The news that Rafa Benitez has rejected his latest contract offer reintroduces to the spotlight some of the behind scenes issues that, because of our good start to the season, had been relegated to shuffling about in the wings.
The problem this time appears not to be between Rafa and the Star Spangled Duo but long running issue he appears to have with Chief Executive, Rick Parry. Rafa has said he will only accept a new deal if his role is revised to give him greater control over football matters. Greater involvement in the academy is one of these but I guess the key issue is transfer dealings, which presently remain the responsibility of Parry. Said Rafa
“The talks between my agent and the advisers of the owners have been very positive and friendly and our differences are about my responsibilities. I have a lot of experience in football at different clubs and if you do not have a technical director and you are the manager you have to have control of the football decisions. But always within the confines of a budget which is controlled by the owners and the club. In this scenario the manager knows the amount money he has available to him and can decide how much he should spend on each player according to the needs of the team. The only person who can decide the value of a player to his squad is the manager because he knows what elements are needed to improve the squad.”
On the face of it this looks a difficult one to resolve particularly as there appears to be split loyalties between the main protagonists. Tom Hicks is supportive of Rafa but has, in the past, been openly critical of Rick Parry. Rafa’s criticisms of Parry particularly over his handling of transfers (the latest being the thwarted “courtship” of Gareth Barry last summer) have been regular and vocal. George Gillett appears to be the only person who in is in position to bring the parties together and has, when the bitching has begun, often appealed for unity.
When they heard this news I guess the immediate thought that most fans would have been does this mean will Rafa leave Liverpool FC? I suspect this is a last resort however, today’s news will have alerted parties at the Bernabeau who ironically, and perhaps now awkwardly, we meet in the Champions League next month. Tom Hicks put a positive spin on these fears.
“I will be working with Rafa to get this resolved – and I am just not worried about it at all. Rafa is going to be coach of Liverpool for the next five years, and we will work through all this.”
S*** so he’s off then!
So, what will really happen? They are so many possibilities and outcomes to this that one doesn’t really know where to begin and it’s difficult to be sure which way it will go as, obviously, we aren’t flies on the walls at Anfield. Try and unravel this. Rafa has the support of the fans so if he goes then the owner’s unpopularity will increase. If Rafa gets his way Rick Parry’s nose will be put out of joint and if there is also the issue of the owners wanting, via Parry, to keep a tight control over the purse strings. Equally one wonders if this latest news is just the opportunity Hicks and Gillett have to facilitate the removal or either Parry or, dare I say it, even Rafa?
Perhaps Rafa’s opening gambit yesterday was just that. Maybe he is prepared to compromise and may be the owners also feel they can meet him halfway. I can’t help feeling something will have to give but above all, one hopes that, bearing in mind our current league position, we aren’t about to enter yet another distracting damaging behind the scenes war of personalities?
Enjoy your weekend.
Hicks calls for Rick Parry to resign