Ian Rush wrote for the Liverpool Echo today claiming there was no problem with Rafael Benitez’s decision to make a point of not congratulating Sir Alex Ferguson on the title.
Whilst Benitez wasn’t expected to kiss and make up with Ferguson, who got the better of the FSW this season, it surely shouldn’t have been too much to ask to say a simple ‘well done’ to the manager.
If he’s not blaming his failure to win the league when it was there for the taking on money (a hurdle we had to overcome in 2007 against Chelsea!) then he’s too childish to pass on a simple congratulations to the better manager, and now, more clearly than ever, the better man.
Unless I missed something, Manchester United were crowned Premier League champions on Saturday afternoon. It wasn’t their manager who was crowned, it wasn’t any individual footballer – it was Manchester United as a club. So quite why such a fuss is being made about Rafa Benitez refusing to congratulate his Old Trafford counterpart personally I’m not sure.
Just re-read Rafa’s interview after Sunday’s defeat of West Bromwich Albion once again. “I will say congratulations to Manchester United,” he said. “They have done well, but I do not want to say too much.” That’s his prerogative as manager of Liverpool and certainly not deserving of the “Bitter Benitez” headlines I’ve been reading.
Manchester United won the Premier League. That’s a combination of players, staff, supporters – and their manager. I am sure Sir Alex Ferguson himself would be the first to acknowledge that fact himself. United won the league because they were the most consistent team and the best equipped squad throughout the season. I actually think that compared to previous campaigns, United gave their rivals an opportunity this season. They left a chink of space in their armour, but nobody – Liverpool included – was able to take advantage. At the end of the day it was Manchester United who were crowned champions – so it’s congratulations to them, their staff, to Ryan Giggs and the players – and to Alex Ferguson.
I think Ian YSB Rush needs to re-read Rafa’s interview. If he had just simply said congratulations to Manchester United and that he didn’t want to say much else, that would be a tad petty, but fair enough. But that’s not what the FSW did.
“Normally you have to be polite and respect the other manager,” Benitez continued. “During the season we have seen a lot of things that I didn’t like, so that’s it.”
Benitez’s comments oozed bitterness and he was rightly called out on it by the press. Only a dipper could miss how pathetic Benitez looked, like a kid losing out on sports day at primary school, when he went out of his way to refuse to congratulate the most successful manager this country has ever seen.