Later News Jul 15

New Everton boss Benitez makes no apologies for calling the Toffees a “small club” in 2007


Remember the time when new Everton boss Rafa Benitez, then flying high as Liverpool manager, called the Toffees a “small club”?

 

No? Well, here’s a reminder of Benitez’s comments, which came in the aftermath of a particularly dour goalless Merseyside derby.

 

Life comes at you fast, doesn’t it? Okay, it actually took 14 years for life to come at Benitez in this instance, but you get what we mean.

 

Now that Benitez is in charge of Everton, you would expect the Spaniard to have regret over his inflammatory comments about the club all those years back. Some Everton fans might have even hoped for him to grovel and tearfully apologise to them, much like how the 87 men (and counting) who are part of the KTV Covid-19 cluster must now be doing to their wives and family.

 

WATCH: Benitez's first interview as Everton manager

 

But Benitez comes from sterner stock than your regular KTV-visiting hum sup lous (horny men).

 

The 61-year-old has stoutly defended his comments as appropriate in the context it was used, although he did declare that he will now do his best to prove his 2007-self wrong.

 

“I said before that it depends on the context," Benitez said. “It was a long time ago and I was fighting for my club and that is what I am doing now.

 

“I will fight for Everton and do my best every single game and compete against anyone. That is football and football is quite emotional. Everybody will have their own opinions, but I will fight for my team like every place I was working.

 

“I am a professional and very competitive. I like to see people enjoying the team and the best way to do that is by winning and we are creating an atmosphere that will allow us to compete at maximum level.

 

“Liverpool is my city. I have very good connections on the red side and blue side. A lot of people in blue side will be pleased if we are successful and, if we do well, nobody will be talking about the past.”

 

WATCH: Benitez takes Everton training as pre-season begins

 

In another display of his badassery, Benitez insisted that he was unafraid of the threats levelled at him by disgruntled Everton fans who still have not forgiven him for the crime of being Liverpool manager.

 

Banners insulting Benitez were placed outside Goodison Park, while another banner with the rather ominous message, “We know where you live - Don't Sign.”, was hung at a house close to his home.

 

But Benitez simply brushed these threats aside, as he said: “I am not scared, it is the opposite. I want to win, be competitive and ambitious. I am sure we will do it.

 

“Talking about banners, it was maybe one or two people, you never know. It is better to think about positives. A lot of people are encouraging me to do well and I am happy with that.

 

“The Evertonians around my place are quite happy and very supportive. Even the Liverpuldians accept it is a chance for me to come back to the Premier League.”

 

WATCH: James Rodriguez in Everton training

 

What do you think? Can Benitez lead Everton to success? Or will his 2007-self be proved right after all?