Benitez gives ultimatum to American owners Gillett and Hicks


Liverpool manager has asked his employers at Anfield to back him or else he would quit for another European team. They came from the Spaniard after he spoke to the press about the current boardroom turmoil following his team’s emphatic victories against Arsenal in the champions League semi final and Blackburn Rovers in the premiership.

Months ago, reports had leaked that the club’s American owners. George Gillett and Tom Hicks had met twice with former Germany coach Juergen Klinsmann regarding him replacing Benitez this summer. Both Gillett and Hicks had denied it as a move to force Benitez out, claiming it was only to discuss a backup option if Benitez were to leave on his own for Spanish champions Real Madrid.

Now more reports have revealed the presence of the Club board including Chief Executive Rick Parry, and it was all done without the knowledge of the manager. This has reportedly incensed Benitez, whose relationship with Parry was already troubled over the past over feuds of handling player signings. Now he is demanding an explanation and a clarification of the situation, claiming it has now become impossible for him to work with Parry in an environment of trust.

Off late however, Hicks has appeared to back Benitez and even asked Parry to resign, indicating the balance in favour of the Spaniard. Gillett though, has not appeared so keen to back Benitez as his own relationship with his club’s co-owner continues to deteriorate since Hicks blocked the take over talks of Dubai company DIC, which was interested in buying his partner’s 50% share at the club; something Gillett was keen on as well.

The balance of favour at Anfield remains in question but the news of Parry and the board going behind Benitez’s back to attend the meeting with Klinsmann appears to have put Parry and Benitez’s relationship beyond repair. But the Spaniard insists, this off-field turmoil will not affect his team’s performances in some important games coming up in the fight for fourth place in the premiership and the much hyped semi final clash with Chelsea in the Champions League for a third time in four years.

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