So Rafa has gone. Agree or disagree with the decision but was it really a surprise?
I’d always thought that Liverpool should never stoop to the level of other so called large clubs who get rid of their mangers at the slightest drop of a hat, we are better than Spurs, Newcastle, West Ham etc I don’t think we fell into this category, I think most will say Rafa’s had amble time. And how did he use that time? Did he use up his life’s, many might call them ”Istanbul life’s” through his transfer decisions, team selection and ultimately, after a great start, lack of silver? Where his options were tied due to general incompetence and lack of finances and the politics which are currently coming to the fore concerning the sale of the club. It will always be a matter of opinion.
This blog during last season supported Rafa whilst some Liverpool fans trashed him. It is my belief that Rafa, for better or worse, deserved that support whilst the club was involved in that campaign. Players and manager were going through enough as it was without the fans making life hard for them. Rafa deserved such loyalty and should not have been subjected some of the abuse and criticism that from their own fans that already come from the media when things started to go wrong. This would never help them turn it around. To my mind these were not real Liverpool fans and they should be ashamed themselves and the same goes to those who are still trashing him now, even though he’s gone. One wonders if Rafa, after a rest and a period of reflection, will actually feel relieved.
And now? At the end of last season I felt tired which his why blog posts since then have been few and far between. Regarding the future of the club there was an acceptance on my part of what will happen will happen, I was sick of the whole thing, on and off the pitch, and didn’t what to spend all summer speculating on rumour. Re Rafa and his part and his future I’ve turned this over in my mind many times and ultimately couldn’t come any conclusion. Much of this is clouded by the fact that quiet simply I like him. He’s a cankerous, bloody minded old sod and I can identify with that, ask my sons and my other half! For all this his passion to do well for the club is indisputable, even if occasionally we might not agree with his methods, and he has given me some great memories.
Well now that’s not a point of debate. Perhaps with everything being the way it is Rafa’s departure was always on the cards? The phrase used to describe it was “mutual consent”. Perhaps this is true. No one can take away what Rafa has achieved with Liverpool however sometimes things come to a natural conclusion and for all this feisty words about wanting to stay, sometimes you need accept it, take your leave and move on?
The review of Rafa’s period is for another post but practically one wonders just what the effects will be regarding the current situation at Anfield. The long and short of this is that the club needs to be sold. It’s a fact of life that Rafa and the teams failure to get us into the Champions League does not make for a strong selling point on the pitch and sadly and, more relevantly in these circumstances, commercially. The other drawback is that those who might what to take over the club and make changes will need to pay off Rafa, to the tune of £16m? Removing that financial commitment makes the club more attractive to buyers? As attractive as a club with no manager, a £350m debt, no Champions League place and a potential player retention issue can be!
To a degree all this is idle speculation, for example one could also argue that Rafa was right to go because of lack of guarantees regarding improving the squad just as those in charge might point out that he’s spent well over £200m and off we go into the debating chamber again! However perhaps the waters behind the scenes are clearer now that Rafa has gone? Will this smooth the path for a takeover and what will happen to certain players now? Will they leave because Rafa has left or, if some rumours are true, actually stay!
Re the take over one thing is certain this is the first significant move of the new post Hicks and Gillett regime and moves such as this do not tend to be made on a whim and without a follow up plan. Will Rafa’s departure be the prelude to a series of events leading to not necessarily a new manager but perhaps some new owners? Life goes on.
In the meantime I leave with words from the man himself who I genuinely wish all the very best.
“I have no words to thank you enough for all these years and I am very proud to say that I was your manager. Thank you so much once more and always remember: You’ll never walk alone.”
God bless big man and thanks.