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When Manchester United play Manchester City, both sets of fans scream abuse, often vitriolic and highly personal, at members of the opposing team.

When Arsenal play Tottenham, both sets of fans scream abuse, often vitriolic and highly personal, at members of the opposing team.

When Birmingham play Aston Villa, When Newcastle, Middlesborough or Sunderland play against one another, well, you get the picture.

After Sunday's game the Monday newspapers were awash with headlines about the foulmouthed abuse of Steven Gerrard. No mention of the foulmouthed and physical abuse of Phil Neville, or the game-long personal abuse aimed at Joleon Lescott, whose near-fatal road accident as a child has left him with scars that make him an easy target for moronic opposition supporters.

The reason for these outraged headlines? Step forward one Mr.Rafael Benitez. A man who cannot even accept victory with any measure of dignity or grace.

This is the man who, after Liverpool's victory in the last derby game, said without a hint of irony, that Joleon Lescott should have been booked for diving after he had been hauled to the ground by Jamie Carragher for what was surely the most blatant penalty not to have been awarded in the premiership, or probably any other league, this season.

Benitez could have looked forward to headlines reflecting Liverpool's dominance of the game, or the almost certain clinching of fourth place in the Premiership with Champion's League football guaranteed for another season. Instead he chose, with his stock at it's highest after a derby win, to ingratiate himself further with Liverpool's fanbase by making another jibe at Everton's expense. This calculated process of ingratiation kept him in his job when his failed rotation policy led to the serious possibility that Liverpool may not have reached a lucrative Champion's League spot this season.

The protective buffer zone of religiously zealous supporters that he has built around himself led to many Liverpool fans accepting his excuse that the American owners were to blame for the poor form of the team on the pitch. The ownership soap opera has lately become more bitter than ever, so surely Liverpool should be struggling for premiership survival by now. But no, Rafa abandoned his, (not Gillette and Hick's), rotation policy, and Liverpool are now sitting pretty, with fourth place all but assured.

He may not be a masterful manipulator when it comes to Premiership football, but for playing supporters like a finely tuned instrument there are few equals.
Dean King, Porthcawl     Posted 01/04/2008 at 16:46:59

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Carl Warriner
1   Posted 01/04/2008 at 13:34:21

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During this whole debate over Sunday's derby match, including the radio, newspapers and the rest of the press, the one thing that has'nt been mentioned is the fact that Benitez should be told to keep his childish remarks to himself.

This man caused "murder" last year with his 'small club' jibe and this year decides to highlight just one incident about a song that has been sung for the last two years. Let's not forget it was Benitez who started the whole Yankee farce with the dark side by his infamous, 'I am only interested in coaching my team interview' which alerted the press to the fact there was a major problem at the dark side with the Yankee owners. The Dark side'ss hierarchy must really get this waste of space some serious Public Relations training, after all he is only a former Spanish Waiter.

James Byrne
2   Posted 01/04/2008 at 21:53:07

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Mr. Benitez is for me, the most disrespectful football manager the Premiership has had; he has single handedly made the relationship between the two Merseyside clubs the worst it has ever been. From a fanbase level to the boardroom.

His lack of respect for our great club has made me hate the shite more than ever in my football life and he has cascaded down this same attitude to some of his scum players; which for me is a real shame.

On the other hand though he is clever, very clever; and he knows how to manipulate teams and the media when he has to. In the Prem and especially in Europe; the same goes for his players.

This was so evident in the Derby and for me it is about fucking time David Moyes started to be the same way and the players; lets start to drive the mind games, the manipulation of the media against the shite and anyone else prior and after games to wind them up. They must be pissing themselves that we fall for it every time under this Spanish prick.
Anthony Newell
3   Posted 01/04/2008 at 22:03:18

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A truly dispicable character and whenever I see him on TV I find my right arm uncontrollably rising up to gesture a V-sign and my mouth uttering words that used to be banned on TV not so long back. The guy, as his ridiculous defence of Mascherano proved is a complete knobhead and gobshite. The diarrohea recently spouted, like 12 months ago will serve to deepen the utter hatred rather than build bridges. Under Roy Evans, Houllier et al there seemed to be an unwritten protocol observed about not trying to ridicule or disparage your neighbour but this idiot. Coaching and training - you fucking tool
Jay Campbell
4   Posted 01/04/2008 at 22:12:08

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I hope he stay’s for many years 2 come because he fuckn hopeless. Great the way he blamed the yank’s for lack ov money, stadium issue etc to deflect the attention away from himself that he is a shite manager and has no hope whatsoever of winning the title. I’d give tha knobhead 50 million to spend coz he’ll bankrupt them clowns.
MIike Berry
5   Posted 01/04/2008 at 18:57:58

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I do not think anyone with anything resembling a brain would have joined in the chanting about Gerrards?s daughter. So too with the personal chanting about Joleon Lescott.

Although I would say that Gerrard and Lescott would expect to a certain extent to receive verbal abuse. It isn?t pleasant is it? But, football grounds aren?t exactly Covent Garden are they?

What I find totally unacceptable is the alleged spitting and slap Phil Neville took during the match. It shows the mentally of these people that they hit him. Rather than attack Micky and Peanuts, who were nearly always on the flanks.

After all, we all know Phil can?t pass water! Perhaps they were reacting to his profile. If its your first visit to any football ground, you would pick Phil out wouldn?t you? Ex Man Utd and England geddit?

Perhaps the outrage that Beanethus showed about Gerrard's daughter was driven by something else, namely spin. If the FA chose to they could bring the people from Anfield up on a charge. Not a good image for the goody goodys of Football.

They after all show respect to officials and opponents. Ask Steve Bennett!

The most disquieting thing about the whole match was Beanethus attitude to the chanting. He didn?t condemn the abuse of Lescott and the alleged attack on Neville.

Rafa, my son - you are the Sultan Of Spin!

Anj Stamos
6   Posted 02/04/2008 at 04:38:20

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re James Byrne "This was so evident in the Derby and for me it is about fucking time David Moyes started to be the same way and the players; lets start to drive the mind games, the manipulation of the media against the shite and anyone else prior and after games to wind them up. They must be pissing themselves that we fall for it every time under this Spanish prick."

James,you like all of us blues, share your disgust and hatred towards this ill-mannered,disrespectful,ignorant,uncouthed,unkempt,despicable poor excuse of a human being. But too suggest that our Moyesy should jump in the shallow end of the gene-pool and demean himself like that pile of shit, I disagree. Moyes at the end of the day has ’CLASS’ and should’nt lower himself to the same levels as the RS. We are better than that !!!!!!!!

helen pull
7   Posted 02/04/2008 at 09:02:50

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I believe benitez is the reason that ’derby’ games have become so vitriolic in recent seasons. I have no repsect for the man - who always is ready to point out others misdeeds without recognising his own - kettle / black comes to mind!
Daniel Johnson
8   Posted 02/04/2008 at 17:12:50

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Liverpool fans behaved like the scum they are. Inbred arseholes who rage around Europe acting like the killers they are.

The same fans who attacked an ambulance carying a seriously injured player to hospital (Alan Smith; Pool v Man Utd).

The same fans who abused our players throughout a niggly derby.

The same fans who gobbed on Phil Neville and tried to thump him.

The fat waiter knows this so decides to criticise our fans to deflect the criticism of his own red scum bastard fans.
Colin Malone
9   Posted 02/04/2008 at 17:32:10

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Benitez Mussolini, Dictator, who centralised power to himself, hated the yanks. My way or no way. One hated person.
roy coyne
10   Posted 02/04/2008 at 22:47:47

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Mike what I can not understand is a player infact the captain of a visiting side has been assaulted, so were are the headlines from the press demanding the F.A. investigate, where is Andy Gray condemning the actions of the fans involved this is not to belittle the disgusting chants that Lescott,Carsley,Neville and Gerrard had to contend with but once violence rears its head its a dangerous situation what happens next time if its a home player thats attacked and the fans join in surely by now the culprits should be known and at least have life banns

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