Steve Bruce, Rafael Benitez, Kenwyne Jones, and the Media Pot Stirring

Jamie WardSenior Analyst IJanuary 22, 2010

It would seem the constantly "disrespectful" Liverpool manager, Rafael Benitez, is up to his cunning tricks again. According to Sunderland manager—and ex-Manchester United legend—Steve Bruce, Benitez is playing games at the expense of Kenwyne Jones.

For several days now the papers have insisted that Liverpool—and Benitez in particular—have been in talks with Sunderland to bring Jones to Merseyside on loan until the end of the season.

Some have even gone as far as confirming the deal has already been completed, with a permanent switch being finalised in the summer.

Apparently this has considerably angered Bruce and his chairman, Niall Quinn, to the point that the club voiced its distaste for the way Benitez has used the media to unsettle the Trinidad international.

“I don’t know whether they are serious or whether Rafa is playing games with his board, but the only people who are suffering are Kenwyne and Sunderland. This may be all about the problems Liverpool have. It might be power games.”

Bruce insists that Liverpool have not made any contact with Sunderland about the move, and if they did, the chances of landing Jones on loan are impossible.

"As if I’m going to let a big player and one of our big assets go anywhere on loan,” he said. “I don’t understand where they’re coming from. It’s total nonsense, it is ludicrous, it’s the biggest load of rubbish.

Do me favour. It is like me asking for Steven Gerrard on loan. I’ll try that, maybe. For the record, Kenwyne is not going on loan to anybody.”   

Benitez was accused by Martin O'Neill of acting in the same way last summer over Gareth Barry's apparent move from Villa Park to Anfield; so Bruce seems to have every right to feel aggrieved towards the Red's manager for playing mind games with one of his players.

That is of course if the Spaniard had actually uttered a single word to the media about wanting Kenwyne Jones either on loan, a permanent deal, or as a straight swap for Liverpool misfit, Ryan Babel.

Despite regular journalist assurances that the deal is close to, or already complete, the club has made no public comment in regards to the transfer.

With Bruce claiming Liverpool have made no formal approach over the proposed loan move, and no actual quotes attributed to Benitez in reference to bringing Jones to Anfield during the winter transfer window, the Sunderland manager's motives could easily be brought into question.

It would seem the constant barrage of rumour and mischief created by journalists and editors looking to increase web traffic and revenue, has not only convinced some Liverpool supporters that a deal—or at least talks between the two clubs—has taken place, but also fooled Bruce in to believing the constant media pot stirring.

Newspaper headlines and Steve Bruce claim a "disrespectful" Benitez, yet in reality it appears Bruce is the "disrespectful" one for launching a bizarre attack over something that has never actually been mentioned to the media by Liverpool Football Club or it's manager.



Rafael Benitez has recently stated he has not been involved with any discussions between the two clubs over Kenwyn Jones; or that he has addressed the subject outside of the boardroom.

The Spaniard has confirmed that Liverpool managing director, Christian Purslow, has been in talks with his Sunderland counterpart, Niall Quinn, over the possible loan move.

"I was not dealing with this,” said the Liverpool manager. Christian Purslow has been talking with Niall Quinn so they have to manage the situation because I was not doing anything.

Without any quotes in the public domain, the club appear to have performed their duties completly above board, and have held private discussions with Sunderland about the situation. For both Niall Quinn and Steve Bruce to come out and publicaly accuse the club of being underhand is in itself quite hypocritical.

"Now if Liverpool are serious—which I don’t know if they are or whether it is Rafa having games with his board, I don’t know—but the ones who are suffering from it are Sunderland and Kenwyne Jones"

Rafa Benitez privately informing his managing director of a possible transfer target; and then the managing director contacting the player's club to privately discuss the possibilites, is far from "disrespectful."

Using the media to theorise the Anfield situation, and to suggest that Benitez is simply playing games with the board in some childish contest, is what should be highlighted as "disrespectful."

It would seem as Sunderland stake their case for a top six finish, Steve Bruce has proven a considerable amount has been passed on from his long standing ex-manager, Alex Ferguson, when it comes to media manipulation.