Eats, Shoots and Leaves?

By , Posted on 28th December 2013 - Posted in: Football News, News

We football fans are a hypocritical bunch, perhaps more so than any other demographic on planet earth. We call for the head of our team’s manager on the back of a few defeats, yet sing his praises as the greatest when the team are on a winning run. A referee can be both a buffoon and a decent guy, depending on which way he gives any particular decision. We’re capable of shamelessly professing players to be brilliant or garbage, often in the same game. And so on it goes, with examples too numerous to list.

Branislav-Ivanovic-talks-with-Luis-Suarez

Liverpool’s Luis Suarez is a man able to put fans at either extreme in this respect. He’s pure Marmite. Most of us either love him or hate him, but for Liverpool fans, it’s possible to do both. On two occasions last season Suarez fell foul of the governing bodies for gross misdemeanours on the pitch. The first, an ugly race row involving Manchester United’s Patrice Evra, resulted in an eight game ban. The second, a more bizarre incident, involved Suarez trying to bite a chunk out of the arm of Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovich, an action he was given a ten game ban for. The latter incident was a mirror of an offence he’d committed with previous club Ajax for which he was serving a ban when he signed for the Reds in January 2012.

Liverpool fans, already forced into familiar though uncomfortable hypocrite territory by Suarez’s burgeoning rap sheet were required to perform feats of extreme contortion to defend their man in the wake of Ivanovich-gate. It’s not that biting another player was worse than racism, it was simply that their hero had transgressed yet again, big time, and it was all becoming too embarrassing. Nor was anything being lost in translation. In little over a year and a half Suarez had irritated most of the nation with his antics, amassed over 20 games worth of bans – more than half a league season, and had earned the hatred of virtually every fan of every other Premier League club. Some going. Defending your man was one thing but when were the Kopites going to see Luis Suarez for what he truly was?

Well, some of them did. There were plenty of Liverpudlians who threw their hands in the air and gave it up, at least for a short time. With Suarez himself agitating for a move away from the club during the summer a groundswell of opinion from the fans was that it was best for all concerned if the club cashed in, the player moved on, and everyone started again. He was, in short, more trouble than he was worth.

But manager Brendan Rodgers dug his heels in and decided Suarez was going nowhere. Another splendid example of casual hypocrisy of course given that Rodgers had spent a lot of time last season lecturing to journalists how important the ethical ‘Liverpool Way’ of doing things was to the club. Clearly though, your best players can kind of do what they like.

So now he’s back in favour and lo and behold he’s playing his football better than ever and scoring goals at a phenomenal rate. He even appears to have checked (temporarily at least) his outrageous behaviour. What to do? Well, support him of course. Get behind him because he’s one of the greatest players Liverpool have ever had, and that’s not a statement to make lightly. It seems for us footy fans, whoever we support, such mental gymnastics are par for the course. It’s a piece of cake.

Is Luis Suarez leaving Liverpool or not in the January transfer window? Signing a new contract at Anfield would suggest he’s not. What about next summer then, perhaps even before he helps eliminate England from the World Cup? Possibly. We all know contracts aren’t worth the paper they’re written on but much hinges on whether or not Liverpool can cling onto a top four place finish in the league. If Suarez does go he’d better get used to a hypocritical backlash from those who currently love him most. As for the supporters of the club he’ll join well they may well hate his guts at the moment, but really that’s no problem, no problem at all. As soon as he pulls on his new shirt, they’ll love him to bits.

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