Envy for United and the State of our Support

Posted by

After tonight’s disappointing result against Championship outfit Reading many fans are givign a lot of attention to Rafa Benitez, but my focus has been on the state of our support.

Since the final whistle blew at a cold Anfield there’s been lots of talk about the Spanish managers future at the club. Some have called for his head, which in my eyes is short-sighted. Despite that I have to respect people’s opinion after such a poor run of games, but what I can’t stand is those lowering themselves to calling the manager petty names.

We’ve had the whole list tonight, with the main shout being ‘fat Spanish waiter’. My main question to the people calling the manager names is do you know anything of the Liverpool Way?

Back before the dawn of the Premier League Liverpool fans used to be known for their dedicated support and commitment to the team and the manager. That doesn’t mean blind faith, it just means our decisions would be based upon rational argument, not petty name calling. If someone had earned respect at the club they’d have it for life, the supporters wouldn’t turn on them just because we had one bad season, which is exactly what this is.

During Rafa’s time at Liverpool we have made it into the Champions League every season, that’s four years of qualification for the tournament (I’m not counting 04/05 as Rafa didn’t manage the team when they qualified the season before) something we hadn’t been able to boast doing since 1984. There’s no argument Rafa re-established us as  a European force.

In just five years Rafa has won the European Cup, The F.A Cup, The UEFA Super Cup and the Charity Shield. Not only that but Rafa saw us to another European Cup final, a League Cup final and saw us finish second last season in our best campaign in twenty years. It might also be worth noting that all but one of these successes came before the American owners takeover. A Coincidence? I think not.

We’ve also got to add on top of this that in last three years of his five-year reign Benitez has been under the command of possibly the worst owners to grace a Football Club outside of Fratton Park. Under the ownership of Tom Hicks and George Gillett Liverpool have had £350m of debt placed upon the club, meaning Rafa has been forced to sell heavily in the last three seasons to buy and the owners went behind his back to try and bring in another manager. Has any other top coach in Europe had such volatile working conditions?

Compare this to Alex Ferguson’s first five season in charge of Manchester United. The Scot was backed by the board yet failed to win anything in his first two seasons in charge, the amount of time it took Rafa to win no less than four trophies. In fact it took Sir Alex four seasons to bring in his first piece of silverware, which was the F.A Cup in the 89.90 season and it took him seven seasons  to win his first league title. In fact it took Sir Alex until 1999 to win the European Cup, something Rafa achieved in one season.

Yet I’m not trying to bash Sir Alex, as much as I’d like to. What I’m trying to show is the first seasons of a managers time at a club are  not always an indicator of how good they will become. As much as I hate to say it Sir Alex Ferguson has been the best manager of the last twenty years, building United to a similar standard to what we were during the 70’s and 80’s.

The worst thing about it is Alex Ferguson had the backing of the majority of the supporters throughout his less than successful first five years at the club. A part from a small, yet very vocal, section of the support the United boss was backed and it paid off, with United catching up to our title record under his time at the helm. It’s the kind of support that needs to be shown to Rafa, as it has to other Liverpool F.C managers in the past, it’s just the Liverpool Way.

One bad season in five is not a good reason to get rid of a manager who’s as dedicated to the club as Rafa. He loves this club and the city and has worked hard to build us up over the last five years into an outfit that is much more respectable than it had been since the late 80’s. One bad season isn’t the be all and end all, as United’s board and fans knew and that’s why I hate to say I have a small amount of envy for them.

A new manager may lift the teams spirits in the short-term, but is there a better manager who would even consider coming to us with our owners? Can anyone from the likes of Curbishley, Pardew and Hodgeson really compete with our Spanish manager? I think not. And trust me that’s the best we can hope for, no other world-class managers would come near us, not in our financial state.

Now I know many will say that comparisons shouldn’t really be made between Sir Alex and Rafa, after all it was a different age. But I ask the question what has really changed in that time? The only major thing I can think of is that money is playing  more of a factor, the more you have the better you perform. Seeing as in the last three years Rafa has little to no money I think that argument is invalid, maybe if we’d have had some investment from the Yanks I’d be saying it’s time for Rafa to go.

Of course there is one more thing that’s changed. The fans. Over the last twenty years, mainly due to the rise of Sky Sports, fans have become more fickle. The average new-age football fan wants everything yesterday and doesn’t care for long-term plans. This short-termism isn’t good for the club, neither is petty name calling, it’s simply not the Liverpool Way. We are better than that, we know how to dish out positive criticism without the baseless name-calling.

This isn’t the Liverpool support I used to know, and it’s not a support I like.

M. Owen


More Stories FA Cup Reading


  1. The problems stem from the owners and have done since they first took over. In past seasons every time we are on a good run something happens with the owners and each other or the owners and Rafa and the team drops. Had it not been for that very dip in form after more owner nonsense last season we would have won the league. However, they way we played for the majority of last season is miles away from how we are playing now (and by now I’m talking about this season).

    It’s not all down to the loss of Alonso as some might have us believe but poor activity in the transfer market in general. So who’s fault is that? Some would say Rafa and to a degree they might be right (an I concede some signing he has made have not worked out) but if the funds are not there how is that his fault?

  2. I respect Rafa, even though he has made some really strange decisions. After the game I as very frustrated and hurt like many Liverpool fans, it really hurts to watch a team at the bottom of the championchip come to anfield and beat us like that. Anfield is no longer the feared fortress that it used to be, that hurts a lot. But having read your article I see the rationale in what your saying. I’ve heard a lot f people say we should get mourinho or oneal, but they wouldn’t come anywhere near anfield with this crisis and board. But having said that we could have had crouch, bellamy and keane playing upfront instead of ngog tonght is a big failure on Benitez part, football is like any other profession and there’s some mistakes that are too big and ultimately you have to go for them. Ngog might aswell have been playing for Reading to tonight. For a team like Liverpool to have 1 recognized striker Is a big failure on the managers part. Ok so I’ll five him the benifit of the doubt over the whole alonso/aquilani issue but having one striker at a club like Liverpool is insane.

    Like I said I respect and as u said once he gets the respect of the fan he’s entitled for that for life. But I don’t think he can solve the situation, and if he stays for the summer I think he’ll just make more bad buys

  3. i agree with every word you say. i have been fighting the same battle since the final wistle. fans have the right to their opinion but when its just midless and not constructive then i think people need to ask why they support us at all. YNWA

  4. your right about 1 thing i dont belive in calling the manager names thats petty but i dont know why everyone is happy finishing in the top 4 we need to win the league and cups rafa cant do it in the prem hes to negative.The problem is that over the years we have never asked for a managers head which is good but we cant live in the past and for the club to move on we need to get rid of rafa and the yanks because if the worse comes to the worse and we miss out on europe all together they will sell gerrard and torres because they will need the money to pay wages and re-invest in the team and club i fear dark days r ahead if things dont quickly change because the era fergy had wasnt a money buisness like it is today and he could afford not to be in europe to build the team up we dont have that luxury with the debt were in so get rid of rafa now let king kenny take over till the end of the season and watch the difference in the players.Rafa has lost the dressing room and when that happens teams dont play it just takes us longer to see because we love r club so much its time we stop being fickle and start coming together and stop bickering about a manager in my eyes who is not good enough to manage this club.He asked for full control of the club since that has happen in the summer we have gone backwards the end of the day you have your feelings i have mine and if we didnt have different fews football would be boring. YNWA

  5. I have heard the justification for Rafa’s stay to continue many times… But I’m starting to think that no matter what he has done in LFC’s past, his stubbornness is bringing this club down. It has a ton to do with the owners, and I will support him till his end… But if we don’t win at Stoke this weekend, we may need a new manager.

  6. I’m still kinda speechless but i agree with every single word you said! I was thinking exactly on that because as soon as the match finished i saw plenty of people asking for Rafaks head i was so frustrated because perhaps I’m young (18) and i haven’t seen some of the glorious times of the club, i know doing that is not part of being a fan!
    Being a fan means to give all the support you can in the good times but even more in the hard times! Liverpool fans shouldn’t throw all their anger on Rafa, he’s the man who put LFC back on track and leveled up our game, i cant understand how fast the people forget that it’s just incredibly unfair! I really hate this, fans shouldnt be anti-Rafa or pro-Rafa, fans only should be Kopites,redmen, Liverpool FC!

    So come on..stop blaming Rafa or the players! I’m proud of being LFC fan because that means WE dont put the blame on the easiest objective due to a bad run, everyone has a bad run, and as LIVERPOOL FC fans we should back the team in every situation without pointing the finger looking someone to blame, we just show support because there are 4 fords written in our hearts and minds and those 4 words are You’ll Never Walk Alone!

    I keep the faith, I trusth (not blindly) in Rafa and the players, I trusth and love Liverpool FC!

    Jorge De Castro

  7. Couldn’t agree more, they don’t sing, they boo, I even heard a bloke say at half time “I missed the goal, I was on the Internet” come on

  8. Well said. We need t Back Rafa, the Facts are there. He had done a Good Job with the current owners. A large war chest in the Summer would be the key. And Please no average bit players to be bought. We need Big Game Players, Like Villa and Silva and a World Class Defender would be great..

    Come om you Yanks! Cough up the Money!!

  9. good article,apart from the reference to fergie, the majority of united fans wanted him sacked, they even went as far as to take banners to the match saying, BYE BYE FERGIE , its a well known fact that he was getting sacked if they went out to notts forest in the cup, until mark robins scored an equaliser in the last minute to earn a replay, the rest is history.
    to be honest last night I was disgusted with what I witnessed on that pitch, we were shite , I won`t give up on this club , but we as fans we ,have got to be honest , we`re in a mess & I can`t see us getting out of it this season but I`ll keep the faith & hope I`m wrong

Comments are closed