Premiership sack-race claims it’s first victim- and it’s not Benitez!
November 24, 2009
I started writing this blog yesterday. Yesterday being the day when no Premiership manager had yet lost their job, and also being the day the SIXTEENTH Serie A boss got the bullet. Of course, today being a new day, Paul Hart has been told to clear his desk so my blog twists in focus. Nevertheless, I shall plow on.
In my humble opinion, the step towards giving managers the required time to do their jobs is to be applauded. Statistics tell us that clubs who back their managers are generally more successful. Sir Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger and David Moyes have all experienced rough patches in their club career. Indeed, legend has it Ferguson was an FA Cup defeat away from the boot as far back as 1990. Arsene Wenger survived a few calls for his head in the years after their Champions League Final defeat, and David Moyes suffered from a couple of relegation battles after Everton’s earlier spells in the dizzy heights of the league.
However, there comes a time when club chairmen simply have to say goodbye and goodnight. The sacking of Paul Hart was perhaps premature, coming only after a few months of his tenure. The same is not to be said of Rafa Benitez at Anfield.
I know, it may seem odd to many, and my understanding is the vast majority of Liverpool fans are firmly behind the bearded one. Indeed, the majority appear to blame the board for Liverpool’s current plight, which will not be aided by tonight’s Champions League result.
As a neutral though, I think the fans are wide of the mark. Yes, there are obviously board room issues, and Hicks and Gillette must have the same attraction to the Koppites as a turd on a stick. That being said, surely Benitez must take a share of the blame? After all, Benitez is the man who decides which players he wants to keep isn’t he? And he is the reason why Liverpool’s squad is now spread so thinly.
Benitez could have had a backroom team of Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles, and they’d still have been able to tell him allowing Robbie Keane to leave last January was a mistake. Ultimately, I believe it was that decision which cost Liverpool the championship. Now I understand he may not have played every week, and undoubtedly Torres was the far superior of the two. But winning the Premiership takes a squad, and it is for that reason why I think Liverpool will finish outside the top 4 this year.
Liverpool are so short up front, and without Torres, they are pretty impotent, with only Ngog of any note. Compare that to their immediate competition from Eastlands and White Hart Lane. City have Adebayor, Robiniho, Carlos Tevez, Santa Cruz and Craig Bellamy. Spurs have Robbie Keane, Peter Crouch, Jermaine Defoe, and Roman Pavlyuchenko. And that’s only when you consider forwards, it’s much the same throughout the squads.
I don’t care what any Liverpool fan says to me, the blame for this lack of squad depth can only be laid at Benitez’s feet. It would appear to me that his priority is still the Champions League, despite Manchester United equalling the league title record last year. The fact he has got knocked out of that before Christmas may force the board’s hand in the next few days. Failing that, a Merseyside derby defeat may be enough to turn the tide of support against him.
Then again, it could be his FA Cup moment. Wonder if he’ll be calling Fergie for advice…