George Gillett has told angry Liverpool fans that Rafa Benitez is responsible for the club’s disappointing start to the season and has defended his record of investment as co-owner of the club.
Gillett and his co-owner Tom Hicks remain unpopular among Liverpool fans for the perception that they have not provided the funds for Benitez to mount a sustained title bid.
Following Sunday’s 2-0 defeat to Chelsea, Liverpool have now lost three of their opening eight games in the Premier League – one more than they suffered during the whole of last season.
But Gillett claims both he and Hicks have injected provided funds and that if performances are not up to scratch then Benitez and his methods must be placed under scrutiny.
“We have invested more money than our competitors, in keeping with the history of the club,” the Guardian quotes Gillett as telling a representative of the fans’ group Spirit of Shankly last week. “In the last 18 months, we have invested £128m on top of what has come in.
“That means it should be getting better. Now if it’s not getting better, it’s not Gillett and Hicks; it’s the manager; it’s the scouting. You have to make sure you balance out your analysis. There was plenty of money, so if you have any complaints, take a look at the ins and outs.”
Gillett said the £30m from Xabi Alonso’s sale to Real Madrid “went straight back” into Bénitez’s kitty and added to funds of “£22-23m as part of our budgets”.
Repeating a claim made recently, Gillett also explained that Liverpool are “in an extraordinarily good financial position. Far better than Manchester United, Chelsea or Arsenal.”
Plans for a new stadium have been shelved due to the current economic climate but Gillett and Hicks remain committed to resurrecting the project when conditions improve.