Which Premier League manager will get fired first

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Red Ngone

So I turn my head to the north,
swallow that pill
that they call pride
The old me is dead and gone,
the new me will be alright

Justin Timberlake has hit the nail on the head and so have the Liverpool board as they removed Rafa Benitez from his post at Liverpool this week.

Rafa has given his all to Liverpool over the last six years bringing home the Champions League trophy and FA Cup while leading them to a 2nd place finish last season so how has it all gone wrong for Rafa?

I would be inclined to think that it began with the now infamous FACT sheet and rant about at Sir Alex Ferguson but many feel that the cracks had started to show with his unsuccessful pursuit of Gareth Barry and subsequent loss of Xavi Alonso. Rafa's track record in the transfer market had always been a bit questionable but he signed players like Reina, Torres, Agger and Mascherano who were an unqualified success but his public courtship of Barry while openly touting Alonso to Juventus and his signing and then sale of Robbie Keane at a large loss started people questioning his judgement in that area although his spend this season was equal to money raised from sales.

On the whole he seemed to have blended together a really good team that was capable of playing highly attractive football but he seemed unable to throw the shackles off until it was almost too late. Victories including a 4-1 victory at Old Trafford, 2-0 home win over Chelsea and a 5-0 thrashing of Aston Villa were undermined by draws at Stoke and defeats by Bolton, Blackburn and Hull City. Despite this however Liverpool finished in 2nd place only 4 points behind Manchester United and were tipped by many to win the title this season.

So where did it all go wrong?

Liverpool started the 2009-10 season as favourites and finished it in 7th place only 2 points ahead of Everton. Yet you couldn't easily look at Rafa and say You Know Where You Went Wrong. The rot seemed to have started with his sale of Xavi Alonso who was replaced by Lucas as new signing Alberto Aquilani was injured yet Glenn Johnson and Sotirios Kyrgiakos were decent signings and his starting 11 of Reina, Johnson, Agger, Carragher, InsĂșa, Mascherano, Lucas, Kuyt, Benayoun, Gerrard and Torres was one which should have been more than capable of mounting a strong challenge for the title but it was the supporting players that were to prove his downfall.

The season started and ended with poor results with Tottenham winning the curtain raiser and a draw at relegated Hull closing their campaign and while the supporting players live Rodriguez, Babel, Riera and Ngog were decent enough players some squad members started to complain not just about lack of chances but also about Benitez's man-management. His season seemed ultimately to be undone by a mixture of injuries, poor substitutions (often involving Torres being taken off), a run of 5 defeats in 11 at the start of the season and a Liverpool Club beachball providing one of the most controversial goals of the season.

Liverpool's record under Benitez actually compares quite favourably with others with Liverpool finishing in the top 5 every season bar this one and had an excellent relationship with the fans but ultimately he has been undone by his stubborn nature, poor relations with the board and the 3 league titles, Champions League Title and 2 League cups that Manchester United have won over the same period. His failure to adequately replace Alonso or purchase decent deputies for Torres and Gerrard has cost him dear in terms of his pursuit of the English League title.

Rafa's next destination could well be the San Siro but considering the last 2 managers there Roberto Mancini and Jose Mourinho won 5 league titles between them with Mourinho lifting the Champions League trophy the managers seat at Inter could well work out to be as equally poisoned a chalice as Liverpool.


  1. Good blog adam. We knew it all along and predicted the downfall of Rafa after last year's debacle.
    Hopefully, an Ex-Liverpool legend takes over rein from here on and starts rebuilding the team.

    I voted Gerrard to stay at Liverpool, as I think he will be a key figure in rebuilding process.

  2. This would also be interesting from being a Gunner Fan's perspective, as I have seen my team's rebuilding phase which has now been 5 years trophyless but always reached Knockout phases of European competition.

    So hopefully, it shows to world that Arsenal are and always will be better than Liverpool.

  3. And Adam goes on to prove that there is a place for well written, sensible well thought out musings in the blogasphere, well done that man.

  4. Again a good read, and well written mate... it is good to have some with a little nouse balance out the unadulterated cack i spew on a regular basis... as old trotts said... Well done that man...

    Although i was a little dubious when you quote JT (the one whose only a partial shitehawk) you turned it around quickly.

  5. Never liked Rafa as manager of my club. DIdn't understand his tactics, didn't understand a lot of his substitutions. His transfer dealings were very poor. Only decent signings were Torres, Reina and Masch. We didn't need a right back when he signed Johnson, we needed support for Torres. He got rid of decent strikers like Crouch, Bellamy and Keane, how can you say Ngog or Babel are any better than those players? Glad he's gone. Wish the Americans would go now so we can get on rebuilding the club and putting it back up where it belongs.

  6. Rafa did pretty well with what he had money wise. having to balance the books because of those goddamn fuckwad americans is what mid-table teams do, not any of the big boys. so, thank you our american owners, heres to hoping you die the most painful and horrible deaths over a very long space of time for damn near destroying one of the worlds greatest clubs. I spit on you

  7. and yes, the g barry story was a bad mistake, I agree totally with that, but hey, the man is human just like us. as for the rest of the crap transfers, when the money you get from sales is the money you get to spend on players, what the hell do you expect?

  8. daveyboypreece4 June 2010 at 12:43

    SS11 - Arsenal better than Liverpool? Whatever you say, pal, although I'd get yourself along to the doctor's if I were you - that knock on the head you took is obviously affecting your brain.....

  9. Torres substitutions and lack of starts throughout the season were due to him only fit enough to be nursed through periods of the season. Getting injured while on National duty didnt help either.

    Get your facts straight.

  10. Which just goes to show what a miracle Wenger has performed in building a new stadium while maintaining them in the CL knock out stages for the past 10 years( something Real were unable to manage inspite of spending millions) and in the top four. Martin Samual in the Mail has written a perceptive article about the difficulties faced by Liverpool's next manager.
    Debt, lack of transfer money, Man City spending millions in the next 2 years before the clamp down and Spurs off shore balance sheet and lastly fan's expectations. A job for a Moriniho

  11. Anonymous while I understand that Torres needed to be nursed through periods of the season there were examples such as the 0-0 draw at Birmingham which was a game they had to win and the defeat by Lyon where he would have been better off leaving him on the pitch if for no other reason that to occupy the defence and ultimately it was the centre-half who would have been marking Torres who was able to get forward and enable Lyon to equalise.

  12. good stuff adam old son. i think like you say thats a good first 11; aquilani, torres, gerrard out for big chunks is one problem; but with a more cohesive sense of team spirit i think they would still have made the CL; rafas obvious unhappiness with the board/owners is the cause of the problem. id say thats probably their fault not his.

    look forward to reading what else justin timberlake has to say about the engluish prem. hes not as much a provincial redneck as id assumed

  13. well i have already posted on here, but it was so damn good i am doing it again!

    what a top blog that man!

  14. Greatness is upon you adam. Spot of wonder, were you thinking of Ngog, NO, not that one, him that one who keeps Ngoging in and out

  15. Nice blog Adam. For me, Rafa's issue was one of consistency, but the underlying reason for Liverpools lack of consistency, was Rafa's lack of consistency himself.

    There's been as many very poor signings as there have very good ones. In addition inconsistency with team selections - for example when Riera arrived he looked like he could make a huge contribution, then he stopped being selected. Wholesale changes week in week out do nothing for a side's consistency... Look at the problems Chelsea had under Ranieri. Yes Fergie makes changes, but not huge ones every week and not to the detriment of the side.

    As for the next step. Hodgson is the wrong choice. Remember his short stay at Blackburn? Dont know who is the right choice, but clearly someone who can handle Gerrard (and his over inflated ego) provided he's still there in august, and bring some collective responsibility to a side which appears to be less than the sum of its parts is sorely needed.