News that Rafa Benitez has taken charge at Everton divided opinion among Blues, though some Reds aren’t happy about the appointment either.
The former Liverpool manager replaced Carlo Ancelotti’s after the Italian resigned from his post to return to Real Madrid at the start of June.
“I am delighted to be joining Everton,” Benitez revealed following his appointment. “Throughout this process, I have been greatly impressed by the ambition shown by the senior representatives at the club and their desire to bring success to this historic club.
“I believe this is a club that is going places. I’m determined to play a big part in helping this great club achieve its ambitions.”
But there’s no denying that the likable Spaniard arrives at Goodison Park with plenty of baggage.
Since departing Anfield, Benitez has managed Inter Milan, Chelsea, Napoli, Real Madrid, Newcastle, and most recently Chinese Super League side Dalian Professional.
But his arrival at Everton was greeted with a mixed reaction from the Everton fanbase after news emerged several weeks before that the ex-Liverpool gaffer had become the club’s leading target.
A threatening banner seemingly aimed at Benitez, reading “we know where you live, don’t sign”, was placed near his Wirral home on Monday, leading to a Merseyside Police investigation.
However, it’s not just the Blue side of Merseyside who have their reservations about the appointment of a man whose achievements ensured legendary status among Liverpool supporters.
“It definitely tarnishes his Liverpool legacy,” says Jay Riley from Spion Kop. “There’s a line you simply don’t cross and it will never be acceptable.
“We have banners in the Kop with his face on them, to me now they have to be retired, we can’t be having an Everton manager’s face in the Kop, it’s just not right.”
Rafa Benitez was appointed Liverpool manager in the summer of 2004 having won La Liga twice with Valencia.
His first season with the Reds was an historic one as he led the Reds to one of the most dramatic Champions League final wins in the competition’s history.
As well as masterminding that incredible victory in Istanbul, he also led Liverpool to the FA Cup and to another Champions League final in 2007, not to mention second place in the Premier League in 2009, before leaving the club a year later.
“We are grateful for what he achieved at Liverpool,” Jay tells FansBet. “Being a successful manager and also the kind donations he’s made to charities here, none more so than the Hillsborough justice campaign. But this is Football now and it doesn’t sit right.
“And I do still think he’s a good manager, he’s tactically astute and definitely does still have something to offer, especially if backed in the transfer market, which Moshiri will do.
“But those who are wishing him well are far too soft, they’re our derby rivals, he is now the enemy, I’m baffled as to why any Liverpool fan can be ok with this appointment and decision.
“As soon as they lose a few games or they lose to us in a derby, the knives will be out for him. It’s a mystifying decision
“His jibe about Everton being a small club was right and still is to this day, they will always be in Liverpool’s shadow.”
“One thing I will say though is he’s shown a huge pair of balls taking this job, knowing full well their fanbase dislike him and many of Liverpool’s now will too.
“It’s a massive decision by him and in my opinion a very poor one.”
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