Liverpool and Manchester United clashes are now compared to wars, or warring countries, as the constant demand for peace, from both sides, mostly due to the events that led to Luis Suarez getting banned for his racial abuse of Patrice Evra, and the way Kenny Dalglish, the Liverpool players and the club have handled the aftermath of the incident.
Alex Ferguson had his usual go at the club he hates more than anything by saying they should have apologized directly to him and not through the media, which makes sense to some and none at all to others, saying it was just another opportunity for Sir Alex to have a go at Dalglish’s club.
Now it’s Steven Gerrard pleading fans to restrain themselves from any violent action or behavior off the pitch, before and after the match. I have a theory that if you tell fans not to do something it’ll only give some of the more extreme ones ideas about what they SHOULD do, but that’s only a theory.
The whole discussion of peace talks is weird. In sports, and especially in football, great rivalries always have more than whatever goes on the pitch. Political rivalries, religious rivalries, social-economic differences and the rest. Making big football games into some tranquil environment takes the edge off, which makes these games so tense and great.
We all have a responsibility to ensure this game is remembered for the football. Liverpool and Manchester United is a massive rivalry and there is going to be stuff in the newspapers and banter between fans. But it would be fantastic if it is remembered for being a top game and, from our point of view, a Liverpool win. We don’t want any front-page stories from this game or any stories which are not about a football match between two top sides – and may the best team win.
I’m not calling for violence, but hatred, although being a strong word, brings the best of atmospheres many a times. I’m not talking about hooliganism or racially abusing opposing players. I’m talking about fans creating better atmospheres when there’s more on the line, and there’s more animosity between the rivals.
It’s all about keeping it in line, and crossing it. Peace talks? Too much, or at least it sounds too heavy. Sterilizing the game and its fans isn’t the answer.