I sometimes wonder if it is Inter Milan or Liverpool that Rafa manages.
I say this because every time I hear him in the press these days he is commenting on us rather than his current club. Inter Milan have made a fairly decent start to the season so perhaps he feels bored, preferring to concentrate on his previous employers?
Whatever the case it is still clear that Rafa still has big issues over his departure. A few weeks ago he commented on the owners, which when you strip out the bizarre references to bottles of milk, seemed to suggest that the appointment of Christina Purslow was where things started to go wrong for him. One wonders just whose side Purslow was on? He was happy to be alongside Martin Broughton and NESV when the takeover was finalised but he was quick to tender his resignation soon after? However, I digress.
What Rafa needs to appreciate is what is done is done and now it is time to let go and move on. Equally Roy Hodgson and Tom Hicks should also refrain from having sly stabs at Rafa. What makes it worse for them is that Rafa is clearly still passionate about Liverpool FC just as he is sensitive over his departure and quick to defend his record with us. He was always going to respond and in a fashion that wasn’t going to do them any favours.
Rafa’s latest outburst concerns HRH’s comments about his relationship with Kenny Dalglish and his criticism of the number of “expensive failures” at the club. This prompted him to say that HRH is
“He’s talking about things that he doesn’t know”
And more cryptically
“Some people cannot see a priest on a mountain of sugar”
Presumably this is a Spanish thing and refers to the fact HRH cannot see the bleeding obvious ie. that if a Priest where to climb a mountain of sugar he would be easily seen against the white. Yet wait, perhaps all this is a side issue to a cunning marketing campaign involving Rafa? Consider this for a moment Rafa’s previous reference concerned a bottle of milk. Now he’s talking about sugar. Sugar and milk it has to be Kelloggs Corn Flakes next! I can see him on the billboards now, smiling with a bowl and a spoon raised at jaunty angle, I hope they erect some in Manchester!
The fact is that in coming out so publically both mangers have put themselves on dangerous ground and arguably opened themselves up the more criticism than praise.
Rafa in trying to defend his position has come out with a number of statements that his detractors, particularly towards the end of this time with us, will easily seize on.
“We gave the fans their pride again. We fought for the fans, we fought for the club and we fought for our players. So maybe he cannot understand this. With £10m net spending, I left that squad with £300m value, 13 internationals”
There is no doubting Rafa’s passion for the club and this is still evident. As ever there were moments of great pride, Istanbul etc, however towards the end, for one reason or another, it wasn’t a particularly great time. To describe his transfer achievements in terms of “net spending” ignores the volume of players he bought in and shunted out often far too early in my opinion. As ever some were excellent buys others were shockers, we all know who they were and Rafa detractors will probably already have the list to hand!
HRH too isn’t without fault. The blame his situation on Rafa’s legacy is disingenuous particularly when for example he has just gone on record stating that two Rafa buys, Torres and Reina, were not for sale and, earlier in the season, tried to stop the sale of Mascherano. Hell, even David Ngog is our top scorer this seasons! None of HRH’s signings to date have performed better! Moreover, I certainly don’t ever recall Rafa criticising Gerard Houllier.
HRH already has a sizable portion of Liverpool fans who already doubt his credentials. To allow himself to be sidetracked, or thinking fans will get sidetracked, by these issues is extreme folly. All that is wanted from HRH at present is for him to concentrate on getting the side back to from.
As for the comments about the relationship between Rafa and Kenny Dalglish I find it hard to believe that Rafa would seriously fall out with Kenny, he was instrumental in bringing him in to the club. Even if they did cross swords what was HRH trying to gain by bringing the subject up? For starters it is a private, personal matter and all he has done is to get a response from Rafa which has given his detractors more ammunition in short, wrong target Roy!
Finally on the subject of Kenny Dalglish perhaps both managers should take a lesson from the actions of great man himself so far. The first is to remain silent. They should then try to ensure their players try to emulate the great man on the pitch whilst at the same time trying to match his achievements off it? Not much to ask is it!!!!!