Liverpool - Hicks Hits Out At Rafa
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Hicks Hits Out At Rafa

Liverpool co-owner Tom Hicks has told Rafa Benitez to stop talking about new players and focus on the ones he already has.

The American co-chairman of the club was clearly angered by the Reds boss's apparent show of frustration in yesterday's press conference at Melwood and told the Liverpool Echo:

"After the Champions League final in Athens, Rafa made certain demands of us and we responded to those demands in the summer.

"We brought in some good players and spent more money than has ever been spent before at this club.

"We now have some crucial games coming up in the Premier League and the Champions League and we want to see if we can win these games with the players we have.

"This was the message we gave to Rafa recently and I think during the international break he must have grown a bit frustrated about this.

"We told him to concentrate on the games coming up and nothing else and I guess he didn`t like that.

"But, for the time being, we just need to be focused on what happens on the pitch.

"George and I will be over in mid-December and that is the time to talk about other issues. It is really time for Rafa to quit talking about new players and to coach the players we have."

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The Journalist

Writer: Gerry Ormonde Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Friday November 23 2007

Time: 3:40PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
You can't really blame em....splashing out all that money for what? Losing a final doesn't really count for much does it? So, what will you do when the Yanks get bored and leaves?
Blue is the colour
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23/11/2007 15:44:00

Yeah ...... we got to the final before they owned the club. And so obviously, there has been nothing available to win since then. What have you won since the FA cup? Come on, just a little thought before you post these things, pretty please?
Chris 88
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23/11/2007 16:10:00

BITC, Hicks and Gillett bought the club in February of this year, we reached the CL final in May, there wasn't a transfer window in between. We spent the money in the summer, there hasn't been a trophy to be won as of yet since then.
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23/11/2007 16:45:00

you may have spent a lot in the summer but the reality of your net spending was less than man utd, spurs, man city, villa, west ham and maybe a couple of others, I think that this dispute between manager and owner will end in RB moving on, it doesnt seem to be a relationship that has worked and I dont believe that gillet and hicks intend to give benitez the funds he needs to catch man utd and arsenal.
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23/11/2007 17:17:00

True point oxfordspur, I think Rafa is just a annoyed that the owners appear to be a bit distant at times, and not always ready to switch all their attention immidiately to whatever it is he wants. While were that the case, it would be the ideal situation for a manager to be in, but it's an unattainable goal, and maybe Rafa's just making waves for the sake of it. Hicks has a point though, transfer window isn't for 2 more months, and we've got a good 15/20 games in all comps before then to worry about.
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23/11/2007 17:40:00

I agrre with OS and Naoise. I would much prefer an owner who put all of his attention into LFC than LFC and the Dallas Cowboys. But we've only got 7-8 games.
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23/11/2007 19:02:00

Liverpool's net spending this summer was around 18 million. Their net spending most previous summers was around 14 million. So, Blue is the colour, am I to believe that just because Rafa Benitez has spent 4 million or so more than Liverpool usually outlay during the off-season that he's expected to win something before the end of November? Grow up, fool. I know that a certain now-departed manager resorted to calling the Community Shield a big trophy in order to stroke his ego but the real silverware will handed out in the last three month's of the season, so, unless you've been keeping Doctor Who company in his TARDIS, or Doc Brown company in his De Lorean, why don't you keep quiet until the finishing line is in sight? Need I remind you how much your owner has spent trying to win the Champions League that he so desperately covets? Or which English club manager won it in his first season and has taken his team to the final more often than not?
Harry P
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24/11/2007 02:36:00

did I ever say that Rafa was losing the plot? Ah, but he can't be as he is focused on... seriously, what is this "net spending" nonsense anyway? So if you buy 20 players, sell 17 and keep the net spending below 10 mil. it is all good? It makes the request for the purchase of the 21st ever so valid? No and no. Rafa's transfers dealings have been so good that you were left with Hyppia as an addition to the opposition's attacking options and Sissoko and Gerrard as your creative force. In that interview he gives an impression of an angry, spoiled child that has his favourite toy taken away. The manager being "focused on blah" while his bosses are giving him the finger over new investments is a scenario that irresistibly reminds of one that we saw not so long ago at another club. And we all know how that ended up. And it wasn't even November.
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24/11/2007 04:19:00

How many players and how much money does rafa need FFS. Anyway it wouldnt matter how much money rafa was given as his safety first approach will not win the premieir league. He won the spanish league with Valencia but they never got anywhere near the 90 points that is required to win the premiership. Jose got slagged off constantly about the way chelsea played boring football but my god the dross that rafas teams play is puke football of the highest order.
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24/11/2007 10:43:00

Think when the club owners start briefing against you in the local paper the writing really is on the wall. None of this should have gone public. As an outsider looking in - I wonder if it's retrievable frankly? Any views on that?
Craig Cain
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24/11/2007 11:45:00

I really do hope it is retrievable. Rafa is a great manager and hopefully the club will get through this mini-crisis.
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24/11/2007 11:47:00

G4L, of course net spending is more relevant than gross spending. I would have thought that an Arsenal fan would be the first to appreciate that. After all, Arsene Wenger has shown the rest of the league how wheeling and dealing should be done. Witness the sales of Nicholas Anelka, Marc Overmars, Emmanuel Petit and even Thierry Henry: Wenger will happily sell a player if he can replace him with a cheaper alternative that's just as effective. As for Liverpool's attacking options and creativity, I'll refer you to the some of the recent routs that we've inflicted. And if you didn't see today's game away to Newcastle United then you'd do well to watch the extended highlights that Sky will have on later: it was like boys vs men stuff and if the final scoreline had been 10-0 it still wouldn't have flattered Liverpool. I've no doubt that Arsenal will beat Newcastle just as soundly when they meet in a week or so's time but for you to suggest that Rafa Benitez's transfer dealings are suspect and lack creative options - especially when Fernando Torres, Andriy Voronin, Ryan Babel, Yossi Benayoun, and Lucas are all on fire and giving defenders nightmares - is just crazy.
Harry P
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24/11/2007 15:25:00

Harry P, sensible comment. I never said gross is more relevant than net or vice-versa. I questioned the policy of bringing 10 players in while spending lots of money only to ask for more 3 months later. If what you say is true why is Rafa asking for more cash? It is ad-hoc repairing of the squad the Jose Mourinho way.
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25/11/2007 00:03:00

well done today though. I bet Newcastle will give us a hell of a game when we meet them.
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25/11/2007 00:03:00

In the summer Benitez added some serious firepower to the Anfield attack. Some of that was necessary because players were moving on (Robbie Fowler, Craig Bellamy, Djibril Cisse, Luis Garcia, Mark Gonzalez and others left the club) and most of the players who came in were replacing those who had just departed. However, defensively, Liverpool didn't get who they wanted at all. Gabriel Heinze wasn't allowed to join the club and one or two other long-term targets had ridiculous price tags put upon them by their clubs. So, having recognised a need (a defender who can play at two or more positions across the back four) and not having fulfilled it back then, Benitez now wants to make certain of getting his first choice signings in January, to provide the strength and depth of cover that the back four currently lacks. As well as that, he wants to ensure that Javier Mascherano is at Anfield beyond this season, by securing his permanent transfer once his loan deal runs out at the end of 2007/08. Clearly, buying a defender and holding midfielder has nothing to do with the summer signings not being up to scratch (on the contrary, most of them have been spectacular), or whimsical flights of fancy. The signings we're now talking about are clearly important to Benitez's long-term plans for success. If Benitez's previous signings had been nothing but failures then I could understand the owners' reluctance to back him, but I get the distinct impression that their current lack of fiscal support has more to do with the rising global steel prices (which is inflating the cost of the new stadium) than anything else.
Harry P
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25/11/2007 07:32:00

Again I am in agreement with you for most of the stuff you wrote. The issue here is the following: Benitez himself bought more than half of those players who, as you say, moved on - some of them never got a chance, some were not good enough and some did quite a good job for you. Fowler, Garcia, Gonzales, Paletta, Bellamy were all brought in by him. That is the thing I don't understand about Rafa's transfer policy. He buys a lot and he sells a lot. Ultimately, it does not create stability and it takes time for players to gel. Same would/will happen with the defensive cover players he intends to purchase in January. They would need time.
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25/11/2007 13:28:00

G4L, show me the long list of players that have prospered since Benitez showed them the door, please? Only one player that Benitez has sold has gone on to do better elsewhere, Fernando Morientes, and in his case it was clearly a case of a talented player who didn't manage to adjust to the English game. Unlike some, he's has a healthy sense of emotional detatchment from his players, and where things haven't worked out, for whatever reason, he hasn't wasted time chasing a lost cause: if he had, say, Gerard Houllier's reluctance to make tough choices then we'd still have the likes of Josemi and Djimi Traore in defence, Mark Gonzalez, Igor Biscan and Salif Diao in midfield, and Djibril Cisse and Milan Baros up front. Instead, we have players of the calibre of Daniel Agger, Alvaro Arbeloa, Ryan Babel, Xabi Alonso, Javier Mascherano, Fernando Torres and Andriy Voronin. Benitez inherited a playing squad that was, in hindsight, nigh on awful, yet in his first season he made that squad European champions: all but one of the players that won the trophy in Istanbul were Houllier's. Now, Jerzy Dudek, Traore, Stephane Henchoz, Biscan, Diao, Bruno Cheyrou, Vladimir Smicer, Danny Murphy, Cisse, Baros, El Hadji Diouf and too many more are plying their trade elsewhere, none of them covering themselves with too much glamour. The same is true of some of Benitez's less successful signings, including Josemi, Gabriel Palleta, Antonio Nunez, Gonzalez, Morientes and Craig Bellamy: all we're moved on and none but Morientes have troubled too many headline makers, have they? Bottom line is, if you can play then you stay. If you can't then, thanks, but there's the door.
Harry P
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26/11/2007 10:15:00

By the way, let's have a look at the core players that Benitez has bought and kept. By year, to make the development of his team more apparent: 2004/05: Alonso (10.5 million). 2005/06: Peter Crouch (7m) Pepe Reina (6m), Agger (5.8m), Momo Sissoko (5.3m). 2006/07: Dirk Kuyt (9m), Jermaine Pennant (6.7m), Fabio Aurelio (free), Mascherano (loan to 17m), Arbeloa (2.5m). 2007/08: Torres (20.5m), Babel (11.5m), Lucas (5.3m), Yossi Benayoun (4m), Sebastian Leto (1.8m), Andriy Voronin (free). That's 16 players, the majority of whom would be very welcome at the biggest clubs at an average of just over 7m each, and that's assuming that Mascherano becomes a permanent Liverpool player at a cost of 17m. At least 10-12 of those players would command significantly higher transfer fees if they were sold today. And they have time on their side: Kuyt is 27, Alonso is 26 but the rest are 25 or younger. Compare and contrast to Chelsea or Manchester United, where the average signing these days seems to be closer to 17m than 7m, and where some of the signings are past their prime. The team has stability, and it has gelled. Undefeated in the league, less fortunate but still in control of its own destiny in Europe, Liverpool are playing better football than most people realise. Benitez isn't asking for more money to make wholesale changes, because wholesale changes aren't needed, but he is asking for the money to make Mascherano's move permanent (something that's been known about for a long time, right?) and to find quality cover at the back (Heinze wasn't signed, someone is needed, money wasn't spent so surely it's still there?). Mascherano isn't going to need time to gel, because he's been part of the team for 9 months now. The defensive cover wouldn't be asked to run before it could walk, so would get the time needed. And some of the players that Benitez seems to be interested in aren't going to cost anything at all (apart from wages), so it's not like he's asking for a Roman Abramovich-level of financial commitment from the club's owners.
Harry P
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26/11/2007 11:06:00

Simple quiz to finish off with. 1. Which of the players that Benitez has let go of would you want for your own club? 2. Which of the players that Benitez has at his disposal now would you want? If your first answer contains more than one name, and/or if your second answer contains less than four to six names then I'd be shocked.
Harry P
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26/11/2007 11:09:00

ITS not looking good for him at the moment thats for sure, he should just be a gratful little tubster and say thank you to those GREAT americans, he's gonna end up like Jose, infact this all wreaks of a Jose copy cat! he's a gonner, but hopefully it'll be your CL exit that costs him his crappy job
Report Abuse
26/11/2007 13:38:00

In your dreams, SMOKIEJACK, in your dreams. By the way, aren't you embarassed to be so desperately praying for the Liverpool manager to get sacked when your own manager was the first one to get the sack this season? Is another team's manager getting canned what passes for a good season at Stamford Bridge these days? How very sad.
Harry P
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26/11/2007 19:20:00


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