"What do you mean you've hurt 'your' knee, it's Liverpool's knee" - Bill Shankly.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Shanks & Rafa - a meeting of two great football minds

On Pass & Move

What Shankly said: "Football is a simple game based on the giving and taking of passes, of controlling the ball and of making yourself available to receive a pass. It?s terribly simple."

What Benitez says: "This is the pass-and-move thing. If we could take this concept on to the pitch every time we played then football would be simple and beautiful. Every single manager tries to achieve it, but we can hardly ever do it."

On referees

What Shankly said: "The trouble with referees is that they know the rules but they do not know the game."

What Benitez says: "This is an old, old debate. By the time referees are finally experienced enough to understand the teams and what the players are trying to get away with, it's time for them to retire. It's a disgrace, but that's the way things work at the moment."

On football & life

What Shankly said: "Somebody said to me, 'Football's a matter of life and death to you.' I said, 'Listen, it's much more important than that."

What Benitez says: "I wouldn't be as extreme in my expression, but I does explain perfectly the passion he had for this sport. We have to place a huge value on our jobs because we have so many people whose hopes and happiness hang on what we do. It is very important to do everything as well as we possibly can, just for them."

On the mind

What Shankly said: "A lot of football success is in the mind. You must believe you are the best and then make sure you are. In my time at Liverpool we always said we had the best two teams on Merseyside, Liverpool and Liverpool reserves."

What Benitez says: "I agree that the mind is crucial not only for football, but also for your normal everyday life. If you want to reach your goals you need a great and strong mind."

On not being first

What Shankly said: "If you are first you are first. If you are second you are nothing."

What Benitez says: "People never remember the seconds. The third places always enjoy it more than the second. The third wins a bronze, but the second loses the gold medal."

On directors

What Shankly said: "At a football club there is a holy trinity - the players, the manager and the supporters. Directors don't come into it - they are only there to sign the cheque."

What Benitez says: "When he says 'come into it' then if it means obstruct, it is not beneficial. If it means bringing useful knowledge, then it is."

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Quote of the moment

Defying belief however, is a market Benitez has cornered quite well. The moment you think Benitez is clueless, he defies it by pulling off a result of majesty, like the one achieved in Madrid. The moment he is hailed a genius, he masterminds toothless surrender to a team going nowhere. In the ongoing Anfield power struggle, just when he was cornered by the firing squad, the Spaniard's demise at Liverpool looking practically assured with the ominous suspension of betting by the bookmakers, he squeezes out through a narrow trapdoor and eliminates Rick Parry. Rafa Benitez is Keyzer Soze.
- Just Football blog: The Curious Beast that is Football 28 Feb 2009