Two things are blatantly obvious:
The FA report on the Suarez Evra affair and it’s findings and conclusions is the first. Secondly, is a Manchester United site like The Faithful calling out LFC after such a report is read and digested.
It is fair to say we are all a bit sick of the whole charade now, but a serious charge was and has been answered, and depending on your stance on whether your football club or morals come first..it was important that the right outcome was made by a Football Association that has got so much wrong in previous times. It was a decision about protecting the future of the game on these English shores, and not a decision to stain the name of one of our famous football clubs…as much as mindless, less intelligent fans wished it to be. There was an air of inevitability of how Liverpool fans reacted after the ban had been announced…but the stance of Dalglish and his players was more insulting to a black footballer than it was backing a fellow club employee. It damaged the fabric which stitches the history of Liverpool together. It was a dangerous game to play when the findings of the report had yet to be published. And now the egg that resides on their faces will need more than just a scrub and a wash to fully clean up.
As a United fan, I really dont care two hoots what Kenny Dalglish has to say about my club. In the same way im sure Scousers care not for Ferguson’s words, our ‘Nineteen times’ chants or T Shirts declaring which ship has never docked in Liverpool (The PremierSHIP of course) …most of this tit-for-tat banter is normal in the game. Managers, including our own knighted one, generally lie in their press conferences. They will say anything to spin the coin in their favour. Some try harder than others to do this (Remember Rafa and his ‘FACT’ speech?) but the point is the protection of the club comes first.
However, exceptional circumstances require a shift in tact.
Dalglish tried to play the old skool game. ‘I am the manager and I wont turn against my player no matter what’….Again…many expected this including myself. What I didn’t expect though is the depths this would sink to. On announcement by the FA of the Suarez eight match ban it was expected Liverpool would release a strong statement in favour of their player…but no one expected a statement defaming Evra and making wild claims as to why their footballer could not possibly be guilty of racist language. When I read that statement I felt sick. Not for obvious Manchester United reasons. But because a great football club steeped in tradition and fighting for justice of its own, was willing to sacrifice that all for a Uruguayan chap who thought he would be clever and try to provoke a black footballer in a bout of unacceptable gamesmanship. It was more important to retain the services of Suarez during the eight matches he will rightfully miss than it was to uphold the values all Red Scousers claim to hold dear in accordance to their five times European champions football club.
I believe Dalglish was the driving force behind this diabolical decision. His press conferences before the FA ban announcement were a joke. Little smirks behind his comments of Liverpool’s stead fast position behind the player. It made me want to scream at my TV set. How dare he trivialize such a matter as racism on our English football pitches. Who the hell did he think he was? And then to follow this with a tweet defending Suarez, with the tag line ‘This is the time when Luis needs our full support. Let’s not let him walk alone. KD’…like Suarez was a murderer walking on death row needing absolution, prayer and justice…well it just stank. Follow this up with the biggest T-shirt incident in English football history, where the whole squad wore Suarez Free The Merseyside One emblazoned across their hearts…I just felt really embarrassed for them all.
Liverpool has rightfully taken the stance that they will ‘digest’ the findings of the report now it has been made public..and Kenny Dalglish has not yet put another tweet to his name since that day of the 20th December. I can not believe for one second that the LFC owners would have sanctioned such statements of intent that were based on a ‘them against us’ football bravado that has no place when tackling the issue of racism. Now it has been proven that Suarez said “I kicked you because you are black” and “I don’t talk to blacks” directly to Evra, and that Patrice took the correct line of recourse by reporting it immediately to the referee and the authorities afterwards rather than smashing Suarez’s teeth down his insipid throat (as our King Eric no doubt would have) …it is only correct and proper that Dalglish issues a full apologetic retraction on his stance on the matter.
No one is asking him to send Suarez to hell. No one is asking the Liverpool players to not be his friend going forward. But as I stated before with former Manchester United manager Ron Atkinson…if you do the crime, then you must do the time. This is not reflective of a normal matter on a football pitch, where you can defend a late tackle, or even an elbow in the face. This isnt similar in matter to defending a Scouser like Michael Shields of whether he received justice or not, and it is not the same as trying to claim justice for the Hillsborough dead. Dalglish and LFC need to understand their position on this as a whole…and how it effects the young kids kicking a ball around football pitches on Merseyside. How those kids wearing Suarez shirts need to understand what conduct is and is not acceptable in our beautiful game. They are the custodians of what is right and wrong for Liverpool fans around the globe, and they must responsibly play their part in the continued fight none of us must take our eye off. Because before you know it the modern day equivalents of John Barnes will be having bananas thrown at them again.
Im sure Patrice and MUFC will be reviewing their legal options after what has been done and said, after a constructive campaign to ruin Evra’s name. How dare a black man object to racism!..he’s got form for all this hasn’t he!? But I hope that Dalglish and company will see the error in their judgement, which understandably was fuelled to protect one of their own, but turned into a crushing damnation of respect many people ever had for the man or the club.
So if King Kenny wants his crown back, he knows what needs to be done.