Thursday, 3 June 2010

Benitez is bailing out and LIVERPOOL FC is still sinking

SACKING Rafa Benitez is like rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic.

It's a cliche, but it's also true.

The owners of Liverpool Football Club – Tom Hicks and George Gillett – have turned a once-great institution into a sinking ship.

They have plunged the club into millions of pounds of debt with nothing to show for it – the promised stadium remains the figment of an architect’s imagination while much of the debt is the money used by Hicks and Gillett to buy the club in the first place.

They promised they wouldn’t ‘do a Glazer’. Then they ‘did a Glazer’.

The club will struggle under ANY manager while the American carpet-baggers own Liverpool and luring a top name manager to Anfield right now is an impossible task – what boss in his right mind would walk into this shit storm?

So that means lowering the sights. So with Benitez out of the picture, a manager who won the European Cup, the FA Cup and was four points away from delivering the title a year ago, who next?

Well as was so often the case for Benitez, it will be the second, third or fourth choice that will be heading for Liverpool once Rafa has cleared his desk.

Talk of Guus Hiddink is fanciful – he has a worldwide reputation as a great manager. He would demand a huge salary and would no doubt request a handsome transfer kitty to freshen up the Liverpool squad.

The likelihood of either is on a par with a Liverpool-Manchester mutual appreciation society being formed – it’s never going to happen.

With a £351million debt pulling the club into the water, the men in power will have to go for the cheap option as they try to turn the tide.

And that means someone already on the books having a crack at the job until new owners are found. That means Kenny Dalglish or Sammy Lee.

Lee wasn’t good enough for Bolton and while he is an excellent No.2, he freezes in the headlights when he’s in the hotseat.

And Dalglish? Well he’s an Anfield legend, he loves the club and the fans love him. But he hasn’t managed in the Premier League for 12 years. And the King, like any manager, would ideally want a pot of cash to add to what is still a decent first eleven at Liverpool.

That pot is likely to be barely full rather than brimming over. So that means wheeling and dealing, shopping at Netto rather than Harrod’s, selling to buy and trying to build a team that can challenge for the title (because that’s what the unrealistic expectations at Anfield STILL demand) with hands tied behind his back.

Something Rafa Benitez has been doing ever since that fateful day in 2007 when Hicks and Gillett got their hands on the family silver.

Benitez was used to the political games at Anfield. He dealt with the owners approaching Jurgen Klinsmann behind his back, he was used to having his transfer targets vetoed by a suited-up bean counter.

He almost brought the much-coveted 19th league title to Anfield in spite of those conditions.

Whether any other manager – Kenny included – can juggle off-field shenanigans, budgets dwarfed by supposed rivals and STILL achieve success is highly unlikely.

It won’t stop people wanting it though. And how long before the name of a legend becomes mud?

Meanwhile, Hicks and Gillett rock on their rocking chairs at the ranch – waiting for the mug willing to spend £600million on a club, clear debts of £351m and build a stadium for what, another £300m?

Benitez has gone and Rome’s still burning.