Not having read the SI interview in full (mind you, 99.99% people haven’t, they’re just commenting on the excerpts from it), I think it’s easy to see how the media can turn one person’s honest analysis of the situation (Hick’s) into a fresh attempt to create a problem between the Liverpool owners and the Liverpool manager (Sky Sports, shame on you and your ancestors).
So let’s see what everyone read – Mr Hicks, take it away:
“We wanted to see what we could do with the players we had already bought. We just wanted to see if the team was going to gel. Then he (Benitez) went to a press conference and kind of pouted and answered in the same way 20 times: ‘I’m focusing on my team.’The media made up everything from that point forward. They made up that we were going to fire him, that I told him to shut up, that there was a battle between Benitez and the Americans. It’s really funny to watch.”
and, when talking about the home defeat against United:
“Our team played like they mentally didn’t think they were good enough to win. They played tight.”
So the owners told Rafa – hey, we’ve backed you in the summer, now let’s go and get results from what we have. Is that a bad attitude? Hicks and Gillett may not be experts in European football but there’s no doubt that the current Liverpool team should be doing better than it has done in recent months – and for that you don’t need to be an expert.
Throwing money at the team doesn’t solve all problems – and if anything, the American owners seem comfortable with the idea of NOT winning the Premier League this season – they seem, from their actions at least, content to take a long-term approach and build a winning team (as opposed to buying it).
Is that bad? Not at all.
Rafa got pissed because he didn’t get his way – even good managers do that (Jose Mourinho anyone), but I don’t remember Fergie or Wenger throwing a tantrum when they didn’t get the players they wanted (and it has happened – either because of slow movement on the club’s part or because someone outbid them). Rafa has some growing up to do, but on the other hand, he’s also got patient backers who are smart businessmen.
Oh, and you know what the funny thing is? Here’s a snippet from an SI article:
“We did have a disagreement and we did ask him to focus on the important games coming up instead of worrying about spending more money for more players.”
“We like Rafa. We think Rafa’s terrific. We put all that behind us.”
Somehow this one (phone interview with AP), doesn’t get picked up by the UK news agencies…
Liverpool fans, stop worrying about any ‘feuds’ between the owners and Rafa – the media will play it to death and then some, but there really is little there (apart from Rafa throwing a strop about not having money to buy players).
I do have some concerns on why they cut back on the Stanley Park project (allegedly because of financial constraints) but without enough information on that I can’t really comment, can I? So help me out here, someone know why they cut back on it?