Rafa Benitez: Merseyside Police investigating threatening banner apparently aimed at prospective Everton boss

Rafa Benitez's imminent appointment as Everton head coach has been met with criticism by a section of Toffees supporters due to Liverpool links; Merseyside Police investigating banner allegedly left outside the Spaniard's home in Wirral, which read 'We know where you live, don't sign'

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Sky Sports News' Vinny O'Connor reports that Merseyside Police are looking into the banners aimed at Rafa Benitez

Merseyside Police are investigating after a threatening banner apparently aimed at prospective Everton boss Rafa Benitez was hung near his family home.

Images circulated on social media of a banner, reading 'We know where you live, don't sign', which was allegedly put up close to the Spaniard's home in Wirral - where his family have been living since his time as Liverpool manager.

"We can confirm police are investigating reports of a threatening banner at a location in Caldy today, Monday 28 June," a Merseyside Police statement read.

"At around 7am, it was reported that a banner made from bed sheets had been placed over a wall and bushes on a residential driveway, with wording which is thought to target football manager Rafa Benitez.

"If anyone has information about who produced the banner or helped to put it up, please let us know as soon as possible."

Detective Inspector Darren Taylor said: "This message has understandably caused some distress and worry for residents in the area. Due to the football language used, we suspect that it was aimed at Rafa Benitez - but whoever placed the message left it outside the wrong house."

Rafa Benitez was appointed as manager of Chinese Super League club Dalian Professional in July 2019, shortly after leaving Newcastle
Image: Benitez is close to being appointed as Everton's new permanent head coach

Benitez's Anfield past has sparked opposition to his appointment among some Evertonians, and various banners have been displayed around Goodison Park in recent days.

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Other supporters have shown their backing towards the Spaniard, one banner which was put up near Goodison on Monday read: "Welcome Rafa, from true Blues."

Some Evertonians have welcomed the news that Rafa Benitez is close to being appointed as the club's new manager
Image: Some Evertonians have welcomed the news that Benitez is close to being appointed as the club's new boss

The 61-year-old, who won one Champions League title, one UEFA Super Cup and one FA Cup at Liverpool, is set to be named as Everton's new manager this week after agreeing key aspects of his contract with the club.

He will become the Toffees' fifth permanent manager in as many years and will replace Carlo Ancelotti, who left Goodison Park to return to Real Madrid earlier this month.

Everton are understood to have considered up to eight candidates before deciding on Benitez, who left his post as Dalian Yifang head coach earlier this year.

Allardyce: Everton fans will like Benitez if he wins

Sam Allardyce and Rafa Benitez

Sam Allardyce believes Benitez can appease any Everton fans unhappy at his expected appointment simply by winning matches.

Allardyce, who lasted six months as Everton boss during the 2017/18 season, believes any ill feeling towards Benitez from supporters will subside if the team is successful on the pitch.

"The fans are on your side when you start winning, that is what it is all about," he told Sky Sports News.

"I'm sure there are a lot of Everton fans who are unhappy with the situation because of the rivalry with Liverpool. Rafa's track record is very good.

"You can talk about the style of football that you play, first it is winning and then winning and playing well is the ultimate goal.

"The style of football is talked about so much, it overshadows what is more important, winning matches and finishing up the league to match the expectation and money spent."

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