Liverpool As Bad As Blatter Over Suárez Support Says Manchester United Fan

Rather than measured Shankly-style support, Liverpool's public outcry at Luis Suárez's charge has demeaned English football's attitude towards racism.
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Rather than measured Shankly-style support, Liverpool's public outcry at Luis Suárez's charge has demeaned English football's attitude towards racism.

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Backed to the hilt followinghis eight-match racism charge, Luis Suárez's colleagues at Liverpool have begun to mirror the reprehensible Sepp Blatter.

It was Bill Shankly who succinctly summarised the legendary ‘This is Anfield’ plaque, stressing that it reminded ‘our lads who they're playing for, and to remind the opposition who they're playing against.' The aura and history seeping from three simple words has sustained despite the club’s decline since Kenny Dalglish resigned in 1991, but now so the ethos have followed suit this past week.

The Liverpool Way entails assurances that those affiliated with the club, irrespective of their role, will never walk alone. Followers support and stand by one another on the pitch and off it – even past the point of no return (unless you are Roy Hodgson). But now it’s a different kind of Liverpool Way, thanks to Dalglish. One which tramples on the legacy of Shankly through blinkered ideals, paranoia and conspiracy theories.

Standing by Luis Suárez came as no surprise, and Liverpool were entitled to support their player charged with racism, but they would have done well to keep calm and carry on. But instead of dragging on a cigarette to subside the anger at the Uruguayan’s eight-match ban and £40,000 fine, they compiled that statement which was so skewered that no one need list the individual errors.

When rumour spread that the players would be wearing T-shirts in support of Suárez at Wigan Athletic, it rendered a previously benign gesture opted for by numerous clubs crass. Players who had suffered serious injuries or had even died were paid tribute to via this method, not footballers found guilty of racism.

How cringing it was to see that Dalglish had changed out of his tracksuit to don just the shirt for a post-match interview, looking like a market stall voyeur. For a man accused of being caught in a time warp with his views on tackling, ‘protection’ and refereeing, he continues to hit 88mph often and we are seeing some serious s**t.

Talking s**t too is John Barnes, a man whose views are worse than his management. On Suárez, he commented: ‘When Manchester United play Liverpool and 10,000 United fans are saying “you Scouse thieves”, I'd like them all to be banned.’ Sounding like a nu-fan who is reliably unreliable (it’s ‘you Scouse b******s’), he appears to be condemning tribalism as worse than racism. Can anyone take him seriously after he said the following about clairvoyant extraordinaire Paul the Octopus?

Players have been banned for longer than Suárez for violently reacting to racism.

‘Paul the Octopus is undoubtedly one of the biggest names in football so news of him becoming an official England 2018 Ambassador is tremendous for the Back the Bid campaign.’ There’s PR (public relations) and there’s RP (royal p**t).

When Evra accused Suárez he was in turn accused of playing the race card for a third time by Kristian Walsh, Liverpool’s official website columnist. There were two previous incidents but Evra was not the accuser in either.

In 2006 a deaf fan claimed that they lip read Steve Finnan mouth a racial slur, but Evra declined to pursue the matter. And, more memorably, in 2008 the Frenchman was involved in a confrontation with Chelsea groundsman Tony Bethell after a defeat at Stamford Bridge. Mike Phelan and Richard Hattis, coaching staff members at United, claimed they heard such abuse, not Evra.

Outraged at a perceived witch hunt and trial by media Suárez is now subjected to, the irony oblivious to those on Merseyside is that their club had instigated one against a United player, borne out of rivalry. Ex-Liverpool defender Gary Gillespie also said in November that, ‘I think he (Suárez) is totally innocent, 100 per cent. If anyone’s guilty, I think it’s Evra for over-elaborating the story and exaggerating.’ This was when others reserved judgement when nothing was clear.

Players have been banned for longer than Suárez for violently reacting to racism too. Paul Davis was the first victim of video evidence when he received a nine-match ban having broken Glen Cockerill’s jaw in 1988, allegedly due to being taunted about his ethnicity. Eric Cantona was banned for eight months in 1995 for literally kicking racism out of football at Selhurst Park when Matthew Simmons screamed, ‘You French b*****d. F*** off back to France, you mother f***er.’ He was also told to complete 120 hours of community service.

Sepp Blatter was correctly condemned in this country for his breathtaking ignorance towards racism in football. Now, one of Britain’s greatest clubs is impersonating him as a collective. From their insular bubble, Liverpool are painting a player charged with racism as the victim, when they would do well to obey Shankly’s in-house policy. Like Blatter, they are tarred with the same brush, having smeared it on all over themselves. Chelsea have been warned.

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