You’re havin’ a Raf, Benitez!

WELL folks we really know that football is well and truly back now.

Chelsea benefit from a dodgy refereeing decision thanks to a penalty wrongly awarded in their match – some things never change. Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez is in the news claiming that there is a conspiracy to keep his team from being successful. Some things never change. Manchester United, Champions of England, sit in the bottom half of the league. Okay, now that’s a new one.

However, the third point is something that Manchester United can and will work on. It’s easy to work on problems with the entirety of your squad is pulling in the same direction – some of our players have been all too vocal about the pull in another, somewhat scouse, direction. The one time United hero is now on his way to Real after losing the panel decision intended to force our club to sell him to Liverpool. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

When you lose a first team player to long term injury it is realistic to expect them to go and find a replacement. When the player returns from injury and finds his place taken by his replacement, it is not unreasonable to expect the returning player to fight for his place back. But no, the toys came out and Gaby stormed off home.

I can imagine what happened next. Liverpool make a bid and are denied, Gaby goes home and hurriedly rifles through his desk papers. He sees everything there, the x-ray from his injury, a Manchester United letter agreeing that the player could rehabilitate himself away from the club, and then, like Willy Wonka’s golden ticket, he finds the letter indicating Manchester United’s approval of a release fee. He slams the drawer shut and in the process knocks the I HEART MANCHESTER mug to the floor, breaking it into little tiny pieces, with no hope of resurrection. Thankfully his Premiership medal and captain’s armband survive and he leaves.

Manchester United are okay with me moving to arch rivals and deadly enemies Liverpool, really, they are. Stop laughing, I mean it.  It seems that neither Gaby nor his highly paid and incredibly clever legal bods’ read the letter carefully enough. The inclusion of a transfer fee which would trigger the release clause is there, but so is a massive great big EURO currency sign which David Gill probably put in BOLD and size 72. Manchester United had clearly only envisioned a European transfer. Nuff said.

The judging panel laugh to see such fun and before they can pull themselves together to make the decision, in walks Crystal Palace Chief Exec, Phil Alexander. Alexander claims that Heinze’s agents had approached his club to purchase the player and then sell him on to Liverpool. The Liverpool management deny all knowledge and Sir Alex laughs so hard at the back of the room, he nearly chokes on his chewing gum!

Applause goes to the Crystal Palace fan who wrote in reaction to this news ‘We already have two quality players for that position, why the hell would we need a third!’ The red ink sign of rejection is stamped on that file quicker than you can say “Jesper Blomqvist, running down the wing”. Then in the blink of an eye, Gabriel who has ‘never spoken’ with clubs because ‘in my head the only option has been Liverpool’, is out of the door quicker than Patrice Evra, and off to Madrid, with whom he had talks with in the summer. So much for Gaby staying to fight for his dream move to the Kop.

Sir Alex mwa ha ha ha’s at Rafa and it’s all done and dusted.

The Liverpool ECHO claims that Rafa Benitez did not want to wait for the result of any appeal. Apparently he is ‘unsure of the merit in waiting…when he’s clearly lost faith in the Premier League hierarchy’. (23/8). Yes, it’s the Premier League’s fault, not the water tight documentation proving the counter argument and the last minute words of a chairman from the fizzy cola league. “How can a player with a signed agreement be treated like this? He has a document which is clear, but the Premier League prefers to believe the word of someone else who made a mistake.” (Daily Mirror, 23/8)

Please excuse the panel for believing the Chief Executive of a football league team that would have made a profit in the sell on if he had kept quiet about the deal, and a document which apparently clearly states the terms under which the release clause would be triggered.

The argument against that: he (Phil Alexander) is mistaken. Well, that’s that then. Let Gaby move to Liverpool, Benitez has won me over! NOT, and I have a signed document to prove it.

Next Benitez will be saying that the Premier League is trying to stop them becoming champions. Oh wait, that happened too. “It’s going to be very difficult for us to win the Premier League because the other teams are so strong, but I want our supporters to know that despite the disadvantages we have, we will fight all the way.“We will fight to cope with our more difficult kick-off times and all the other decisions which are going against us.” (Daily Mirror, 23/8)

It is going to be very difficult to win the Premier League because it is a difficult league to win. It is going to be very difficult to win the Premier League because you have not done so in donkey’s years. This summer Liverpool have signed Fernando Torres, Ryan Babel and Yossi Benayoun. They failed to sign ONE player, from Manchester United. What disadvantages do Liverpool have? They have been consistently one player away from winning the league for years, and seem to have bought many players to make allowances for the fact that sometimes the ‘one player’ doesn’t quite cut the mustard.

Early kick off’s after an International game, many of them in fact, does not a conspiracy make. That is what happens when you are trying to win the league, Mr Benitez. You cannot moan about disadvantages when you have spent money and strengthened. The league is not against you.

Stop sitting in your office looking for hidden anti-Liverpool messages or playing sudoku or whatever, get out on the training pitch and put the effort in. Points on the pitch win fairly shiny prizes – points made in the press win you a nice case of paranoia and no friends. How many points behind us did you finish in the league last season?

I am willing to admit the whole Rob Styles connection to Chelsea does seem odd. The Liverpool ECHO reports this week “we hear reports that he’s involved with a company which has just laid a path for Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich. I’m not suggesting anything underhand but it is all so bizarre.” (Tommy Smith, 22/8)

His comments about Mascherano’s transfer to Liverpool being held up while United signed Carlos Tevez quickly, also do not hold water. I think the off again on again merry go round that was the Tevez transfer is there for all to see. Manchester United have spent a lot of money this pre-season and it is fair to say we have not had the start we had hoped for. We can blame it on the injury to a key player, we can blame it on Carlos Tevez’s ‘poor start’ to life at Manchester United, we too can blame the referee on some occasions. It is some of these things and non of these things but it comes down to the fact that spending money does not guarantee success. If you don’t play well, you suffer in the league.

Results haven’t gone our way, we move on. We try and win the league from the position we have because it is the only way we know how to do it. To throw a stock pile of excuses at the media seems almost as if you are
pre-empting a terrible season and one or two top money signings not making the grade. If that happens, it happens, Liverpool were poor domestically long before Torres arrived and they may well be poor afterwards.

The Liverpool Echo writes that Benitez may “consider United’s extraordinary stance on Heinze as the firmest indication to date they see Liverpool as realistic contenders for their first title in 17 years.” (22/8)

To be realistic title contenders you have to stop blaming everyone else, get on and win enough games to be title winners.

Let’s get on with the football then, shall we?


Author: The Editor

I write words about things I care about and hopefully you'll care about them too when I'm done.

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