So the racists have won.
Evra is absent against Liverpool. The clowns who advocate the words of Luis Suarez have a good laugh. Manchester United go crashing out the cup. Isnt football just a bag of tripe?
There are many reasons why Patrice Evra should or should not play in this weekend’s FA Cup tie at the home of the most disgraced football club of this season. The defiant will tell you HE HAS TO PLAY. They will tell you that we can’t let them gain an advantage from all this. That what stand would it be against racism if Evra was to step aside for this tie? They will then tell you with a veiled smile that the Scousers will cut their own throats. About the opportunity for them to look like idiots and vile racists…and we can stand back with glee as the world condemns Liverpool Football Club. The opportunity to help destroy their reputation is greater than protecting the man himself. A man whose welfare should be greater than this specifically pathetic tribalism that has been caused by this whole Luis Suarez affair. The minute you use the history between the two cities is the minute you have lost sight of what this is all about.
For me, football is secondary when it comes to this matter. It’s not about winning games. It’s not about sticking one up your oldest rival. The matter in hand is the protection of a man. That his welfare…his mental state…and to an extent his physical protection…are of paramount importance this Saturday. What is actually going to happen? Who knows. But as the wounds are still so sore and filled with salt, it would be prudent not to tempt fate. We love to react in this country. We see something…we have a go. We gob. We shout. We tweet. We all do it. But then there is a percentage of us that will go too far (and I include United fans in this) There is no doubt in my mind that if Patrice Evra plays on the weekend, he will be subjected to some form of racism from the crowd. It could just be a simple racist shout from a scouse fan near the ball for a throw-in that Pat takes. It could be a host of monkey chants. It could be something even more audible. This on its own is NOT the reason why Evra should not play.
The reason is to take Evra out of the firing line for his own benefit, deferring the advantage he gives Manchester United in playing. We should think about the greater good of the game, and not about watching Liverpool swim in their own filth.
I totally understand why some want Evra to play, but it is all tabloid reasoning to me. It is wrong to allow Pat on that pitch to be some sort of possible sacrificial lamb, just so we can see an Anfield travesty at his expense. It’s a simple game of Poker. If your hand is poor, you can give the eyes…and bluff. You can pretend it’s all ok and that you are ready for war. But your other option is simple. You fold on this occassion, and save yourself for another day. It’s not a defeat. It’s called being prudent. Football and Poker are obviously two very different games, but on this occasion the rules of engagement have a mirrored effect. Evra may be a footballing loss to United, but it is the right thing to do for his benefit…whether he wants to play or not.
Football is theatre, but what Evra has been through is not. We expect our highly paid footballers to take everything on the chin, man up…and put in a shift no matter. We want them to run through brick walls. To show their teeth like Dobermanns at the fence. But when it comes down to their welfare we don’t really give a monkeys. Not many United fans are considering Evra’s underlying mental state. About the possibility of stepping out on that pitch after this traumatic episode. Yeah he gets paid tons so he should be alright. right? Wrong. He is a man. He is human. And he is susceptible to all the rubbish that all of we are. The right thing is to remove him from ANY situation after this unfortunate soap opera that LFC have created.
Damn Liverpool for what they have done. The way they have conducted themselves. But let us not damn our own. Let us not let Evra walk the tightrope strapped across the whole of Merseyside, with only the hard concrete below to catch him if he falls……just in case he loses his balance in a worse-case scenerio.
This is not a time to be bombastic. This is not a time to be naive. Common sense must prevail.
Patrice Evra – We wont let you walk alone.