Blackwell has sympathy over 'betrayal of Benitez'

Liverpool and Luton Town may be separated by 61 places in the League structure, but when their respective managers look across at each other from the dug-outs during tonight's FA Cup third round replay at Anfield, they will recognise something in common. Both men know what it is to be betrayed.

Kevin Blackwell has already served notice of his intent to quit as Luton manager on 9 February following the administrator's unilateral decision to sell off five of his players last week. Having discovered the club's financial plight after being lured to Kenilworth Road last March on the promise of big investment and a new stadium, Blackwell now feels, in his own phrase, that he has had the rug pulled from under his feet not once, but twice.

But as he looked ahead to a match where extraordinary circumstances may yet deprive him of other key players – three were actively discussing transfers with other clubs as he spoke yesterday – Blackwell was swift to sympathise with his opposite number in the wake of reports that Liverpool's owner, Tom Hicks, had admitted to holding a secret meeting in November with the former Germany manager, Jürgen Klinsmann, who had been widely tipped as a possible successor to Rafael Benitez before taking up a post last week at Bayern Munich.

"If those reports are accurate, Rafa is a dead man walking, and I don't think he will like that feeling," Blackwell said. "The game of football at the moment, for me, has lost all credibility in how the business of the game should be run. When you think of what Rafa has done for Liverpool, it seems incredible to me that someone has had the cheek to go behind his back and speak to someone else about his job. It's a disgrace. If you have the morals of alleycats in the boardroom, how can you expect players to be the virtuous role models we expect them to be on and off the pitch?"

Blackwell, meanwhile, admits that he cannot be sure who he will have available tonight, and accepts he faces the possibility of a player pulling out on the eve of the match in case an injury should jeopardise his chance of a move, especially as his squad have only been paid for two of the last 10 weeks.

"Someone might come up to me an hour before the kick off and say they didn't want to risk it," Blackwell said. "I would be deeply disappointed at that stage, that's for sure, but I would understand it. The players are frustrated they have seen people moving before we felt they needed to. We felt that we were all in this together and we wanted to stick together.

"This was all part and parcel of why I decided to leave. It's difficult enough to manage a club without having hand grenades thrown in when you don't need them."

Blackwell, who has previous experience of steering a club through financial crisis having managed Leeds United when they went into administration and guided them onwards to a play-off final, was utterly frustrated at the timing of last week's sales, having secured what he thought was an agreement with the administrators to hold off from such action until after the Liverpool replay, when a decision is expected on whether one of what are believed to be three bids for the club would be acceptable.

"I felt that having a match live on Sky TV would be a great opportunity for us to show our wares to the biggest possible audience," Blackwell said. "And if any bidders were to be confirmed, they might want to have a full squad still at the club.

"If no bid was confirmed, we were all ready to do everything we could to help the club sell to keep it afloat financially until the end of the season. The sales happened just after we had pulled in another half a million from the first Liverpool game that had never been part of the calculations. We spoke to the administrators, and we thought we had a strong strategy in place. So to see that blown away within 24 hours ... to the day I die I will not believe when and how it was done. It just made no sense."

Blackwell would not be drawn on whether he might yet stay at Luton if a new owner – and TV personality Nick Owen might yet be that person – asked him to do so. But he feels his CV holds up well, especially as he has stayed to do his bit without getting wages himself, donating the last of his payments to the club's YTS players.

"I've tried to show honour," he said. Something of a rarity, it would appear.

Arts and Entertainment
arts + entsWith one of the best comic roles around, it's no wonder she rarely bothers with films
News
people
News
i100
News
Davis says: 'My career has been about filling a niche - there were fewer short actors and fewer roles – but now I'm being offered all kinds of things'
PeopleWarwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
A Russian hunter at the Medved bear-hunting lodge in Siberia
Save the tigerWildlife charities turn to those who kill animals to help save them
Sport
Frank Lampard will pass Billy Wright and equal Bobby Charton’s caps tally of 106 caps against
sportFormer Chelsea midfielder in Etihad stopgap before New York contract
News
i100
Sport
Usain Bolt of Jamaica smiles and shakes hands with a competitor after Jamaica won their first heat in the men's 4x100m relay
sport
News
Chancellor George Osborne, along with the Prime Minister, have been 'complacently claiming the economy is now fixed', according to shadow Chancellor Ed Balls
i100... which is awkward, because he is their boss, after all
Arts and Entertainment
The first film introduced Daniel Radcliffe to our screens, pictured here as he prepares to board the train to Hogwarts for the first time.
booksHow reading Harry Potter helps children grow up to be gay-friendly
Life and Style
A small bag of the drug Ecstasy
Health
News
i100
Life and Style
Floral-print swim shorts, £26, by Topman, topman.com; sunglasses, £215, by Paul Smith, mpaulsmith.co.uk
FashionBag yourself the perfect pair
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Save the Tiger: Meet the hunters tasked with protecting Russia's rare Amur tiger

Hunters protect Russia's rare Amur tiger

In an unusual move, wildlife charities have enlisted those who kill animals to help save them. Oliver Poole travels to Siberia to investigate
Transfers: How has your club fared in summer sales?

How has your club fared in summer sales?

Who have bagged the bargain buys and who have landed the giant turkeys
Warwick Davis: The British actor on Ricky Gervais, how the Harry Potter set became his office, and why he'd like to play a spy

'I'm a realist; I know how hard this business is'

Warwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
The best swim shorts for men: Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer

The best swim shorts for men

Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer
Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Meet the couple blamed for bringing Lucifer into local politics
Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup