There have been dramatic changes at the big clubs in the north west these last couple of years. Manchester City are the new money men whilst their more illustrious neighbours United and, 25 miles up the road, Liverpool are enduring miserable headlines in the financial broadsheets.
Liverpool and United have American owners and both sets of supporters are thoroughly hacked off with them. The only constant is that United continue to win football matches, something that Liverpool have not been able to do. The Merseyside outfit are having a poor season considering the expectations of their supporters at the start of the campaign and are currently trying to grind out the results in order to keep their Champions League aspirations on track.
The situation wasn’t helped last week when Ciro Ferrara was relieved of his duties as coach of Juventus and the Italian giants made an interim appointment sparking fears amongst the Anfield faithful that their manager, Rafa Benitez, could be heading to Turin at the end of the season.
Given the way Benitez’s season has gone so far you could be forgiven for thinking that the general consensus amongst the Liverpool supporters would be, “Don’t bother waiting ’til the end of the season Rafa.” However, because of the battle between the fans and their American owners, in which Benitez is seen as the the supporter’s General, that is not the case.
American tycoons Tom Hicks and George Gillett are the cause of Liverpool’s woes in the eyes of the fans. They believe that Benitez, who proved his worth in a level playing field era prior to Hicks and Gillett by lifting the Champions League Trophy in 2005 followed by the FA Cup in 2006, is a victim of the financial restraints that the owners have put in place.
Most supporters believe that Benitez continues to do a good job under very difficult circumstances. That is a refreshing attitude given the ‘lost two on the bounce – sack him,” culture that most supporters favour.
Benitez is used to being coveted by other clubs. It is nice to be wanted but somewhere along the line he has to be truthful and, given the Anfield faithful’s loyalty to him, it would be nice if he were to reciprocate with a forceful denial rather than the old ‘it’s always flattering to be linked with a big club’ line.
Besides, it would be a case of the proverbial frying pan and fire if Benitez were to jump. The financial situation at Juventus is no better than that at Anfield, further proof that the game is starting to pay the price for its recent over indulgence. Benitez should extinguish the rumour and concentrate on turning his club’s season around. The last thing a club in turmoil needs is a lame duck manager.
The bar is set high at Anfield and Champions League qualification is not only expected but demanded by the supporters.
Reproduced with permission from betting.betfair.com. Ã‚Â© The Sporting Exchange Limited
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