Part 13 - A Quarter of a Century of Liverpool FC in the Premier League Era, 1992-2017
On The Brink ...
In this instalment, Anthony examines the increasing conflict between owners and manager and the growing dissatisfaction of the fans.
Originally written by TTT Subscriber Anthony Stanley, this major series was first serialised on The Tomkins Times and then published by TTT as a book, called A BANQUET WITHOUT WINE - A Quarter-Century of Liverpool FC in the Premier League Era.
Covering the period from the onset of the Premier League in 1992 to Klopp’s arrival in 2017, the book is available from https://www.amazon.co.uk/Banquet-Without-Wine-Quarter-Century-Liverpool/dp/1521850674. It remains a definitive matter of record of Liverpool FC during the period in question.
As the 2008/09 season dawned, a strange atmosphere surrounded Liverpool Football Club. The hugely disturbing and disrupting noise in the background continued to gather pace and there was a veritable split in the ranks of the fan base. Whereas previously there had been massive support for Benítez in the face of practically untenable conditions, there was now the spectre of civil war – not just in the boardroom, but also on the terraces. While the Liverpool manager retained the support of the majority of fans, there was now an increasingly dissident voice at Anfield; a voice that would not be quieted and, despite evidence to the contrary on the pitch in the campaign to come, would lie in wait and eventually become deafening.
There had long been a crusade waged by the British media – one you might charitably describe as verging on xenophobic – against Rafa Benítez. The facile bleating of some of the more exposed members of this august body had unfortunately filtered down to some of the fan base and a number of myths had become taken as gospel. As Paul Tomkins noted in Dynasty:
“visionaries in life – be they in sport, art, music or politics – tend to be more greatly appreciated retrospectively, when their ideas have proven inspired and their influence can be traced.”
What cannot be argued with is that Benítez had delivered a Champions League trophy and the FA Cup, was about to achieve his second eighty-plus points total in four years and had made the Reds the number one ranked side in European competition.
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