Police investigate anti-Benitez protests over potential Everton appointment
Merseyside Police are investigating a “threatening” anti-Rafael Benitez banner hung close to the Spaniard’s home on the Wirral overnight.
An image shared on social media showed a white sheet with the words ‘We know where you live. Don’t sign’ – referring to Benitez’s likely impending appointment at Everton – hung over a garden wall in the former Liverpool manager’s home village of Caldy.
“We can confirm police are investigating reports of a threatening banner at a location in Caldy today, Monday 28 June,” said a statement from Merseyside Police. “At around 7am, it was reported that a banner made from bed sheets had been placed over a wall and bushes on a residential driveway, with wording which is thought to target football manager Rafa Benitez.”
There has been considerable opposition among some sections of Everton’s fanbase to the likelihood of Benitez becoming Carlo Ancelotti’s successor at Goodison Park.
Offensive banners have previously been put up at the stadium but this incident was close to Benitez’s home.
"Huge question mark" over North West 200 in 2023, warns Mervyn Whyte
Phillip McCallen optimistic Ulster Grand Prix will return in 2023 as talks resume with Tourism NI
Fast uphill section of Ulster Grand Prix course at Dundrod named 'Ray's Rise' in honour of legendary Dromara Destroyer Raymond McCullough
Linfield hit by two-goal lead loss in late Europa first-leg drama
Manx Grand Prix: Michael Dunlop gears up for Classic Superbike victory bid on new Team Classic Suzuki GSX-R750
“This message has understandably caused some distress and worry for residents in the area,” said Detective Inspector Darren Taylor. “Due to the football language used, we suspect that it was aimed at Rafa Benitez – but whoever placed the message left it outside the wrong house.
“If anyone has information about who produced the banner or helped to put it up, please let us know as soon as possible.”
CCTV and witness enquiries are being carried out in the area.
Benitez, who won the Champions League and FA Cup with Liverpool in 2005 and 2006, has emerged as the front-runner to replace Ancelotti, himself a three-time Champions League winner, who made a surprise return to Real Madrid four weeks ago.
Everton fans’ animosity towards the Spaniard were raised above the usual level reserved for a Reds boss ever since his “small club” jibe after a 2007 Merseyside derby, although he has since sought to clarify he was referring to their small team mentality in the game.
Another former Everton manager Sam Allardyce faced a significant level of opposition when he took over from Ronald Koeman in November 2017.
“I have seen there are a lot of Everton fans unhappy about the situation because of the rivalry between (Liverpool) the two clubs,” he told Sky Sports. “The fans are on your side when you start winning, that is what it is all about.
“Rafa’s track record is very good.
“You can talk about the style of football that you play, first it is winning and then winning and playing well is the ultimate goal.
“The style of football is talked about so much, it overshadows what is more important, winning matches and finishing up the league to match the expectation and money spent.”
A message from the Editor:
Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.
In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news on this free-to-read site, I am asking you to also please purchase a copy of our newspaper whenever you are able to do so.
Our journalists are highly trained and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards in the world.
But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis.
With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news and information by buying a copy of our newspaper when you can safely.
You can also enjoy unlimited access to the best news from across Northern Ireland and the UK by subscribing to newsletter.co.uk
With a digital subscription, you can read more than five articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Visit https://www.newsletter.co.uk/subscriptions now to sign up.