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Opinion

‘Everton fans need to understand huge difference in appointing Rafa Benitez not Steve Bruce’

4 weeks ago
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Before the official announcement of Rafa Benitez as the new manager of Everton, a number of fans made their displeasure known about his impending appointment.

They had two major issues with the choice of Benitez as the club’s new manager.

Firstly, his time at city rivals Liverpool between 2004 and 2010.

Secondly, the rather clumsy language used by Benitez when he called Everton a ‘small club’ in 2007 when David Moyes’ side held Liverpool to a 0-0 draw.

Given what we have had to endure over the past two seasons following the appointment of Steve Bruce, I can sympathise with the feelings of distaste towards their incoming boss, considering his previous ties to their great rivals.

However, I would urge Everton supporters to give Rafa Benitez a chance.

There is a huge difference between our appointment of Bruce and Everton’s appointment of Benitez and that is their track record in the game.

Steve Bruce joined Newcastle United with a CV littered with mediocrity in the Premier League and some half decent jobs in the second tier of English football.

Everton are getting a manager who has won 13 trophies during his coaching career, including two La Liga titles, one UEFA Champions League, two UEFA Cups / Europa Leagues and one FIFA Club World Cup, as well as domestic cups in England and Italy.

There was also the small matter of leading Newcastle United to a Championship title and re-establishing them in the Premier League before leaving the club frustrated at the lack of progress made under the regime of Mike Ashley.

It might take Everton fans a while to warm up to Rafa Benitez but he will win them over…and it won’t just be results on the pitch that do it.

The Spaniard has kept his family home in the area since leaving Liverpool in 2010. He loves living in the North-West and his wife runs a very successful charity which raises money for local charities and good causes on Merseyside.

Benitez will immerse himself in the history of the club and will go to great efforts to cultivate a positive relationship with the supporters, which he did so successfully during his time at St James Park.

Benitez will leave no stone unturned in his attempt to end Everton’s 26 year wait (and counting) for a major trophy and take them back into Europe. He will look at all aspects of performance, from the coaching and backroom staff to the nutrition and fitness of the players and the training ground facilities.

The timing of his appointment could also work excellently for the Spaniard. Everton fans were understandably disappointed to lose a manager of the calibre of Carlo Ancelotti, who left Goodison Park to return to Real Madrid for the second time.

However, it shouldn’t be overlooked that Ancelotti and Everton endured a disappointing season in 2020-21, only managing a 10th place finish despite the significant resources at the Italian’s disposal.

Their home form was wretched and they were knocked out of both domestic cup competitions at the quarter final stage.

Just three wins in their final 10 league matches saw them miss out on European competition completely, having at one stage been right in the hunt for UEFA Champions League qualification.

Despite the new stadium project which is projected to cost at least £500 million, Everton will provide Benitez with the resources which were so sorely lacking during his time on Tyneside.

Under Farhad Moshiri they have invested over £500 million in the playing squad to little success. Despite the lack of tangible results though, Rafa Benitez will have a very talented squad of players to work with and he is the master at finding a system which gets the best out of the personnel at his disposal.

Whatever the early misgivings about Benitez and there may well be bumps in the road, he will eventually win the supporters over because he wins football matches and he wins trophies, which are the only things that really matter in football.

If I was an Everton fan I would forget about his past with Liverpool and look ahead with optimism to a bright future for their football club, under the management of Rafa Benitez.

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