Police are investigating a “threatening” banner which was apparently aimed at Rafael Benitez and hung close to the Spaniard’s Merseyside home.
An image shared on social media showed a white sheet with the words ‘We know where you live. Don’t sign’ – referring to Benitez’s possible appointment as the new boss of Everton.
There has been considerable opposition among some Everton supporters to the possibility of Benitez becoming Carlo Ancelotti’s successor at Goodison Park.
The banner was said to have been hung over a garden wall in the former Liverpool manager’s home village of Caldy – but police said it had been left outside the wrong property.
The 61-year-old won the Champions League and FA Cup with Liverpool in 2005 and 2006.
As Liverpool boss, he further angered Everton fans with his “small club” jibe following a 2007 Merseyside derby, although Benitez has since said he was referring to the Toffees’ mentality in the game.
“We can confirm police are investigating reports of a threatening banner at a location in Caldy today, Monday 28 June,” Merseyside Police said in a statement.
“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.”
Offensive banners have previously been left near Everton’s Goodison Park stadium.
“This message has understandably caused some distress and worry for residents in the area,” said Detective Inspector Darren Taylor.
“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.
“If anyone has information about who produced the banner or helped to put it up, please let us know as soon as possible.”
Another former Everton manager Sam Allardyce faced a significant level of opposition when he took over from Ronald Koeman in November 2017.
“I have seen there are a lot of Everton fans unhappy about the situation because of the rivalry between the two clubs,” he told Sky Sports.
“The fans are on your side when you start winning, that is what it is all about.
“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.”