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Author Topic: Another bottle job from Sir Rafael of Benitez  (Read 13175 times)

Offline Gurdeep

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Re: Another bottle job from Sir Rafael of Benitez
« Reply #75 on: April 19, 2013, 07:47:30 AM »
A piece on Rafa.....

Rory Smith (The Times)
Last updated at 12:01AM, April 19 2013

As he travelled up the West Coast Main Line a fortnight ago, returning to The Wirral to spend a rare day off with his family, Rafael Benítez found himself surrounded by Everton fans, fresh from their draw with Tottenham Hotspur.

He happily posed for photographs with his former foes, even wandering through the carriages to greet one boy who was too shy to request a picture with Chelsea’s interim manager. As they disembarked at Runcorn, full of profuse thanks, the Evertonians asked just one more favour. “Make sure you beat the Reds***e, Rafa.” At least one set of supporters know exactly where their loyalties lie this weekend. For everyone else, seeing Benítez back at Anfield for the first time since his acrimonious departure almost three years ago is so riddled with torn loyalties, mixed emotions and inner conflict that it is considerably more complicated.

It would be easy to characterise Sunday’s Barclays Premier League fixture as a straightforward homecoming, to suggest that Benítez will be cheered to the rafters on Merseyside and mercilessly jeered by the Chelsea malcontents who cannot forgive him for ancient antagonisms.

There is plenty of corroborating evidence for such a theory. Benítez, after all, still lives on Merseyside. He refers to Liverpool, the city, as home.

Montse, Claudia and Agata, his wife and daughters, and their four dogs — including the youngest, Red — continued to live there while he was at Inter Milan. It is impossible, too, to spend any time with him there, even now, without conversation being interrupted by a stream of wellwishers, asking for photos and autographs, each request duly obliged. He only has to show his face at the city’s Radisson Blu hotel to be served with a Caesar salad and grilled chicken, his lunch of choice.

The city has taken him to its heart. When he left Liverpool, he donated considerable sums to local charities — including £96,000 to the Hillsborough families — and, in the 18 months he was out of work after leaving Italy, he appeared on stage, most notably playing himself in One Night In Istanbul and, at length, in “An Audience With Rafa Benítez,” at the Empire Theatre.

The affection is reciprocated. This is the place where the fans marched in his honour, holding aloft a gilded portrait — known as the Rafatollah — when it emerged that Tom Hicks and George Gillett Jr, the absentee landlords, were planning to part company with him.

In his office is a sheaf of letters, each sent by a fan in the past few years, expressing gratitude for the nights he brought Liverpool and the success he delivered. His favourite ends with the words: “Thank you for giving us our pride back.” Yes, it would be easy to suggest that this is one of English football’s great love stories, now unrequited, after years of happy matrimony. The reality, though, is very different, far more discordant.

No figure in modern football is quite so divisive as Benítez. Even José Mourinho is praised by his critics for boasting no little managerial nous and acknowledged by his admirers to possess a number of less appealing personality traits. There is nuance in the debate. Not with Benítez, his old nemesis.

To some, he is a misunderstood, misrepresented genius, the finest tactician of his generation. To others, he is a fraud, a mediocrity who got lucky.

That is just as true among the Liverpool supporters at the stadium he called home for six years as it is among the football-watching public at large. There are those who would build a statue for all he did at Anfield, and there are those, a small but vocal minority, who would sooner burn an effigy.

In the three years since he departed, the balm of time has not soothed the ire. It has long been held against Benítez that he is a recidivist politician, a goateed Machiavelli, who is never happier than when he is at war with someone, raging against a machine.

To some extent, that is true, but anyone with any degree of understanding of the Liverpool that existed under Hicks and Gillett would admit that it was impossible to be connected to the club and not become embroiled in such machinations. It was a time when owner would brief against owner, players against manager, managing director against commercial team, journalist against journalist and fan against fan. It was a political, poisonous place. The infighting was endemic.

The club have not yet recovered, not fully. Many of the old tensions remain, particularly among the fans, and that, in turn, has politicised Benítez’s legacy. There is an assumption that he will be lauded upon his return. Such an expectation is skewed. What you think of Benítez depends on which version of history you believe.

He, of course, would want it to be boiled down to a list of facts. There is the fifth European Cup, the European Super Cup, the FA Cup and Community Shield — and there are the intangibles: every year, except his last, Liverpool reached the Champions League. In 2009, he came within four points of beating Manchester United to the title.

Where there was once Milan Baros, Igor Biscan and Salif Diao, he brought Fernando Torres, Xabi Alonso and Javier Mascherano. He engineered triumphs over Europe’s grand old houses. In one golden week, his side decimated Manchester United and Real Madrid.

All of that, though, can be countered by his considerable spend, by his lapses in transfer judgment, best represented by Robbie Keane and Alberto Aquilani, by the disappointment of his final year. There are theories that Jamie Carragher and Steven Gerrard gave the team-talk that inspired Istanbul; a widespread belief that he blamed others, principally Rick Parry, the chief executive at the time, for his own failings.

It used to be said that any debate on the internet would boil down to two Liverpool fans arguing about Benítez. It is three years on, and it would be easy to believe that still holds true. Even now, he continues to polarise opinion. Even now, there are no shades of grey. On Sunday, even the line between red and blue will be blurred.
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Offline Tes

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Re: Another bottle job from Sir Rafael of Benitez
« Reply #76 on: April 19, 2013, 11:30:12 PM »
Thanks for posting that, Gurdeep. It is an excellent observational piece of journalism. For once, there's no hidden agenda just straight forward reporting of a situation how he sees it.

I hope Martin manages to get through Sunday in one piece.

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Offline Tes

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Re: Another bottle job from Sir Rafael of Benitez
« Reply #77 on: April 24, 2013, 11:07:13 PM »
Don't make the same mistake twice, there's plenty of new ones to choose from.

Those who choose to preach would do well to take note of their own sermons.

Offline the dude abides

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Re: Another bottle job from Sir Rafael of Benitez
« Reply #78 on: April 24, 2013, 11:36:16 PM »
I got 14 right out of 14.

and had 100 percent when the Guardian ran a similar thing a few weeks back.

but if I was not such an avid reader of Liverpool and Rodger stuff in the media, I would flounder. 

Rodgers has to be utterly embarrassed to be compared to Brent.  If it were me, I;d quickly change my ways.
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Offline Ed

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Re: Another bottle job from Sir Rafael of Benitez
« Reply #79 on: May 25, 2013, 12:49:27 AM »
Seems he can't handle the pressure from the club's supporters.

As the saying goes if you can't handle the pressure get out of the kitchen.....

And all of you lot want him back LOL Don't you people understand that the fanbase is completely split on Rafa thus the pressure he would experience would be akin to the pressure as Chelsea manager.

2 or 3 bad results and he'd be under immense scrutiny - not from management but from our fanbase.
It seems Rafa has a new job (and it has nothing to do with bottles).

"Benítez is the new coach of Napoli. I gave myself a birthday present."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2013/may/24/rafael-benitez-manager-claims-napoli

Offline Tes

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Re: Another bottle job from Sir Rafael of Benitez
« Reply #80 on: May 25, 2013, 07:59:41 PM »
According to another website, he's apparently looking to put a bid in for Lucas. Can't see that one getting off the ground.
Don't make the same mistake twice, there's plenty of new ones to choose from.

Those who choose to preach would do well to take note of their own sermons.