spotlight like an episode of, I was going to say soap opera but it’s worse than that, The Simpsons. I become increasingly embarrassed by what is happening within our club. Rafa may be guilty of ending up embroiled in those power games but answer me this – with Rafa now gone, who within the club will hold the board and its owners to account?

  1. Adam says:

    I like Rafa – always have done, always will. But I’m not bothered that he has gone – he was expendable in my opinion.

    He bought some fantastic players, changed our Academy structure (though no big results yet) and believed in the Liverpool name. Just like Houllier did. He won some cups, won some big games (inc humbling United) and almost won the title. Just like Houllier did. He also made some big fat errors, glaring mistakes and lost the support of the Kop over recent months. Just like…you guessed it.

    No-one is bigger than Liverpool and though it sounds Real Madrid-ish I only care about the players and how they perform. We do not know if Rafa going will have convinced key players to stay or go – only they can tell us that. But just like Gerrard or Torres or Masch going, Liverpool is bigger than that.

    The biggest risk to my happiness is whether Liverpool DO stay bigger than one man, and that is about the Yanks leaving. Everything else pales into comparison when you consider our very existence is in danger.

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