Remember when we used to talk about football?

AS a huge ominous cloud gathers over Europe join me, fellow Reds, in a cheery rendition of “Welcome to my world”.

Torres crocked, manager looking for exits, United back in the title race (yes, it DOES matter) and the team’s tortured hobble to the finishing line.

A downpour of volcanic ash would look good right about now. Suspend the season!

The mood was lightened slightly thanks to an embarrassingly inept West Ham on Monday but the overall picture remains bleak.

The week of the Hillsborough anniversary is always a sad time of reflection, or at least it ought to be, but when there’s a buck to be made sympathy for the dead takes a tawdry back seat. There were rumours about Rafa’s future, needless announcements about the club’s sale (as if we didn’t know that anyway) and grubby claims of massive profit from our Texan rodent.

Rafa’s agent certainly earns his 10%, denying any talks in Turin, then admitting it but claiming they were about everything but Benitez joining Juventus.

Then he claimed new investors sounded out the manager personally about his future. Jeez. When Rafa wants control there’s no half measures! You can’t get a handle on the truth here because stories keep shifting. The fiasco of Robbie Keane was Parry’s fault; then it was blamed on not getting Gareth Barry for a special formation that would not work otherwise. Which was Parry’s fault.

Aquilani was a €20m bargain ruined by Roma, then he was the victim of misfortune, now he’s a shirking wuss who can’t run without snivelling. Damn you, Parry…

Allegedly the manager privately admits Roma played us for suckers and, old habits dying hard, intends to blame his chief scout for the mess.

Via his remarkable ventriloquist skills the campaign to absolve Teflon Man of all blame will presumably get into first gear soon enough.

Whatever the ins and outs of this torturous tale, there aren’t many fans that realistically expect Benitez to be here next term. The only real conjecture involves compensation, but how much and who pays? Real have previous for devious, exploiting LFC’s pathetic record in deal breaking; nothing for McManaman, peanuts for Owen and Arbeloa. Even the Alonso figure remained undisclosed.

The whole thing is bizarre. If I were forced to name one manager less Galactico-friendly than Rafa, I’d struggle.

Perhaps the ironic legacy of the Yanks’ calamitous tenure is that their initial advice to the manager – concentrate on coaching – was probably the best he’s ever received.

And he’ll heed it too if he ever reaches the Bernabeau, because he knows damn well he won’t last five minutes if he doesn’t.

If this reads like a farewell, with “good riddance” attachment, it’s not meant to.

After six years of battles, some self-inflicted admittedly, it’s understandable if the man finally wants out before he’s worn out.

If he just resigned and took up a new role few would think ill of him. If he hung on for a few extra millions that we cannot afford, then respect would evaporate. It seems like the battle for hearts and minds at LFC will continue even after he’s gone! Despite initial relief over the parasites’ announcement few believe a sale will take place soon. It may all be typical Yank bravura, a dismal attempt to drum up an auction before the decision is taken out of their hands entirely.

Hicks’ claims of big profits on the horizon are at odds with his business record, especially with Texas Rangers.

His ridiculous boasting adds further weight to the theory that he and Gillett are all but washed up.

Even if that were the delightful truth a ‘realistic’ price is not likely to be met either, and any future owner(s) could possibly travel the same road of debt in order to afford us in the first place, sucking us further down in the quicksand we’re supposed to be rescued from. Does anyone remember talking about football?

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