the dedication of raffa our gaffa

Discussion in 'Liverpool' started by liverbird04, Dec 4, 2004.

  1. liverbird04

    liverbird04 New Member

    Nov 30, 2004

    RAFA BENITEZ took one look into the eyes of the cold, wet young fan who had stood outside the gates of Liverpool’s Melwood training ground for 12 hours.

    The Spaniard knew there and then he could not fail in his task at Anfield.

    Benitez is currently working at least 30 hours a week more than he did at Valencia — the La Liga club which he twice made champions of Spain and also led to victory in the UEFA Cup final.

    He realised he was probably overdoing the 13 and 14- hour days when he nearly drove head-on into the face of an oncoming car recently because his attention had drifted and his car was on the wrong side of the road.

    The red-eyed Reds boss has even had to dump his English lessons to make more time for putting Liverpool on the right tracks — which includes taking three points off David O’Leary’s resurgent Aston Villa this afternoon.

    Benitez said: “I’m a dedicated hard worker and I love football but the people who follow this club can sometimes freeze your heart and make you stunned with their total dedication to Liverpool.

    “For instance, there’s one young lad who waits outside the training ground gates and you see him when you arrive at 8.30 or 9am in the morning.
    “He’s not the only one by far but you stop, give him an autograph and even take a picture with him.

    “But then when you’ve done your working day and you come out of the training ground gates at whatever time of night that may be, he’s still waiting there looking for somebody else, anybody else, to come out and give him an autograph on their way home.

    “No matter how many pictures or signatures these guys get they are still there for hours on end — whether it is raining or freezing. His attitude typifies this fantastic club.

    “From day to day it doesn’t actually affect how you work because you give your best, anyway. But being in this environment does make you feel something special.

    “You don’t have to be here for long to understand that Liverpool FC is not merely a football club — it is a feeling.

    “The fans are stupendous. For example, whenever there is a minute’s silence you hear nothing, absolutely nothing.

    “These people put so much value on tradition — they believe that they are distinct from other clubs. That’s why there is so much respect for football people. If people stop to ask you for an autograph and you happen to be with someone or talking on the phone they will wait and wait and then ask for it — and then they’ll follow up by asking you if you fancy going for a beer with them!”

    But Benitez has no time for social life, barely even for family life. He has thrown himself head-first into restoring the glory days at Anfield — but believes that whatever he achieves this season will be a bonus.

    Much of his work is on planning for how he can develop his squad month by month — in terms of fitness, teamwork, defending, and adding new signings.

    That is why he is working almost twice as hard as he did at Valencia. He added: “My guys and I are in to work at 8.30 or 9am at the latest, depending on how heavy the traffic is — and often I’ll not be leaving until nine at night.

    “At Valencia my programme was completely different — I’d be at work by nine and almost always back home finished for the day at 3pm.

    “Obviously, it now means that I’ve not got as much time with my wife or my young children as I did when I worked in Spain. But I do it because I’m responsible for how this team performs.

    “I know I’ve got to put in those hours — otherwise I just couldn’t cope with the job in hand.

    “My attitude is that coaches and players earn huge amounts of money and we have to be super-professional in exchange. So, if your performance depends on your physical fitness, for example, then either you work like a proper professional or you’re not fit for the job.

    “There are some players who moan a lot when they find out that your style is to be ‘on top of them’ all day.

    “But I just tell them ‘We are professionals doing what our fans would dream of doing, so we owe them good professional performances or else’.

    “In truth, that attitude goes down pretty well in England because in this country the manager is pretty much the boss and can do what he wants with who does or doesn’t play in his team.

    “Also I’m finding that in England the manager is someone who will often only take one or two training sessions per week but I don’t have that kind of mentality.

    “I take full responsibility for the meaning of being made Liverpool manager and I love to train, to spend hours on the pitches here, working on tactics and fine-tuning tiny little details.”

    But there is a cost associated with Benitez’s hard slog.

    Over and above missing the quality family time which he had at Valencia — time he has exchanged for his extended family in the modern ‘boot-room’ — the Spaniard has not had time to come to terms with one or two English customs . . . like the weather and driving on the left-hand side of the road.

    Benitez added: “Apart from this climate, which is pretty hard to put up with, things are great — but they are very different from my country.

    “Look, every European who comes here finds driving interesting and it’s hard to judge where your left hand wing is while you are parking or passing.

    “When you’ve got a mate in the front passenger seat you can see him absolutely suffering while you drive. But then when he’s driving you and you’re in the passenger seat you suffer just as much!

    “But even more difficult is when you’ve worked late at night and there are no other cars on the road.

    “That happened to me one night when I’d dropped our coach Paco Herrera off at his house after training.

    “I was driving along quite happily when, out of the blue, there was this coach right in front of me, driving at me it seemed!

    “And what had happened was that because there were no cars on the road when I set off I’d started driving on the wrong side of the road!

    “It’s almost worse when you walk — I try and cross the road and I have to look about seven times in each direction before I set off.”


    1960: Born in Madrid.

    1974: Joins Real Madrid, aged 14.

    1981: Leaves Madrid to join Spanish Third Division side Parla.

    1986: Quits playing due to injury.

    1995: Appointed head coach of Vallodolid but is sacked after 23 games.

    1996: Takes over at Osasuna but leaves after just one win in nine games.

    1997: Leads Extremadura to promotion from Spanish Second Division.

    1999: Extremadura relegated after play-off.

    2000: Helps Tenerife win promotion after a year studying coaching in England and Italy.

    2001: Is surprise choice to take charge of Valencia but leads them to their first Primera Liga title in 31 years.

    2004: Valencia win both the Primera Liga and the UEFA Cup. Leaves Valencia to take the helm at Liverpool.
  2. liverbird

    liverbird BigSoccer Supporter

    Sep 29, 2000
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    In the future please provide a link to the site that has copyrighted material rather than quoting the entire article. Its one of our silly little rules around here. :mad: Good melodramatic stuff though :D
  3. liverbird04

    liverbird04 New Member

    Nov 30, 2004
    oops sorry about that ,I can't fin out where it came from but it seemed so good that I couldn't help it :D I'll try and remember the rules next time.
  4. Matt Clark

    Matt Clark Member

    Dec 19, 1999
    Liverpool FC
    So who's going to break it to him that his dedicated little mate is running straight home and banging out the mementoes on ebay? :D
  5. poolfan=)

    poolfan=) New Member

    Sep 6, 2004
    Sydney Australia
    I think that Raffa's long hours and h/w paid off for us today. His tactical substitutions worked a treat in the 2nd half. lets just hope the 'loner with the laptop'(as he calls himself) can keep the team winning with his tactical nous and hope that his hard work doesn't give him a heart attack like it did to Houllier.(he looks like the type of middle aged man who is prime for one too-did you see the stress on his face during the Olympiakos match?)
  6. soccer365-old

    soccer365-old New Member

    Jul 18, 2000
    Sony Pictures CA
    I think Rafa is one of best coaches in the world. I can't believe how stupid Valencia were to not give this man everyting he wanted. It is sad to see how much turmoil from within he has had to deal with over the past 6 months.
  7. liverbird04

    liverbird04 New Member

    Nov 30, 2004
    I agree its no coincidence liverpool are in the last 16 and valencia aren't.

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