After a threatening banner was laid outside Rafa Benitez’s home, Liverpool and Everton fans have both shown their support of the expected new Blues manager.
Benitez is due to take over as Everton boss this week, becoming only the second man to manage both Merseyside clubs after William Edward Barclay in the 1890s.
It would be a hugely controversial appointment, and it has not gone down well among large sections of the Blues’ support – along with some Liverpool fans, too.
But while fans are within their rights – and, in many cases, actively encouraged – to voice their concern over club matters, it appears some have now taken it too far.
Monday morning saw an image circulating on social media believed to have been taken outside Benitez’s family home in Liverpool, with a banner reading: ‘We know where you live, don’t sign’.
This banner is online. It has been posted not far from where Rafa Benitez lives with his wife and his daughters. It’s sinister, it’s reprehensible and the people responsible for it should be ashamed. They are a disgrace. pic.twitter.com/6prhZt16vX
— Dominic King (@DominicKing_DM) June 28, 2021
Such threats should be dealt with in the most serious manner, and hopefully those responsible are identified and punished accordingly.
Ironically, for Benitez, the incident has galvanised support among the fanbases of both Liverpool and Everton.
Both sets of supporters took to social media to label the banner “reprehensible”…
Difficult to verify those threatening banners were actually left outside Rafa Benitez's family home – he has a wife and two daughters – but if true it's reprehensible. It's not representative of a fan base it's one or two sinister individuals & it's terrible #EFC
— Greg O'Keeffe (@GregOK) June 28, 2021
— Leanne Prescott (@_lfcleanne) June 28, 2021
Outside Rafa's house.
"Never brought shame on the city", you say? pic.twitter.com/vHg68K88vi
— Steven Kelly (@SteKelly198586) June 28, 2021
Left outside Rafa's home.
Ev fans ladies and gents.
Absolutely reprehensible. pic.twitter.com/qFVfqWVrYw
— EssinemLFC (@essinem7) June 28, 2021
Horrible to see that banner at Benitez's house. Moronic behaviour.
I absolutely don't want him as manager, but he's clearly a good man whose family has done a lot of wonderful things for people in Merseyside. #EFC
— Matt Jones (@MattJFootball) June 28, 2021
Wished it was a bed sheet I had to deal with , took my uncle(god rest is soul) 3 days to scrub the obscenities off my garden wall . Will always get a minority who go too far
— Robbie Fowler (@Robbie9Fowler) June 28, 2021
And, in a reflection of their intelligence, has actually galvanised more support from Everton fans behind Rafa Benitez and his appointment than he has ever had.
— Phil McNulty (@philmcnulty) June 28, 2021
While a number of Everton fans admitted it had reinforced their backing of Rafa…
These fans don't get it.
They aren't making Benitez look bad, they aren't even making the board look bad.
They are making this fan base look bad, whoever did this is a disgrace!
— BLUE BOYZ NETWORK (@BlueBoyzNetwork) June 28, 2021
Re: that banner.
I would rather have Rafa managing my club than the people who made the banner supporting my club.
— Trevor Edwards ??????????? ? (@blackrodblue) June 28, 2021
All this hatred towards Rafa is turning me into someone who now feels sorry for the man and wants him to manage our club.
Anyone who’s got the balls to withstand this disgraceful, disrespectful crap and still want to manage Everton, must have something about them.
— Lea (@Lea_EFC) June 28, 2021
I’ve now decided to back Rafa cos it’s pisses off the utter fuckin bellends who follow our club, who think it’s appropriate to leave that outside someone’s house with his family inside.
— Graeme (@graemeh1984) June 28, 2021
'IF' Rafa Benitez becomes the Everton manager, then he's one of us now. His appointment isn't popular, but as fans, we need to get behind him. Sometimes the club has to make a decision based upon what is best for our future, & we have to put our personal feelings aside.#Everton pic.twitter.com/G0CnaLxmxn
Isn’t it mad how those banners have had the complete opposite effect as to what they intended. Seeing a lot more Blues backing Benitez now and rightly condemning such disgusting acts! If it is to be Rafa, let’s get behind him and the team and hope he’s the right man! ? #EFC
— TheMightyBlues (@MightyBluesYT) June 28, 2021
It remains to be seen whether the incident will affect Benitez’s decision when it comes to taking over at Goodison Park, but the hope will be that he still feels safe enough to do so.
While it may not be a popular appointment on either side of Stanley Park, Rafa is a vital member of the community, and his desire to lead Everton is no doubt motivated by his love for Liverpool as a city.
His achievements at Liverpool should not be tainted by his move to the blue half of Merseyside, and instead his affinity with the culture of the area should be embraced.