There comes a time in life when you have to give up what you’re fighting for and just move on. Over the past few months Liverpool Football Club have (rightly in my opinion) dug their heels in and not bowed to the conformity of the journalists who seem to think they run the English game.
However, at lunch time on Sunday three statements appeared on the clubs official website, one from Luis Suarez, one from manager Kenny Dalglish and one from managing director Ian Ayre each with the intention of drawing a line under Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra racism row, which took on a new twist on Saturday when Suarez refused to shake the Frenchman’s hand when the two teams met at Old Trafford.
Since Suarez was charged by the FA in the middle of November, Liverpool Football Club and especially Kenny Dalglish have been quite unanimous in their support for the Uruguayan and they have categorically denied that he did not do anything wrong. The support that was given to Suarez was something that every footballer would dream of receiving off their club. However, whilst Dalglish was defending his player, more and more journalists tried to gain their pound of flesh.
The pressure began to build, every inch of every sports column in every newspaper was vindictive of Suarez, the term ‘innocent until proven guilty’ didn’t seem to be in anyones vocabulary, he was guilty in the eyes of everyone and nobody seemed to care that there was a mass character assassination taking place. Once more, nobody even seemed to care about about sides to the story. There was no sympathy for Suarez at all, no consideration of the fact that he may infact have been the victim and even more alarmingly, there seemed to be no indication that anyone would be prepared to give him a second chance if he was a guilty man.
It is because of this brinkmanship that led to LFC taking such a stand. And it is because of this stand that has led to ludicrous claims that the manager, players and fans are supporting racism, which is not true. It seems as though most people are unprepared to go into the facts and just want to be spoon-fed information by people with agendas. Liverpool were not defending racism, they were defending their player because they believed he was innocent, which is totally different to what was perceived by everyone who had no connection with the club.
All of this led to Luis Suarez refusing the hand of Evra at Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon. During the week, Kenny Dalglish told the waiting press that Suarez had given him his word that he would shake the Frenchman’s hand. All seemed well but as the game loomed, most people feared that the match wouldn’t be remembered for the football being played but rather for an incident that would overshadow the fixture. And that is what happened.
It is Suarez’s decision on whether he wants to shake hands with the man who accused him of being a racist. However, once he hinted to his manager that he was going to partake in the act, he really should have kept his word. This forced his manager into a corner on Saturday when being interviewed.
Then, at Sunday lunch time, three statements were released on the clubs website with an attempt to throw water over the massive fire that just seemed to be enlarging with every passing day. There was no reaction to Alex Fergusons disgraceful comments after the match when he said Suarez should never play for Liverpool again and there was no reaction to Evra’s post match celebration. There were just 3 statements stating that LFC were sorry for what happened at Old Trafford.
Since then, there have been suggestions that the clubs American Owners have stepped in and decided to take a different approach. Regardless of whether it was Kenny Dalglish, Ian Ayre or Tom Werner and John W Henry who decided to put a stop to this sorry affair, I remain convinced that it was the correct decision. In an ideal world, Liverpool Football Club would want nothing more to carry on the fight and take on every Tom, Dick and Harry who thought it was wise to lay the boot into the club in the past four months. But, where else could the club have gone? There was no other road to go down, the situation was overshadowing everything, and even their first trip to the New Wembley in two weeks would have been overshadowed by it. It was time to put the focus on what the club is famous for.
The best way LFC and Luis Suarez can make these headlines go away is make sure that two pieces of silverware are resting in L4 come May. It is the only way, time will heal this situation and in six months nobody will be even talking about this. This could be because Suarez will have moved on to pastures new or purely because he has answered his critics in the right manner. Either way, it was imperative that this saga ends, because nobody on both sides of the debate has come out smelling of roses.
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