One Missed Handshake Leads to A Multitude of Apologies
Today will I hope go down in the history of Liverpool Football Club as the day when everyone, suddenly and finally came to their senses. We have as you all know been embroiled in a situation that from the moment it happened has turned football supporter against football supporter because of our differing views about the original incident.
It has also caused the media to be vilified for simply doing what they do and that is of course to report things as they happen. Yes they have sometimes got things wrong, yes they have sometimes used the wrong headlines and the wrong pictures but that is part and parcel of the job and it will happen no matter what the subject or what the story is.
What you have to remember is that without the media whether it be online or in the case of the newspapers in their paper editions, without them we would not get the news as fast as we do. Today was a prime example of how everyone works together and gets the news that we have been waiting for since October into the public domain as soon as possible.
What brought the sudden turn of events into our lives started last Wednesday, when it was made known that Luis Suarez would shake Patrice Evra's hand during the obligatory handshake that marks the beginning of every game in the Premiership. It was also due to take place at Old Trafford and would be Luis Suarez's second game after the completion of his eight match ban for racially abusing Evra. Everything had been done to ensure that any pressure that had been building up between the two rivals was stopped before it happened and everyone from both clubs, the media and the two sets of supporters hoped to watch yet another great match in the on-going saga that is Liverpool v Manchester United.
But as always happens, these things never go to plan and with everyone watching him, Luis Suarez made his way down the line of Manchester United players. He reached Patrice Evra and completely ignored him, and went onto shake David De Gea's hand. A can of worms had now been opened and ruined what could have been a wonderful afternoon.
The match suddenly lost its importance and with the spotlight now on Luis Suarez once again, the recriminations and the hatred that was turning supporter against supporter began again. It also led his manager Kenny Dalglish making a fool of himself on television because he was aware of the true facts. Now I don't know what the sensible ones amongst you felt, but I was sitting there in tears. I could not believe how low the club had fallen because of one man, a man who Kenny trusted and who now ensured that he looked as absolute idiot.
I myself was sent more than fifty different photographs and video clips of what happened, by people trying to ensure that the blame fell on Evra. A blame that I was unsure about until I watched the BBC clips this morning. It was there as plain as day that Suarez had refused his hand and something needed to be done and done fast.
What I did not know was that an article had been printed overnight in the New York Times regarding the issue and I am very grateful to the lads at the Mirror for passing it onto me. That article though and once I have yet read in the Boston Globe indicated that John Henry was showing any of his leadership qualities where Liverpool Football Club are concerned and people were starting to ask questions about the damage to the brand which is Liverpool Football Club. This would have irked any major company owner and I suspect suddenly realisation took hold and John Henry felt that something had to be done.
The situation here overnight had not improved and the usual idiots were having a field day on twitter. It did not matter how many times you tried to reason with them, they were not having it. Evra was wrong, their hero was right - even though by now the evidence from the BBC was there for everyone to view, they were having none it.
Little did everyone know, that things were happening behind the scenes and shortly after 2 p.m. this afternoon, a statement from Luis Suarez appeared on the LFC TV website. These are his only words and I really hope that they are heartfelt and meant after all he has let not only his club down, but his manager and us the supporters as well.
"I have spoken with the manager since the game at Old Trafford and I realise I got things wrong.
"I've not only let him down, but also the Club and what it stands for and I'm sorry. I made a mistake and I regret what happened.
"I should have shaken Patrice Evra's hand before the game and I want to apologise for my actions.
"I would like to put this whole issue behind me and concentrate on playing football."
Two further statements followed, one from Managing Director Ian Ayre and one from Kenny himself.
"We are extremely disappointed Luis Suarez did not shake hands with Patrice Evra before yesterday's game. The player had told us beforehand that he would, but then chose not to do so.
"He was wrong to mislead us and wrong not to offer his hand to Patrice Evra. He has not only let himself down, but also Kenny Dalglish, his teammates and the Club. It has been made absolutely clear to Luis Suarez that his behaviour was not acceptable.
"Luis Suarez has now apologised for his actions which was the right thing to do. However, all of us have a duty to behave in a responsible manner and we hope that he now understands what is expected of anyone representing Liverpool Football Club
Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish today insisted Luis Suarez is right to apologise for failing to shake Patrice Evra's hand at Old Trafford.
"Ian Ayre has made the Club's position absolutely clear and it is right that Luis Suarez has now apologised for what happened at Old Trafford," said Dalglish.
"To be honest, I was shocked to hear that the player had not shaken hands having been told earlier in the week that he would do.
"But as Ian said earlier, all of us have a responsibility to represent this Club in a fit and proper manner and that applies equally to me as Liverpool manager.
"When I went on TV after yesterday's game I hadn't seen what had happened, but I did not conduct myself in a way befitting of a Liverpool manager during that interview and I'd like to apologise for that."
Now I hope that I never have to read another statement from Kenny like the one above. The interview was horrible to watch as I have said and it is totally unacceptable for a player to cause his manager so much grief.
Now because of what has happened since October Luis Suarez has added to the baggage that he brought with him to Liverpool and the Premier League. Baggage, that in my mind makes him a liability to the club. A liability I am sure that they are aware off and I honestly wonder what will happen as the season draws to its end.
If he can steer clear of trouble and believe me it is a big IF, then yes let him continue his career in the premiership, if not, then as much as it hurts me to say it, it may be better for all the parties concerned to sell him on. He may also feel that, a life away from England is better for him and his family.
For the time being though, it is now time to draw a line under the whole horrible episode and get back to what we all love - the football. We have after all two very big cup games coming up, one of which could see our first trophy in the cabinet for several years.