So, is Rafael Benitez planning to apologise for the flag comments five years ago? Of course not. Take it away, Rafa:
I know how they feel. I understand how they feel. It's not a situation we can change in one minute. But working hard, winning games, I can improve it, starting with Fulham.
The problem is we can analyse what I said and I didn't say. Some things are untrue, some things are not true. I'll try my best to win their trust. That's it.
[In 2007] I was praising the fans of my club, my team. But I'm here now, it's my club, and I will do my best for them. That's my explanation, very easy and very simple. I will try to defend my club, and this is now my club.
-Source: ESPN Soccernet.
There's some commentary going around about how this means that Benitez is stubborn or simply enormously rude, and while both of those may be true, I think these quotes hint as something different. They're symptomatic of the biggest divide in football -- the inside and the outside.
The outside values loyalty. We will, after all, be here long after everyone currently at the club is gone, even the owner. On the inside though, it's all about doing your job. Benitez thinks he was doing his job as Liverpool manager when he insulted Chelsea fans, and therefore believes he has no reason to apologise for his remarks. Now he wants to do his job as Chelsea manager, and thinks it'll all work out from there.
An apology, no matter how insincere, would have gone a long way towards bridging the gap between the inside world in which Benitez lives and the outside one in which the fans operate. But that's not where Benitez operates. I think that's a mistake -- sorry isn't so hard to say, after all -- but he simply has no interest in anything beyond doing his job. He doesn't need our forgiveness for that.
Fair play to him, I suppose.
Ceterum censeo Torrentem delendam esse.