It’s quite rare to find myself defending Rafa Benitez in any respect, but I think the recent comments by Sam Allardyce are more than ridiculous. After Liverpool’s 4-0 romp of his team, the Blackburn manager claims Benitez showed a “lack of respect” for failing to meet for the traditional post-game drink. In addition, he claims:
“I think if everybody has a look back at his gestures you will see them as pretty dismissive to me and the Blackburn Rovers team as a whole . . . I was hugely disappointed by those gestures. I think they were disrespectful and quite humiliating. Having looked at them again this week, I think I’m right and everybody will see why I’m complaining.
“The feeling was that he had written us off. It was open arms and then a crossover of the arms as if to suggest that was it. I admit it was a hard game, a difficult game for us, and we were well beaten by an outstanding Liverpool side. But in terms of respect, you don’t expect those sort of things to happen in a game of football. I was very, very upset by it.
“The game is hard enough as it is without a fellow manager doing what seemed to be an undermining gesture. I then waited to have a word with him after the game in his room, but as usual and unfortunately, he didn’t turn up.
“Not explaining himself by not turning up in his office really shows what he is like. The only people I saw were [Liverpool head coach] Sammy Lee and a few of the staff, but he never showed his face. That was just as disappointing as the gesture, and it typifies the man.”
“I gave him the opportunity by being courteous enough after being beaten 4-0 to go and have a drink in his room. There was no need for those sorts of gestures, and my opinion as to whether I’m right is obviously going to be speculated upon by other people, but I think I’m right.
“He would have had the opportunity to have explained himself if he had turned up in his room, but [he] didn’t, so that’s why I’m talking about it today. It’s in the past now and I’ll move on, but I just want to make everybody aware of what I consider to be a lack of respect for me, the Blackburn Rovers players and the football club as a whole
Is this really an issue? If you’ve just been beaten 4-0, do you really want to have a drink with your opposition? I love the quote “it’s in the past and I’ll move on”, but only after reviewing the video the past few days, and commenting on sideline gesticulations from nearly a week ago. Time that could be spent, I don’t know, making your team better.
There’s a misguided notion of honor and camaraderie that simply doesn’t always exist, and I don’t necessarily think it makes the game any much better. Fair play and sportsmanship are undeniably things every sport wants to impress upon future generations of players and managers. But to make something out of nothing makes Allardyce look embittered and a poor loser, and how he does not comprehend how his comments do more harm than good (at least for himself) is beyond me.
Sure, a handshake and a few words are nice, but winners hate losing, so sometimes they’re not in the mood. And, when they win, sometimes they just don’t care about sharing a glass. Of course, Allardyce may not know much about that.