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LFC’s chips were fried down the East Lancs

Submitted by on January 8, 2012 – 11:08 amNo Comment

No one should be surprised that, following Liverpool FC’s insistence on Suarez’s innocence despite the player himself admitting to using racist terminology, one of their own supporters is now under suspicion of carrying out similar actions to those of Luis himself.

The example is set at the top and Kenny Dalglish’s brazen refusal to accept the findings of the FA’s thorough investigation and the arrogance with which the club has treated the game’s governing body is bound to have an effect on the supporters who follow the club.

Despite it undoubtedly not being their intention, through their ill-thought out approach LFC could be construed by some to have condoned the use of racially discriminatory terms.

Dalglish is as close to a saint to Liverpool’s followers as you will find beyond Shankly and his abhorrent behaviour no doubt has the backing of the majority of those paying customers, for whom a siege mentality and ‘us against the rest’ attitude is second nature. Dalglish receives the ultimate in blind loyalty from Liverpudlians.

The poor example set by Dalglish and those above him in the hierarchy has filtered down to the terraces and this unfortunately highlights a severe lack of judgement and leads the neutral to question why Liverpool continue to behave in this way.

To many observers the Suarez case was cut and dried the minute he admitted to calling Patrice Evra a ‘negro’ during their altercation. As the report stated, it was ‘incredible’ that the man would attempt to pass that off as a friendly gesture during a flashpoint.

For a club of Liverpool’s stature, and one so precious about how the rest of the world views them (a trait they share with many residents of the city), their lack of class has been particularly surprising. Had the previous owners still been in charge of the club, we would surely have seen them apologise for Suarez’s behaviour after the findings were released and the nasty wound caused by the issue could have been allowed to begin the long healing process.

Liverpool have every right to suffer a persecution complex following the disgraceful unwillingness of authorities to take responsibility for the numerous mistakes and oversights that led to the loss of 96 lives at Hillsborough in 1989 and the city itself has received a poor deal from governments for seemingly decades.

However, this issue was not about the FA seeking to do Liverpool FC damage. It was about investigating an accusation against a player for a serious offence, that had it happened on the street could have seen their much-loved number seven in court. Upon reading the report, it is impossible not to feel that Suarez’s punishment was in fact very lenient in the circumstances. You also have to question how on earth the club, particularly Dalglish, has managed to get away without a disrepute charge landing on the doorstep.

LFC’s strange stance seems at odds with much of what the club has stood for in the past. It actually leaves you wondering if there is indeed more to it.

As many people have done over the past few weeks, I have thought long and hard about this and I can’t get beyond the theory that it has something to do with Manchester United Football Club.

The leaked story that suggested some figures at the Anfield club were keen on ‘peace talks’ prior to the next clash between the land’s two most famous names came as a weird surprise to many.

I cannot help but fear that Liverpool’s behaviour is born out of their rivalry and dislike of United and not the non-existent injustice Dalglish would have us all searching for.

It has been seen by many Merseyside reds as a Suarez v Evra battle and therefore a scrap between the two clubs to see who is right and who is wrong. It has been treated as a Liverpool versus Manchester United grudge match in some quarters. I think a refusal to back down by admitting wrongdoing may be explained against the backdrop of this rivalry.

Dalglish does not want to lose face to his great rival Ferguson and the American owners of Liverpool will not want to be seen to back down to their opposite numbers at Old Trafford (or in Tampa, to be precise).

Add into the mix the fall from grace that LFC has suffered in recent years, which now arguably sees them holding a position outside of the very top tier of English football, and you can almost see the hairs on the inside of Kenny’s nose bristling.

On a petty level the Manchester United staff and boardroom are now more bothered, concerned and worried about the threat posed by their blue neighbours rather than their old adversaries down the East Lancs Road and that will also rankle within Anfield’s bootroom and beyond. There’s only one thing worse than being hated and that is no longer being noticed. Had the player making the accusation been from any other club, would Liverpool have behaved so pig-headedly?

It is only a theory, admittedly, but it may explain away the contradictory actions of a proud club. The saddest part of this affair would be if the whole debacle has damaged the message that racism has no place in football or any part of society. If just one player is discouraged from making a complaint in future when they have been insulted by an opponent, or if just one fan thinks they can get away with abusing a black player, then the real loser in all this is the game we profess to love so much. Is rivalry worth that?

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