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19th Mar 2016

Jamie Carragher reveals the origin of Rafael Benitez’s feud with Sam Allardyce

"Do not doubt how much Allardyce would love to relegate Benitez"

Robert Redmond

These two certainly aren’t football friends.

If narrative is your thing, the Tyne-Wear derby is the football match for you this weekend.

In addition to it being the proverbial ‘six-pointer’, with it looking unlikely both Newcastle United and Sunderland will be in the Premier League next season, the two managers have been openly disparaging of one another in the past.

In his autobiography, released last year, Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce said Liverpool’s Champions League triumph in 2005 had “nowt to do with” with then manager Benitez, claiming the credit for the Reds stunning comeback against AC Milan in the final belonged to Steven Gerrard.

Benitez was asked about the comments while he was Real Madrid manager, and said: “His opinion does not have a lot of value.”

“Do you know how many trophies Sam Allardyce has won?”

Jamie Carragher, who played under Newcastle boss Benitez at Liverpool, has lifted the lid on the origins of the feud in his Daily Mail column.

Newcastle United v Liverpool

“Liverpool lost to Allardyce’s Bolton in 2004, sparking a spiky rivalry between the two managers.”

“Rafa has never liked Allardyce since their first meeting in August 2004 at Bolton. That was Rafa’s ‘welcome to England’ game, when he saw Sami Hyypia get his nose broken by Kevin Davies during one of the aerial assaults on our goal. We lost 1-0 and Rafa couldn’t believe what we had faced.

“I don’t buy this idea, though, that Allardyce was some sort of bogeyman for Benitez. Allardyce has not achieved anywhere near as much as Benitez as a manager and how could he have got under his skin when Rafa has won seven of the 12 matches — including all six at home — when they have played against each other?

“Where Rafa didn’t help himself was making comments that rubbed other managers up the wrong way. I always felt that when we played against Allardyce’s teams, they wanted the points off us more than they did against Manchester United.”

 Carragher also claims that Allardyce would love the opportunity to put an end to the rivalry by relegating Newcastle and Benitez.

“Do not doubt how much Allardyce would love to relegate Benitez — he has never forgotten a gesture Rafa made to imply Blackburn were finished during their 4-0 defeat at Anfield in April 2009.”

“Sunderland have the better chance of survival because Allardyce has had a transfer window, a five-month head start in terms of working with his squad and now he has a slightly more inviting run-in than Newcastle.”

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