Liverpool manager, Rafael Benitez, has launched a scathing, yet comical, attack on Sir Alex Ferguson and Manchester United today.
He starts by claiming he doesn’t want to get involved in mind games, then goes off on some long, babbling rant, talking about how Ferguson has recently been given a touchline ban for confronting a referee, only to later claim Ferguson is the only manager who gets away with poor conduct towards referees.
He know which referees were on duty for which games, what incidents took place and decisions that were made. Obsessed much?
“I want to be clear. I don’t want to play mind games too early. I think they want to start. I will say some facts so it’s easy to talk about this,” started Benitez, sounding fairly reasonable. This was obviously the calm before the storm.
“On November 1, Manchester United played against Hull and Mr Ferguson received a two-match touchline ban and was fined £2,000 after the game for confronting Mike Dean and for improper conduct,” he continued. “We started the Respect campaign and started with Mascherano’s sending off at Old Trafford. Steve Bennett was the referee then, and he was also the ref when they played against Wigan and he could not see the handball from Rio Ferdinand. He didn’t give a penalty and they won the game and won the title. I think the same referee, Mr Bennett, will be in charge for the game in hand against Wigan. During the Respect campaign, Mr Ferguson was in fact charged for improper conduct for comments made against Martin Atkinson and was not punished.”
The rant then continues, with Benitez bleating about the fixtures. Ferguson correctly pointed out that we were at a disadvantage because of the fixture list this season. We have played all of the top ten teams from last season away from home already. Whilst of course this gives us an easier second half to the season, the damage could have already been done psychologically if going in to January miles behind the leaders. Fortunately, Liverpool and Chelsea haven’t taken advantage of the fact United have had trickier fixtures.
“If he wants to talk about fixtures, and have a level playing field as you say in England,” he continued. “There are two options if we don’t want more problems with fixtures. One is the same as in Spain, the draw for the first part of the league is known, everyone knows which weekend. In the second-half everyone plays the opposite, so you all know. Sky and Setanta have the right to choose their games and it will be the same for everyone. So Mr Ferguson will not be complaining about fixtures and a campaign against United. Or there is another option. That Mr Ferguson organises the fixtures in his office and sends it to us and everyone will know and cannot complain. That is simple.”
Has he finished? Oh no, far from it.
“We know what happens every time we go to Old Trafford and the United staff,” he rants on. “They are always going man to man with the referees, especially at half-time when they walk close to the referees and they are talking and talking. All managers need to know is that only Mr Ferguson can talk about the fixtures, can talk about referees and nothing happens. We need to know that I am taking about facts, not my impression. There are things that everyone can see every single week. Are they under pressure? Maybe they were not thinking that we would be at the top of the table in January. But we are at the top of the table and they are nervous. I am not telling the authorities what to do. But I have been here for five years and know how things are going on.”
Of course, United get everything our way. That’s why our left-back was banned for four matches for punching a member of Chelsea groundstaff, even though the FA happily admit the CCTV footage didn’t show this happen. That’s why our players got banned for three Premiership matches following red cards in the Amsterdam tournament when Liverpool players got away with nothing. That’s why our player got banned for eight months and fined £50,000 for missing a drugs test when a City player who did the same in the same year got off with a £2,000 fine and no ban. Yes, Mr Benitez, your knowledge of ‘how things are going on’ in the past five years is superb!
He still hasn’t finished though.
“I was surprised United wanted to start the mind games too early, maybe it is because we are top of the table. But I only wanted to explain our position,” Benitez said. “I have decided that I had a lot of information and I have been watching every single week what has been going on. Then they started talking about us, but every single week we know they will be talking. But we want to stay at the top and maybe they will talk about us right to the end. To hear someone talking when he has problems with referees every single week, and now complaining about the fixtures and complaining about everything, I think that is not fair. You can see every single week how they put (referees) under pressure, we know this. We have seen it before. We have seen players sent off at Old Trafford and we do not see our opponents sent off. It is part of the game. But to complain and to always have an advantage is not fair.”
What the fuck? Sit down and shut up, you fat Spanish waiter. If you’re trying to prove Ferguson wrong in his claims that you don’t have the bottle to win the league, doing your best Kevin Keegan in melt down impression isn’t going to get you far! This is far worse than King Kev though, whose mad ‘I’d love it if we beat them’ episode occurred just before rolling over as we strolled to the title, as Benitez is sat there with notes! Before attending a press conference ahead of his side’s match away to Stoke, he has sat down and written what he is going to say about Sir Alex Ferguson and United. This isn’t a random act of madness, rather, pre-meditated. Whatever questions he was going to be asked today, he had gone with the sole intention of ranting and raving about our manager. What a fucking nutcase. I’m sure even Ferguson himself couldn’t have imagined his ‘lack of bottle’ comments having this much impact!
If you missed it, check out Sky Sports News, it’s doing a loop and is guaranteed to make you chuckle every time you see it.