Rafa was axed after a torrid last season and many believed this was the obvious and fitting conclusion to the reign of a manager who, supposedly, brought regression to the club. Some argued that Rafa was planning an exit well before the season ended with, notably, Juventus waiting in the shadows to employ the Spaniard. True to say, we all saw it coming – media pundits were pushing for Rafa’s exit – actually Rafa’s exile – the day after the man challenged Ferguson during the famous press conference now known as “Rafa’s Rant”. Odds were continuously slashed until the day came when Rafa’s departure was announced.
It now seems the answer to my question “who sanctioned Rafa’s exit” penned in my previous article has been answered by Benitez himself after exposing how the managing director appointed by Hicks – Mr Purslow – gave the green light to offload Rafa. This all adds to quite a bit of rumour and innuendo and many reports have been posted suggesting that Mr Purslow and Mr Benitez never saw eye to eye. We can only speculate in this regard and hope this is not the truth (although Benitez’ cryptic words suggest he and Purslow, at one point, did fall out). Mr Purslow has been a key figure in the sale process and Chartered Bank sponsorship – and we all thank him so much for his efforts – however, if he did really push for Benitez to leave (the mutual consent story is just a cover up of the whole cock up) than we all need to know why and on what grounds. Fans demand an explanation. Was the decision taken by Mr Purslow only or was he tipped to do so by some else in the hierarchy?
One crazy theory that was borne in my mind a few days after Rafa’s alleged “mutual consent resignation” fiasco is that Rafa agreed to temporarily move on to another club until the ownership saga was resolved (back then, nobody was certain it would have been resolved swiftly). A stand-in manager, in the form of Roy Hodgson would manage team matters pending the arrival of new owners and then be removed for Benitez to be re-instated as Liverpool manager. This sounds crazy indeed and wouldn’t make sense by virtue of the fact that a successful Roy Hodgson (which he currently is not) would be hard to sack. This theory is far-fetched I know so I’d like the reader to view this from another angle.
Benitez is one of them great managers in Liverpool’s history so leaving the way he did is hard to stomach. In interviews, he frequently mentions Liverpool and at one point suggested his home was in Liverpool and that he’ll return one day, could be in a few months time – not exactly what you’d expect from a person who has just left one club and is now on the salary books of another.
As pointed above, Benitez has this elegant way of scrambling words, so one must read in between the lines to get the whole picture. Mr Purslow’s resignation today only adds fuel to the notion that, Benitez, now would be in a perfect setup to bring Liverpool back to good times. New owners, no Purslow, not many changes in the playing squad and an improved medical structure. I’m sure Benitez is itching to come back. He has an un-finished job at Anfield and we all know what that is. Benitez will not push to get back at Liverpool out of respect for Moratti and company at Internazionale. But I’m sure if conditions are right, we may see a return of the great man. Let us not forget it was Rafa who turned Liverpool FC into a force to be reckoned.
In Rafa we STILL trust.