What on earth is happening at Liverpool this week? There seems to some major leaking going on behind the scenes that seem to point to two camps eager to try and score points against each other. News has begun to circulate this morning that the chief executive, Rick Parry is to leave his position at Liverpool this afternoon after 12 years at Anfield. A statement is expected this morning to clarify matters. That sounds like he’s going to me.
After the Benitez leaving debacle on Wednesday, today the focus has shifted to Parry’s position in the Liverpool hierarchy. It’s an open secret that Parry and Benitez don’t get on at all, but once again, Liverpool’s dirty washing is being aired in public. After the news about Robbie Keane leaving Liverpool was revealed by the BBC pundit Mark Lawrenson in an interview with Irish Radio over Christmas, it’s been a constant stream of negativity leaking out of Liverpool.
Lawrenson made the cardinal sin of bragging about going for a drink with Steven Gerrard and that Gerrard had told him that Keane would be sold in the transfer window. Most of the British media picked this up and had a go at Lawrenson, though oddly the BBC ignored the story, and Lawrenson probably has been advised to keep things to himself in future by his Liverpool contacts. The decision to sell Keane was seen by many as a sign of strength for Benitez, he’d wanted Gareth Barry and David Villa. Instead Parry went after neither target and signed Keane, against Benitez’s wishes. Once Keane had been sold back to Tottenham, the battle lines were drawn. The relationship has steadily gone down hill and Benitez may have made the point that if they’d signed who he wanted in the summer, they’d still be top. That alone makes Parry’s position weaker.
Now 4 weeks later, it begins to seem as if Benitez has won out but it also makes you wonder, just who was behind the stories about Rafa leaving on Wednesday. Surely it wasn’t a deliberate act by someone either at Liverpool or working on information supplied to them by a Liverpool employee was to try and destabilise the team ahead of the crucial Champions League game at the Bernabeu? Defeat for Liverpool would have made things very difficulty for Rafa to salvage anything from a season that promised so much but has run out of steam. It would have made the owners consider if it was worth offering him a new contract, or looking at other options.
Overall though, whoever has in charge of Liverpools public relations this week has had their work cut out dealing with all the misinformation flying around. Is Parry really going to be let go this afternoon or has the Benitez camp begun some mischief making of their own? Ferguson will be loving this, Hiddink will probably think Liverpool have the implosion abilities of Ajax in his native Holland, O’Neill and Wenger will see cracks they could possible exploit. The Blue half of Liverpool will be revelling in the continuing soap opera developing across Stanley Park.
Parry isn’t exactly Mr Popular with Liverpool fans, or the owners though he has always counted on George Gillette’s support. By all accounts though, that support has begun to evaporate leaving Parry isolated and alone at Anfield. The fans in general, have nothing but loathing for him, blaming him missing out on Villa and Barry in the Summer and seem to have no respect for him at all. If anything positive was to come out of this season for the Reds, Parry announcing he was leaving would probably placate a lot of them.