Monday, January 12, 2009

Why "disturbed" Benitez needs to be told to shut up....

Relations between United and Liverpool have been, at best, tetchy down the years, but for the fans it has been a case of bitter hatred which has all too often resulted in blood being spilt. That situation is in serious danger of becoming further inflamed following the Liverpool manager's continued attack on Ferguson and Manchester United.

Not satisfied with making incendiary accusations about the United manager, Benitez has now turned his fire on David Gill when hinting that his sphere of influence is too wide.

Before I get into David Gill's role at United, I'd like to remind you what Fergie said about Liverpool. The United manager made the perfectly reasonable suggestion that Liverpool might get "nervous" in the title run-in, given they were entering uncharted waters. That was it, nothing more. But it was enough to send Benitez into rant mode - warp factor six and counting.

It isn't surprising that Benitez has been receiving support from sections of the press, this is in no small part down to the fact that Fergie is the ONLY manager who dishes out bans ahead of his press briefings, as was the case of the three hacks sat around Brian Woolnough's, Sunday Supplement breakfast table yesterday morning.

Joe Lovejoy (Sunday Times), Andy Dunn (News of the World) and John Richardson (Daily Mail) confirmed that they'd all been banned by Fergie at one time or another. Lovejoy was keen to back Benitez, when stating that someone needed to 'stand up' to Fergie's bullying.

However, other than the 'crime' of banning mischief-making hacks, the assembled scribes were hard-pressed to back-up any charges against Fergie and United save for the Reds' manager recently getting off an FA charge on a technicality, but again they did not further expand on the detail of the case in which Fergie was eventually found not guilty.

Lovejoy says that the FA are frightened of United's legal team. However, like Benitez, the Sunday Times journalist could not back-up his claims with any hard facts. With that said, it is an accepted fact that Fergie is a bully, it is part of his management style. It is also a fact that all managers’ badger referees’ only a complete liar and total hypocrite would argue otherwise.

How many times down the years have opposing managers’ complained about the number of penalties given for Liverpool at Anfield? IT is exactly the same situation at Old Trafford for United, but as we saw against Chelsea yesterday and contrary to the popular myth, United do not always get the big decisions - because Ronaldo was denied a clear first-half penalty.

It is not surprising that a retired, rent-a-quote referee, is supporting Rafa’s rant. Did anyone seriously expect anything else? All too often these officials wrongly believe that they are the star's of the show.

It is the very same retired referees' who also wrongly believe that they have something important to say, hence penning their tiresome memoirs when the gravy train comes to a halt. Anything to earn an extra few bob and slamming Fergie is easy money, isn't it?

As for the role of David Gill at United and his wider circle of interest, if Benitez knew what he was actually talking about then he might be very satisfied with David Gill and his work...

Benitez has been keen to talk about facts. Well here's a few for him to consider concerning notable events, United the FA and our stars.

1995: United voluntarily banned Eric Cantona for the remaining three months of the season following is infamous kung-fu kick. The club hoped their ban would appease the FA, but instead they imposed their own nine month ban on Eric plus a record £20,000 fine.

2003: Rio Ferdinand failed to attend a drug test. The defender claimed he had forgotten because he was preoccupied. The FA imposed an eight month ban from January 2004 at club and international level and a £50,000 fine, he missed the rest of the league season and some of the next along with all of Euro 2004. United appealed against the verdict and sought to draw parallels to the case of Manchester City player Christian Negouai, who was fined £2,000 for missing a test. However, the FA upheld their original ban.

More recently, Patrice Evra was banned for four-matches for an off the pitch incident at Stamford Bridge which occurred last April and he didn't even take any part in the Chelsea game.

In the current season, United have complained bitterly about this season's fixture list in which the Champions had to play all of the top teams away from home in the first-half of the season, added to which the Reds had difficult away games following each and every Champions League away game. Even Arsene Wenger had to concede that this was unfair on United...

So all things considered, many United fans believe that David Gill et al are doing a fairly rubbish job of looking after the club's interests where officialdom is concerned. David Davies, formerly of the FA and a big United fan, has gone on record stating that rather than helping the club with his red connections, as was the popular misconception, in practise it works the other way around because the FA more often than not are keen to make an example of United and their players because of their lofty status.

No doubt all of the above will not stop the many crack-pipe smoking / lunatic conspiracy theorists supporters of Benitez continuing to text-in, half-arsed, egg-on messages to the "disturbed" one. Nonetheless, it needs to stop now, before matters get out of hand between the two sets of supporters who need little or no excuse for fisty-cuffs.


  1. C'mmon Benitez, it's football part n parcel things or games. Be it mind games or whatever we may call it. Just concentrate making Liverpool a Champion again!!!!!After all, there r plenty of games left. Any team can drop points in the second stage of the League. Man U fan

  2. When you talk about hatred between fans, maybe their own offical United site should stop encouraging hatred between rival fans first??

    Not very professional from a so called "professional football club" is it.

    Rafa as the right to question conflict of interest issuses, So does any other manager in the league, Gill is on the FA board! Is he not!{6DDFCB6E-3471-4E45-9385-F04D05F4A70D}&newsid=6615940

  3. Benitez can call it how he sees fit. Ferguson claimed the fixture list was specifically designed to damage United's chances of winning the title. An astonishing claim which has, almost unbelievably been allowed to go unchallenged by both the media and the powers that be. He also said Keith Hackett wasn't doing his job properly, another astonishing claim which goes unchallenged and unpunished.

    Laugh as you might at Benitez, he delivered a clear, methodical message in a calm measured way. The blogger either doesn't understand the word rant or didn't actually see the press conference, a Keegan breakdown moment this most certainly wasn't.

    Maybe when referees go to old trafford now, they'll feel less intimidated, maybe Ferguson and his staff will feel less inclined to get close to the referee. Maybe the next time Ferguson launches some verbal assault at the football authorities, he'll be harshly punished. Maybe not.

    It's difficult to see how Benitez will suffer from this. At the hands of the London based media perhaps but Liverpool, or United for that matter, have never concerned themselves too greatly with the opinion of Fleet Street.

    Benitez' rant was exactly the sort of stuff we've heard from Ferguson over the years about the FA, referees, etc. I don't suspect we'll hear much more from Rafa about it now. He's said his piece, and the damage done.

    I've got major doubts over whether Liverpool are good enough to win the title and some of Benitez decisions leave me thoroughly puzzled but choosing a press conference to ruffle a few feathers is fine by me.

  4. Jeffrey,

    I actually agree, that is a silly article and one that shouldn't be appearing on the official club site.

  5. jdj,

    Fergie was charged by the FA over his comments about Atkinson and Hackett.

    I don't mind a bit of banter, but the problem is some fans do not know where to draw the line and Rafa's continued ranting is likely to cause more problems than it solves IMO.

    Fergie should be ingored, he's just a wind-up merchant and everyone knows it.

    But I actually agree with Fergie regarding our refereeing standards. Half of them are over weight and even our so called top official, Howard Webb, isn't that good as he proved yesterday when he booked Ronaldo and gave Chelsea a free-kick, this when he had a clear view of the Carvalho foul inside the Chelsea penalty box.

  6. James,
    The facts are their touble standards, Jose in 2005 complained about Dein being the on FA board with fergie backing his claim, saying in so many words its wrong, United are doing the samething.

    Gill should step down.



    Do you agree with this level of double stands??

    Just maybe Rafa has a very valid point!


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