While it’s hard to top Tottenham’s hilariously inept managerial search this summer, Everton’s appointment of Liverpool fan-favorite Rafa Benítez certainly takes the cake for amusement factor. The (We’re-Just-Not-That-)Interim One is just the second person ever to manage both teams, and the first in 125 years.
In terms of potential backlash, his appointment at Chelsea in 2012 is small potatoes compared to crossing the red-blue divide on Merseyside, but as the Athletic’s exhaustive account of the process reveals, Everton decision-maker Farhad Moshiri went straight to the source to find out how Benítez had handled those tumultuous times.
“Roman told him (Moshiri) Benitez is one of the best managers he has worked with. He was extremely positive about him as a manager and a person. He praised the way he got the dressing room behind him, the performances he got at Chelsea under the pressure and his ‘big balls’ for weathering the storm. It was a very influential call in making up Moshiri’s mind.”
-A.Nonymous; source: The Athletic
In fairness, though the football was largely uninspiring, Benítez did deliver a Europa League trophy to Stamford Bridge, and got Juan Mata to play some of the best football of his career, which was fun to watch. (He was less successful in resurrecting Fernando Torres, but hey; can’t win ‘em all.)
In any case, I’m sure Rafa will receive a ... warm ... reception when he returns to Stamford Bridge with Everton, currently scheduled for December 15.