Sunday, 27 December 2009

LIVERPOOL FC: Where's the respect for Rafa Benitez?

Football - Liverpool v Sunderland Barclays Premier League

WHATEVER you think about Rafa Benitez's continued ability to manage Liverpool Football Club, the very least the man deserves is some respect.

Two La Liga titles, UEFA Cup, Champions League winner and finalist, FA Cup, Premier League runner-up and twice UEFA's manager of the year.

It's a record countless managers can only dream of.

Yet certain sections of the media seemed to have declared it open season on the Spaniard, even going as far as to paint a picture of him as being a 'joke'.

Take yesterday for example. First, the ever-annoying Soccer AM featured the ever-annoying Chris Kamara singing a 'witty' ditty he had allegedly penned called 'Rafa Wonderland'.

And I'd only just sewn up my sides when Gary Lineker, fresh from telling the world that Alberto Aquilani was the 'worst buy of the season', decided Benitez was ripe for a piss-take and decided to throw in his 'hilarious' impression of him into the analysis of Liverpool's game on Match of the Day.

Now before you jump down my throat for being sensitive, answer this - when have you EVER seen him do that about another manager?

Will he nurse a bottle of whisky and put on a Scottish accent and pretend to be Alex Ferguson? Will he ride into the studio on a bike with onions around his neck and pretend to be Arsene Wenger? 

Of course not - he wouldn't dare. And it would be seen as disrespectful, wouldn't it?

So why is it acceptable for the former Grampus Eight striker to target Benitez? Haven't we moved on since Fawlty Towers? Aren't we more welcoming to foreign cultures these days?

If it was Manchester United suffering the run of form Liverpool are in, would Ferguson experience this type of disdain?

Not for a minute he wouldn't. There's too many media types scared of upsetting him for one. So much so they would never dare ask him a difficult question, never mind start taking the mick.

Look at Henry Winter if you want evidence. The man defended Ferguson even when he was bang out of order for questioning Alan Wiley's ability to do his job as a referee.

Funnily enough the Telegraph journalist has also been firing bullets in Benitez's direction for some time, even before the recent troubles.

Who said journalism was supposed to be fair, balanced and accurate?