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Button it Benitez!

Robbo Robson | 11:19 UK time, Monday, 12 January 2009

Oh Rafa. Not you 'n' all. With one carefully-worded four-minute statement, Benitez revealed how edgy and narked he's getting. And it's food and drink to the Glasgow Beetroot.

Mind you, Rafa should worry. The consensus in the Blue Bell is that the whole world is against the Boro. Anyone who thinks these late goals we keep conceding are anything other than an FA/Fergie conspiracy is in la-la land. OK, we have been a tad useless but let's not allow that to get in the way of some good old-fashioned paranoia.

As for Fergie, I do think he seems to slip out of the clutches of an FA fine more easily than most others. And all that guff about the Premier League fixture list - that it was somehow biased against United - was the biggest pile of hogwash he's uttered in years. It couldn't be more helpful if it bloody well tried!

You can see SAF looking down the list of fixtures for 2009-10 and bawling 'We're United! What dae ye mean wuh hav tae play everyone home AND away?'

Benitez on the other hand tried to present this as a forensic analysis of the situation. You almost fancied he might like to don a wig and parade up and down the press conference room like Rumpole of the Bailey.
Rafa Benitez and Sir Alex Ferguson
But it's not the content of what Benitez says that's the problem. It's the fact that he, like the daftest trout in the pond, has risen to the Ferguson's fat maggoty bait.

Some might say the fact that he wrote it all down and read it out shows a man in control -that it wasn't an off-the-cuff blurt in the manner of them drama queens Kate Winslet, Gwyneth Paltrow and Kevin 'loov it' Keegan.

(Incidentally, why do loveys do all that nonsense, eh? It's 'cos they're so busy faking it every day of their lives that when a real emotion hits them they can't deal with it unless some poor sap writes out their lines out for them. Silly moo.)

Fergie's response is exactly what you'd expect. 'Benitez is disturbed about something' is tantamount to saying 'he's a nutter'. It's up there with Mourinho's description of Wenger as a 'voyeur'.

Benitez's response - suggesting David Gill was wielding too much of an influence at the FA - hardly undermines Fergie's point. In fact, Rafa should stop now, 'cos it's starting to get worrying.

I mean we all know that Ferguson wasn't actually born here but was blasted down to Earth by invaders from the Planet Taggart, in order to reclaim major sporting honours from under the noses of the just. We know that, Rafa.

We know that Liverpool's title push in recent years has been hampered by various TV networks - operating under the influence of an intergalactic mind-ray - forcing them to play too many lunchtime matches. (SETANTA apparently stands for Scupper Every Team Around - Never Touch Alex.)

I myself have witnessed Sir Alex Ferguson levitate an entire wall of defenders with the power of his mind just so Ronaldo could fire a free-kick underneath it. But if you start spouting this stuff in public you start to look a bit foolish. So I keep my counsel.

It's unfortunate that Rafa said in his statement "I will be watching United's game with Chelsea. The result does not matter to us, if we win at Stoke that result does not matter." Oh dear. A draw at Stoke, your boys played rubbish, and suddenly it does matter.

Like I say, there's a lot of mealy-mouthed nonsense and kow-towing around Ferguson, and it hacks a hell of a lot of us off. But Rafa, his team flying high and in with a real chance of winning the gong for the first time in 18 years, is not the fella to draw our attention to it.

If he keeps it buttoned and keeps his mind on the job, Liverpool could still nick it. Because like Wenger, Benitez doesn't look or sound comfy indulging in schoolyard fisticuffs, whereas Fergie could start a scrap in a Trappist monastery.

Personally, I'd stop all this mind games malarkey, stick 'em all in a playground and the first one to get the other's parka over his head gets to go and put some thumbscrews on the assistant referees' digits.

In the meantime, might I refer you doubters to a blog I made some moments ago about the beleaguered Chelsea.

They were flippin' hopeless, and worse still spineless, in the second half on Sunday. JT and half the team go to thank the fans after the game. The other half trudge off to the dressing-room. No harmony, no unity.
The main problem is the Scolari special, the cluttered midfield - five of them, all standing closer together than a bunch of toddlers playing frisbee, so close in fact that you'd think they were lining up for that penalty shoot-out all over again.

Not one of them can go past people - hell, they couldn't trick their way past Ronaldo's Ferrari right now - a fact made even more obvious by the ancient Giggsy. As Harry Redknapp has quite rightly pointed out, there are too many fat backsides sitting on their fat reputations/wallets - and Chelsea are no different.

It's clear-out time at the Bridge: you get more interest from your average savings account than you do from Drogba these days; Hassungotta Kalou and Skiptoo Malouda can go; Deco's a dud; it's tempting to change the vowels in Ballack's name after Sunday; and why exactly were Man U and Chelsea scrapping over John Obi Mikel in the first place I wonder?

Nah, it's a two-horse race now, and neutrals will just have to hope that Rafa doesn't get drawn into any more distractions. Otherwise he can say adios - actually he's been at Liverpool five years so he can say "Ta-raaaa chuck" - to the Premier League for another season.

And Fergie'll be bouncing up and down like a nine-year-old yet again. Sigh. I know I tipped them but it doesn't bear thinking about, does it?

I'm left with one forlorn hope. Up the Villa!



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