The English press is having a field day with Rafa Benitez’s flap with
The flap is over Benitez’s angst over the owners’ insistence that player transfers be handled through chief executive Rick Parry. Benitez bristled at that notion as he tried to lock up Javier Mascherano to a long-term deal with the Reds, and pursued Racing Santander’s Garay, a defender.
This has disaster written all over it. Rafa has won a Champions League and an FA Cup at Liverpool, and finished second in
And there’s the rub. Rafa has said publicly that the American brass aren’t familiar with the way things are done during the transfer windows, and that they should essentially step aside until they learn the ropes.
The conflict comes on the American end. Culturally, American sports separate their on-field coaches from the front office. True it’s done to some degree in football, but with winning comes some cache. If you’re a manager of a big club, you get to buy the players. Gillett and Hicks are used to a general manager who buys the players, and a coach who coaches them on the field. Hicks lashed out at Benitez, telling him to “quit talking” and worry about coaching. The co-owners have said they’ll see him in mid-December to talk about transfers.
The rub is, Rafa may bolt before then--or be asked to leave. Could
The odd thing is that Gillett and Hicks have already opened their wallets and given Rafa the green to bring in Ryan Babel, Fernando Torres and Benayoun.