I’m a sucker for feuds, long going ones between players. If both Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra stay put for at least a couple of more seasons at Liverpool and Manchester United, we’ll be getting plenty of more fireworks in the upcoming United and Liverpool matches, who were never exactly a calm fixture anyway.
So instead of defusing a situation, Suarez went out and boiled up everybody’s blood by refusing to shake hands with Patrice Evra. He took the childish way of handling the situation, which just made the match and the atmosphere more intense. I, for one, loved it.
I was actually surprised there were no red cards given out, but that was probably because Evra missed a potentially strong challenge on Suarez by colliding into Rio Ferdinand. He got his revenge simply by winning, and celebrating right in the face of Suarez. Classy? Probably not. Personally vindicating for Evra? Probably.
In general, I blame the FA for the whole escalation of the situation. They handled the complain horribly, taking too long with their decision and did not use any evidence but just relied on word to mouth pretty much, deciding on the wrong and too long punishment for Suarez. The way Liverpool defended their player was too much for a lot of people around, and the fantastic spark for Alex Ferguson to pounce on.
Kenny Dalglish did his thing too, by keeping the subject in the headlines while Liverpool’s form was dipping while playing in the league and diverting the media attention to Suarez’ ban while his team looked terrible on the pitch most of the time.
The police confiscating the United fanzine for showing a Klu Klux Klan depiction of Liverpool just goes to show how far this thing has gone. It’s easy to blame Suarez for being a racist and ending the discussion at that, but the truth is a bit different, and deeper, and just blaming it on a player who found himself way in over his head is simply wrong.