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Slipperduke

The Camden Cad
Joined
Aug 24, 2004
Messages
4,333
Location
North London
This week, a friend of mine bound for pastures new bestowed upon me her collection of old football magazines. I can't begin to explain how exciting this is to someone like me. You see, my friend's magazine collection is taller than her and it stretches back through the years to historic headlines like, "Leeds - The Future Is Ours" and "Vialli Knows What I Can Offer - Jody Morris" It's comedy gold, it really is.

By sheer coincidence, on the night when Rafa Benitez signed a new long-term contract with Liverpool, the first ageing magazine plucked from the pile contained an interview with the then new Arsenal manager, the unknown Arsene Wenger who, while he wasn't defending Ian Wright from an ugly incident with Steve Ogrizovic, was talking of his intention to take the long-ball merchants of North London and, "create a more dynamic way of playing and to bring in creativity."

How funny it seemed back then when I was 18 and Arsenal's idea of dynamism was to kick the ball harder and higher than anyone else. It's not so funny now. 13 years on, I've got grey hairs and a spreading tummy and Wenger has a team who can make passes so accurate and fast that they seem laser-guided. Time, patience and talent has given Arsenal an entirely different reputation and a infrastructure that is the envy of Europe.

The American owners of Liverpool, the Gruesome Twosome of Tom Hicks and George Gillett, have made numerous mistakes since splashing out on their new toy, but the decision to award a long-term contract to Benitez is the best move they've made since they arrived. The outspoken Spanish boss fought tooth and nail for the chance to run the club as he saw fit, autonomously and without interference. Now he will have the chance to fight Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson on terms that at least come close to being equal.

It is one of the most amusing ironies of English football that chairmen, especially the new ones, believe that success will be derived from splintered power, a director of football and a manager working in tandem, yet if you look at the two most consistently successful teams since the inception of the Premier League, Arsenal and Manchester United, they are run by powerful individuals and not by committee. Chelsea, with the artificial influx of cash, should be dealt with as an anomaly, but even their greatest glory came under the personality cult of Jose Mourinho.

Benitez's new contract, and the powers that we can assume came with it, gives him the chance to emulate that young, idealistic Wenger and create an empire in his own image. With five years in the bank, he can afford to bring through young players, mould them into exciting footballers and field a team that can play in a manner expected of those famous red shirts. He can lead with unadulterated power and unquestioned authority, never having to worry about the interference of the board, or a chief executive, always acting in what he deems to be the best interests of the club.

He has the power and he has the authority. Now it's time for him to take the club onto the next level. Fans of other clubs may be cutting this article out and saving it for a good chuckle in 13 years time, but I've got a funny feeling that it is the Liverpool supporters who will have the last laugh.
 

Napster

The Horse with no Name⭐
Joined
Oct 27, 2003
Messages
35,444
Location
The wilds of Kent
and yet my Liverpool mate thinks Rafa's going slowly mad and doesnt expect him to last another whole season
 

Slipperduke

The Camden Cad
Joined
Aug 24, 2004
Messages
4,333
Location
North London
and yet my Liverpool mate thinks Rafa's going slowly mad and doesnt expect him to last another whole season

Your Liverpool mate is going mad. Eight goals in a week against Madrid and United, strongest domestic showing since 1995-96 and another place in the last eight of Europe. Sounds alright to me.
 

Napster

The Horse with no Name⭐
Joined
Oct 27, 2003
Messages
35,444
Location
The wilds of Kent
Your Liverpool mate is going mad. Eight goals in a week against Madrid and United, strongest domestic showing since 1995-96 and another place in the last eight of Europe. Sounds alright to me.

Lots of strange decisions going on though, including the Robbie Keane debacle, and no real striker alternative to Torres. I guess we'll see.
 

Slipperduke

The Camden Cad
Joined
Aug 24, 2004
Messages
4,333
Location
North London
The Robbie Keane thing was mental, but I think that was more Parry than Benitez, from what I've heard. The word, though it's probably the word that Rafa has spread, is that he wanted Barry, Parry wanted Keane. Hence this whole demand for greater power.

As for Torres, have you seen David N'Gog?! Ah, yes. I think I'll have to concede that point!
 

EastStandBlue

Life President
Joined
May 29, 2005
Messages
15,481
The Robbie Keane thing was mental, but I think that was more Parry than Benitez, from what I've heard. The word, though it's probably the word that Rafa has spread, is that he wanted Barry, Parry wanted Keane. Hence this whole demand for greater power.

If that is the case, and i'm presuming it is as i've heard the same, then I'll have to question Rafa's judgement on that one. If Liverpool's strength lies in any particular position it's in central midfield... Alonso and Barry are essentially the same player, except Alonso is more experienced and trusted by Benitez.

They have an enormous strength in depth in the centre of the park, so quite what he's doing chasing a central midfielder when he has N'gog and Babel providing cover for the injury prone Torres is beyond me.
 
Joined
Jan 15, 2006
Messages
947
If that is the case, and i'm presuming it is as i've heard the same, then I'll have to question Rafa's judgement on that one. If Liverpool's strength lies in any particular position it's in central midfield... Alonso and Barry are essentially the same player, except Alonso is more experienced and trusted by Benitez.

They have an enormous strength in depth in the centre of the park, so quite what he's doing chasing a central midfielder when he has N'gog and Babel providing cover for the injury prone Torres is beyond me.

I believe at the time of him wanting Barry he was also trying to get rid of Alonso. If i recall correctly Juventus almost bought him in the summer.
 

manor15

Super Moderator⭐
Staff member
Joined
Aug 13, 2008
Messages
8,311
Regarding Keane I have heard that Benitez wrote up a lilst of players he wanted and Parry was negotiating with Gareth Barry and Robbie Keane, they were planning Barry would be around £10 million or £15 million. When Villa then wanted £20 millions Parry had to say no, this meant that Benitez asked Parry to cancel the Keane deal to use the money on Barry either then or in January but Parry said it was too late to cancel the deal so he was signed anyway. That's what I have heard anyway
 
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