It’s the period just before the Champions League semi-final against Chelsea. Rafael Benitez has silenced the critics, as his settled side produce their best form of the campaign. All is looking good for a cracking end of season. Then along comes Tom Hicks.
Firstly, the American co-owner makes his displeasure of Rick Parry’s performance in marketing the club, public. Then a war of words breaks out between Hicks and fellow co-owner George Gillett. Whatever Tom Hicks’s views are, he should be keeping them to himself. Opening up a public debate about boardroom matters, is naive and unprofessional. And disruptive. For what happens off the field, can impact upon affairs on the field.
There must be a concern, that all these shenanigans could impact on Benitez’s preparation for the Champions League. Given the Spaniards professionalism it is unlikely. But he can use this situation to his advantage. Benitez can create an Us v Them scenario.
In which Tom Hicks is the THEM. The disruptive influence, trying to sabotage stability, for his own personal gain. Rather than let this uncertainty swirl around the edges of the football team, Benitez can use it as motivation. Talk about it directly to his team.
Look at this man….he is trying to further his own agenda, whilst we prepare for the Champions League. Well, we are going to show that nothing can stand in our way.
He could show them a clip from the film The Blues Brothers. Jake and Elwood Blues are in Jake’s flat, when it is blown up by Elwood’s girl-friend. The boys find themselves under a huge pile of rubble. As they emerge, dusty and dishevelled, they simply dust themselves down, look at their watches and say, ‘We’re late – it’s time to go to work’.
When your on a mission, the power of the mission can withstand any disruption. This is the message Rafael Benitez must get across to his team. And use Tom Hicks as a way of increasing his teams focus.