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Feeling for Rafa
Really Madrid, 68% win ratio and you’ve sacked him? I’ve never liked Benitez, and in light of his wife’s tasteless comments about cleaning up after Jose seems a pretty good advert for all kinds of proverbs involving judging not, throwing stones in greenhouses and what not, but even I can see that it is ridiculous (especially looking at LVG).
Yet, what baffles me more is that players still want to go to ‘the best club in the world’ which clearly has such a poisonous atmosphere and no loyalty towards employees.
Daniel (LVG out too, please!) Cambridge
Not feeling for Rafa
The news of the sacking of Rafa Benitez in Madrid drew a little grin on my face. I’ve been waiting for this day ever since he inexplicably took charge of the biggest job in the world. How can one of the most, if not the most negative manager in modern football, the worst man-manager of his generation, the manager proven to deprive players of every ounce of confidence in themselves be given such appointment? As Ryan Babel, a player destroyed by Benitez and once the hottest prospect in Europe, said upon news of his appointment: “Benitez will transform Ronaldo into his best defender”. Not even Gerrard, who became a world icon under him, rates his former manager.
Many can say I’m a disgrace because I celebrated the European Cup and now I’m having a pop, but I cannot see how anyone can overlook Rafa’s disastrous decision-making and error upon error that somehow a section of the LFC faithful fanatically overlooks. I recall after Liverpool defeated Milan thinking that the club had everything to move forward and win it all for years. If we were able to win with such under-par players imagine what we could do with major investment and reinforcements. Liverpool was in a place to re-establish it’s 70s-80s dynasty as a sleeping giant who had woken up under Houllier and now was back to the summit with Benitez. Rafa would be given the resources, the time to build after delivering the biggest trophy in world football. Furthermore, players would want to come to the newly crowned five-time European Cup Champions.
What happened in return was a meagre harvest of one FA Cup and a European Super Cup. In six seasons. Six years of enduring dour football, observing his horrendous record and sensing the huge inferiority complex we had against other big clubs, watching the next no-no substitution, watching him alienate our best players, destroy players’ careers as though he was paid to do so, seeing his transfer market disasters pile one after the other, playing often w/o forwards and shifting Luis Garcia/Jermaine Pennant into the then-not-yet-discovered false nine role.
Rafa had Gerrard in his ultimate action-hero-to-the-rescue heroics, Alonso, one of Europe’s finest central midfielders, Mascherano, the best holding midfielder in England and Torres, the best centre forward in Europe, and still couldn’t deliver a Premier League title or repeat a European title. And the excuse to justify him at the helm time and again was that “he won the European Cup in 2005”.
Now, after his latest bust in Madrid he’s got nowhere to look at but himself. But judging by evidence, and the miserable character Rafa has shown to be, he’s hopeless in that regard. He’ll conveniently point to the board, the fans, the players. He presumably forgot he was in Madrid and not at Liverpool.
It angers me that he was given so much time at Liverpool when I see United fans drawing their ire towards Van Gaal playing turgid football. It’s unacceptable that you would train to better yourself professionally whilst earning money none of us can imagine and deliver performances that leave you aghast.
The era of negative managers is gone. Even Mourinho has lost his winning touch. He could sustain his style because he consistently won. He spent ten years undefeated at home in a streak spanning 150 games in four different countries! That’s just unreal. In comparision, Rafa failed miserably at Inter and Real Madrid, was average to good at Napoli and depending on how you judge it he was either a success or a mess at Liverpool.
One thing is undeniable though, he left the club an absolute mess that set us back for years in comparison to our competitors. Only now after a good offensive-minded manager such as Brendan and now with the more sophisticated Klopp can we have a sense of positivity towards the future and Liverpool is again becoming an attractive club for top players.
Here’s for a manager like Rafa to never come even close to Anfield ever again.
Raúl H. García, Liverpool FC
Everton would be screwed without Lukaku…
I understand the speculation with Lukaku but let’s think about this for a minute. He’s under contract until 2019. So no real need for Everton to sell at this juncture. Sure his new agent can continue to make noise but that’s all it is, noise, and Lukaku has shown no inclination of wanting to move either verbally or with his play. So with the ball in Everton’s court right now, does it make sense to sell? Even for stupid money?
I’d submit that it doesn’t. Right now, it’s his goals and his partnership with Deulofeu that’s keeping us just mid-table. I’d shudder to think where we’d be without those goals. With the vast majority of Premier League teams within spitting distance of one another, and IF Martinez can get our defensive problems sorted out and find us a new young goalkeeper, there’s no reason we can’t find ourselves climbing up the table. But the defence and goalkeeper situation have to get sorted or this all a moot point.
I get our top players will always be linked to “big” clubs but if you look at our recent history, we’ve never sold because we had to.
TX (Joel Robles must be wondering what has to happen for him to get a game) Bill, EFC
…So why would they sell?
Anyone thought that maybe Everton might not want to sell Lukaku. He is contracted until 2019, Everton are no longer a “selling club” and are unlikely to find any kind of decent replacement in the January window. Although they might get a lot of money for him, they are 6 points of Europa League spots and might go on to win the League Cup which would guarantee it. They won’t do this without Lukaku.
Also, Lukaku might not want to leave in January. In the form of his career, with excellent service from a young, dynamic and exciting attacking squad and a manager who trusts him. Why would he move to Liverpool who are battling for Europa League themselves. Or Arsenal, as mentioned the other day. That makes sense from a career perspective sure (Champions League) but why would you break up your amazing form with a move?
In the summer, Giroud will be 29-30, Walcott with be 27-28 and we will need a young, hungry excellent striker to be first choice. If Lukaku does want that Arsenal move, he should do it then.
Finally, if he hits 25-30 for the season for Everton, he could have his pick of the clubs needing new strikers in the summer (Liverpool, Man United (probably), Man City (Aguero and Lukaku , yes please), Arsenal and many more abroad).
Rob A (can we sort out diving before we look at “consistent fouling” ) AFC
Why the hatred for Defoe?
Since Jermain Defoe signed for Sunderland there’s been a lot of snarking and sniping at the little man on this site and I’ve always wondered why. A record of 120 Premier League goals in 302 starts is hardly too shabby, is it? Considering the teams he’s played for I’d say that’s excellent, not like he’s been in championship contending sides.
Why does he come for so much negativity from you lads and lasses? Is it because he’s not foreign or pretty. Or foreign and pretty? Is it because of the diamond earrings, I’ve heard people dislike Lewis Hamilton because he wears those? The whole PA thing? No, the sniping started before that nonsense. Who knows what it is?
To make it worse he seems like a really nice bloke. Not the sharpest tool in the box by the looks of it but a pleasant lad, and he always gives his all for a terrible Sunderland side. An excellent pro, unlike many others.
Even mailbox Ed slated him yesterday, and this was after a weekend brace. He’d walk into the Palace team Ed, come on. One goal from the strikers all season, is it?
Why the hate? It makes no sense. Please, stop hating Jermain.
(MC – No hatred, but his public dismay at not being in the England squad (last season!) grated a touch).
British managers: Be better
John Nicholson’s point was that English managers get plenty of chances and his statistics prove it. Arsenal Wenger wasn’t just handed the Arsenal job, neither was Fergie. Mourinho, Klopp, Rodgers even Roy Hodgson and Kenny Dalglish got their respective jobs because they’ve proven themselves capable somewhere else before being hired.
The thing about top clubs is that they can’t afford to be selective about their choices and if they do and they’re not good enough they get punished for it quickly. They spend quite a lot of money and they need someone to make it work for them and turn it into results. Man United hired Moyes on Fergie’s advice and look how that went (referring to his managerial skills, not his nationality).
The so-called top clubs have to hire on merit or they’re screwed, plain and simple. Failing that, they change their manager and get someone they think is better. They really have no time to care whether a manager is British or not. They have to make a choice on the best manager on their previous record, because the consequence of not doing that is huge in a competitive place like the EPL. If the British managers aren’t getting a job on those clubs, it’s because they’re not good enough, plain and simple.
Professional football is a globalized sport and the EPL is a pretty lucrative league based on the revenue. That means a lot of good talent from around the world drifts towards it (just look at the nationalities of the players). Each clubs can only hire one manager, so they go for the best that decides to come. They’re competing against some of the best managers available in football. It’s not really a local sport anymore. “Foreigner” is also a pretty broad classification that includes just about any country but the UK so in a globalized league like the EPL, why is the fact that the top jobs happen to fall to foreigners surprising? Most of the world is comprised of so called “foreigners”!
So no, the answer to Big Sam isn’t “You may be right, but tough luck”. It’s “You’re wrong”. Yes, there is always an element of chance giving even at the top clubs but you’ll have plenty to prove to yourself before you get there and if you really are good enough, you’ll be given a chance.
……It’s ignorant to say that Brits haven’t been given a fair crack at the whip at a ‘top, top’ job at a ‘big’ club. In the last few years, England’s two most celebrated clubs have hired Brits.
Liverpool replaced a La Liga and UCL-winning manager with Englishman Roy Hodgson after a decent spell at Fulham (where he won nothing), who was in turn replaced by Scotsman Kenny Dalglish (who hadn’t managed in almost 10 years), who was in turn replaced by Northern Irishman Brendan Rodgers who was given three seasons to impart his (trophy-less) philosophy at great expense to Liverpool’s foreign ownership.
Arguably the biggest job in world football, although hard to believe now, was given to Scotsman David Moyes on the back of a decade of stable yet completely trophy-less ‘achievement’. One can argue that he was not backed sufficiently in the transfer market but he had inherited the incumbent premier league champions.
Harry Redknapp was given four years at Spurs where his own hubris and national team aspirations saw him take the club from the pinnacle of their finest team in decades to an agonizing near-miss.
Tim Sherwood has been given opportunities at both Spurs (partial failure) and Aston Villa (complete ineptitude) despite having little senior managerial experience. I dare anyone to question the magnitude of these clubs, their contribution to both the English and European game is immense.
It is only Manchester City and Chelsea who have failed to appoint an English manager but I dare anyone to question the influence of a certain Englishman (see Terry, John) on both the fortune and the identity of his club in the last decade.
Almost any job in the Premier League is an immense opportunity for a British manager. One can choose to be like Brendan and try use it as a springboard for bigger and better things or adopt the attitude of a big Sam and remain bitter (side note – I seem to remember him being given a job at Newcastle, a truly magnificent club with a massive stadium and a proud history in both England and on the continent…he failed.)
The Drobe, Lfc, Johannesburg
Zidane is the new Shearer
A balded-headed, legendary player who was once the world’s record transfer free taking over the managerial reins for the first time in his career for a club with a fanatical fan-base and mad-cap chairman.
It’s Alan Shearer as Newcastle United manager all over again.
Brian (interesting times in European managerial spheres of late), Wexford
(MC – Don’t let Big Al hear you saying that)
Newcastle’s transfer window needs
The past few transfer windows have left me frequently questioning why NUFC don’t go in for some players who would surely be an upgrade on what we have as a squad now. Big example for me was Micah Richards (dunno obviously if we went in for him privately), he was available and obviously a better option for the squad than Williamson or Haidara, yet nothing (as far as I know).
Possible signings that would definitely improve our squad:
– Remy: Proven, will be looking for game time for sure as Euros next year which means he should put in the work needed on the pitch. A loan would suit both parties as well.
– Townsend: Another player who wants game time, has ability and offers a greater threat going forward than Obertan or Thauvin (still hoping the latter comes good but not holding my breath).
– Austin: Surely he’s worth the money QPR is asking, and surely he’d be boosting his Euro hopes by being in the limelight (NUFC is a circus for better or worse). There must be some reasons that we the public are not privy to, otherwise he would’ve moved on in the summer.
Any of these three would help Mitrovic in attack. One extra attacking player means we don’t need to resort to watching Papiss drag his lazy a*se around the pitch, nor do we need to see Obertan belt it down the line for a trademark poorly controlled dribble either resulting in him running it out of play or putting in a dogsh*te cross.
If we go through the window without adding any quality, people will no longer be backing NUFC to just scrape enough points to stay up, everyone will realize that we’re definitely strong candidates to go down.
Jon (just waiting till Cisse rocks up in China for a payday), NUFC, Guangzhou
It’s because he isn’t quite good enough
As a (biased) West Ham I cannot understand how Mark Noble has never won a full cap?
Thanks to Wiki I can immediately tell you that (as well as representing l at U16, U17, U18, U19 and U21 levels) he captained the U21 side, scoring three goals in twenty appearances.
He’s the longest serving player in West Ham’s squad, current captain, has won the club’s Hammer of the year trophy twice and in 2014 he was ranked in the top 5 penalty takers in the top European leagues (and was in the top 10 in the world based on the percentage of penalties successfully converted since 2009). Something English players aren’t normally known for!
Honestly – explain to me how has he NEVER been called up?
Burn me one
Just read Winners and Losers and I have to know; is Daniel Storey a 90s RnB fan? I’ll make him a CD if he wants.