Dalglish + Suarez = Liverpool disaster?

The Premier League is no stranger to controversy, over the years we have had plenty of heroes and villains as well as unsavoury situations both on and off the pitch, but what has happened at Liverpool over the Suarez incident is one episode that could top the lot. The drama reached its crescendo on Saturday as it climaxed in the ultimate show of disrespect from the convicted Luis Suarez as he refused to shake the hand of his victim Patrice Evra as Manchester United and Liverpool met in a fiery encounter at Old Trafford.

To make things worse, an unlikely villain in all of this, Kenny Dalglish, gave a poor post match interview in which he showed a total lack of respect and understanding of the situation in the face of some forward questioning from Sky Sports reporter Geoff Shreeves. The club finally reacted to both incidents and apologetic statements were issued. Now all is said and done, we can look back on this debacle as whole and see what it has meant to Liverpool Football Club.

You can try to rationalise and justify any situation, in the case of Suarez I have seen, watched and heard many people do it – a majority of whom were Liverpool fans. Typical arguments were the cultural significance of the comments Suarez made, that Evra abused Suarez first, the list goes on. Such defence of a clubs star player is expected, I mean Suarez was innocent until proven guilty and fans had every right to defend the player initially, as did the manager and the club. The ins and outs of the Suarez/Evra case do not concern me, Suarez was found guilty, Liverpool did not appeal the decision and therefore accepted the verdict as correct, it is Liverpool’s etiquette and conduct throughout that has been alarming.

Kenny Dalglish is a figurehead at Liverpool, a living legend and relic of past glories, because of this he is keen to rule the roost at Liverpool in a seemingly Fergie-esque way. Dalglish has had perhaps too much influence at Liverpool over the past few months. The men behind the scenes gave King Kenny free reign to express his thoughts and opinions, which retrospectively was a huge mistake, but could anyone stand up to such a club legend? The directors at Liverpool failed to control Dalglish early on and he was lost in the Suarez situation as it intensified.

Both Dalglish’s and Suarez’s seemingly unaided free speech was only bought under control after the weekend’s controversy as Suarez and Evra met again for the first time. Suarez not shaking the hand of Evra and Kenny Dalglish’s post match TV interview were the final straw for Liverpool as a business, they could no longer allow their products to damage their brands image further as the clubs management took some power back.

Liverpool, as a football team, has a worldwide reach and influence, the club have ploughed in millions of pounds to expand brand Liverpool globally and it is a work in progress. It is difficult to determine the impact of the Suarez case outside the UK, however Sunday’s incident will have been seen by a worldwide audience and therefore it is no surprise action from the directors at Liverpool was swiftly taken.

Liverpool have a culturally diverse fan base; every week you will see many supporters of different ethnic origins amongst the crowd at Anfield, it is the way it has been at Anfield for years. Worldwide, Liverpool are competing against the likes of Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham in recruiting supporters on a global basis and are ambassadors for the Premier League. The lack of on pitch success since the departure of Benitez only makes the recruitment drive harder; an incident around the issue of racism does little to help Liverpool’s global reputation. Liverpool, as a business, needs to thrive off the pitch to give the club to best opportunity of having success on it or they risk getting left behind.

In particular the actions of Suarez and Dalglish do not only have the potential to affect the club’s fan base and reputation, they are viewed dimly by the clubs commercial partners. Club sponsors Standard Chartered have publicly expressed their concerns over the weekend’s incidents. The clubs partners are vital sources of income when it comes to Liverpool’s business model, commercial partners want to associate with other companies/brands that have similar values and principles and will pay top dollar to be partners with the biggest and best clubs who reciprocate their brand values.

I am not saying that Liverpool should have encouraged Suarez to shake Evra’s hand for any reason, especially commerical ones, if he truly didn’t believe in doing so. The club’s media and PR teams should have taken better control of the situation in the early stages and so they could have had more control and in the interests of the bigger picture, further negativity towards the club could have been avoided. Kenny Dalglish said the situation was exaggerated because of the influence of media outlets such as Sky Sports News giving the story constant coverage. Dalglish is right to a certain extent, everything was blown out of proportion and glamourised to make a good story, but this shouldn’t be a surprise in this day and age. As well as Dalglish sending out a quite public ‘f*** you’ to Sky during his weekend interview (an organisation that supports Liverpool financially) creating more news, Dalglish and his team have constantly given Sky more ammo to fuel their coverage of the Suarez case further; the t-shirts defending Suarez are just one example of this.

The damage to Liverpool’s reputation and brand image globally is yet unknown, but the clubs ethics and integrity have been stained over the clubs inability to control the Suarez situation. For Liverpool it is now a case of damage limitation as their PR team finally starts to get control of the situation. The club need to shake the racism tag it has picked up over the last few months after incidents both on the pitch and in the stands from a minority.

This whole situation is one Liverpool will want to wash their hands off, there is no doubt Suarez’s statement is a standard response from the club’s press officer in the wake of a ticking off, rather than a heartfelt and sincere apology – just further damage limitation, with Suarez taking the rap and deflecting attention from the club. However this situation is played down by those at Liverpool, this is a big issue and will be highlighted further after the government decided to get involved. We must remember football is fickle game, everyone will move on, but you can guarantee that when you look back at this season it is the Suarez/Evra case and racism that will set the back drop to what has been a great football season as some stains take a long time to fade and be washed away altogether.

This entry was posted in Club Focus, Fans, Football Business, Football in Crisis, Managers, Premier League, Racism in Football. Bookmark the permalink.
Follow us now on Facebook and Twitter for exclusive content and rewards!

We want to hear what you have to say, but we don't want comments that are homophobic, racist, sexist, don't relate to the article, or are overly offensive. They're not nice.

  1. Michael says:

    Should have dealt with the whole situation better, just got totally out of control. However. Dalglish + Suarez = Silverware.

    • Helfo says:

      The only silverware they are likely to win is at the BNP annual awards dinner with Nick Griffin presenting them with a trophy for ‘contributions to racism in sport’.

      • Shime says:

        @helfo – ridiculous comment… England could learn something from Uruguay how to honour black footballers playing for Your country… 20 years ago You threw bananas at the pitch, while 90 years ago lot of the biggest football stars in Uruguay (like José Leandro Andrade) were black. And now You want to teach rest of the world about racism… Again, ridiculous…

      • jj says:

        The BNP giving an award to Jonny Foreigner? Are you sure about that?
        More like the KKK giving Man United fans an award for giving their organization publicity with making those stupid masks!

        • Davey says:

          Helfo is spot on.


        • jason gerrard says:

          you are the real scouse bitter boy, i have just read an article about your team boss making a mistake by trying to defend a racist thug (proven fact, saurez makes racist comments to patrice evra) and you being the stereotypical whinging scouser try’s to bring man utd down to your level, these days KKK stands for Krap Kenny the Klown, so grow a back bone and admit your team is a spent force loooser, we’ve won 19 going on 20

  2. Ken Hawkins says:

    Please read the following by a journalist who trained as a barrister:In Defence Of Luis Suarez by Rachael Singh
    February 8, 2012 • Comments ( 7 )
    Like him or not, Luis Suarez has been the most talked about and divisive character of the season. I had my say a few weeks ago, but Dispatches is nothing if not fair. As this week the law is under the microscope on here, Liverpool fan Rachael Singh pleads the case for the defence. Take cover.
    There probably isn’t a view that hasn’t yet been expressed on the subject of Luis Suárez and the allegedly racist remarks that he allegedly made to Patrice Evra. Much has also been said in response to Liverpool’s handling of the situation; nearly all of such comments have been negative. Not a great deal at all has been said, comparatively, about the FA’s handling of the case or even the content of the report issued by the ‘independent’ panel – appointed by the soi disant ‘independent’ FA. Sports journalists have never had quite as much fun stoking fires and pouring oil onto them when they’ve not been pandering to personalities and egos (not least their own).

    In my eyes, as a Liverpool-supporting linguist and sociolinguist who originally trained as a barrister, the Suárez case has highlighted and confirmed many points that have been raised over the years about the FA, its deeply ingrained bias that so reflects the attitudes and interests of its members, the flaws that continue to afflict its procedures. At no stage has an actual concrete case been mounted against Suárez. I don’t mean a case that would stand up in court; I mean a case that could reasonably be decided on the balance of probabilities.
    Firstly, there was no actual evidence – no witnesses, no TV recordings, no officials, stewards, players, colleagues – no-one – just Evra’s word against that of Luis Suárez. There has been no explanation as to why Evra had three separate meetings with the committee while Suárez was only allowed one… a cynical mind may draw conclusions as to the position of David Gill, Manchester United’s CEO and a player in this process and wonder if some degree of ‘coaching’ wasn’t taking place. In the end, with no actual evidence to go on, no independent witness of any other kind and despite Evra’s insistence at different times that Suárez called him (in a Spanish conversation) ‘negro’ – pronounced ‘neh-gro’ and simply being the Spanish word for black once, then 5 times, then 10 times (when on a French TV interview), the panel found Evra a more ‘credible’ witness and insisted that Suárez had called Evra ‘negro’ SEVEN times – a whole new number plucked from thin air. This, despite the FA having called Evra an ‘unreliable witness’ on two occasions in the past, though admittedly when accusing Englishmen. The French FA after the South African World Cup went further, calling Evra ‘a man of low character and a liar’…but then, David Gill wasn’t on their board and they were not afraid of the possible repercussions of Alex Ferguson.
    And all this before you go into the panel’s decision to disregard the testimony from linguistic experts on the nuances of South American Spanish – which, incidentally, isn’t the same Spanish that Evra speaks. Continental Spanish and South American Spanish each exist in their own cultural context; none of this was taken into account, either.
    Liverpool Football Club saw all of this clearly. They spoke up in strong support of their team-mate, because that’s what people are meant to do in the face of injustice. Mock the t-shirts all you like, but it really is that simple.
    Contrast all that with the current media furore surrounding John Terry – captain of Chelsea and erstwhile captain of England and a man with a reputation (much of it proven) lower than a snake’s belly. He verbally abuses Anton Ferdinand, brother of Rio, Terry’s defensive partner for England. The incident is reported, heavily witnessed, clearly filmed and even reported further by a member of the public to the police. Naturally, the police have investigated the allegation of such a racially motivated public order offence (Emma West, anyone?) and passed their file on to the CPS… who have brought charges on the basis of the evidence before them. In the meantime, the FA closed their own file on the matter, having concluded that there was no action to be taken. Imagine the shock when criminal charges were brought. Imagine the pressure to be seen to take proactive steps to kick racism out of football when a racist act is perpetrated by none other than the captain of the national squad.Imagine the embarrassment of having to approach the CPS and ask for their evidence before deciding whether to re-open the FA investigation.
    Take note also of the reports from our sports media, not least from Terry’s self-serving biographer who tells us that calling someone “a black c*nt” isn’t racist – and he knows this because he asked a black person (coo gosh, how’s that for investigative journalism). The same sports media that unquestioningly accepts the FA’s cowardly abdictation of responsibility in transgressing its own rules with a view to preventing a replay at Loftus Road of ‘that’ memorable John Terry/Wayne Bridge handshake incident way back at Stamford Bridge. Ah, the wonders of the FA PR machine blundering along.
    So here it is. On the one hand, you have one man’s dubious word against that of a newcomer to the Premier League; he is a foreigner and ought to be put in his place. The (English) word ‘negro’ is unacceptable – who cares what he said in Spanish, right? So, £80,000 fine and an eight game ban. And this is in spite of Evra, the FA and the independent panel declaring fulsomely that Suárez is not a racist. On the other hand, you have an English player facing criminal charges brought on the basis of evidence from a number of witnesses (including the victim), evidence deemed sufficient to conduct a prosecution and secure a conviction. Rather than re-open its file, the FA has taken five months to strip that player of the captaincy (a position to which, as many feel, he probably ought never to have been reinstated – or indeed elevated – in the first place). No committee, no report, no procedural impropriety, no £80,000 fine, no eight game ban – just an endless discussion, between now and the European Championships this summer, of who will succeed John Terry as captain.
    Nooooo, Stevie, don’t do it!

  3. SuaRed says:

    Sick of people going on about this as if they undestand racism! Anybody who still believes this lad is guilty of racism is ignorant and doesn’t understand the problem!
    Racism is IGNORANCE!!!
    He said something which in this country we (or sorry you) don’t undestand! It’s a cultural difference!!!

    Once again it’s non black English people TELLING black people what racism is!
    Follow the link below and listen to this excellent radio interview by John Barnes here and lets stop this ignorance once and for all.

  4. John says:

    What biased, narrow minded, bigoted carp
    Get a life you sad soul

  5. TKP says:

    Just stop! To the people sanctimoniously demanding an apology from Liverpool fans. Look to the plank in your own eye and stop trying to extend the Suarez-Evra row for your own political gain. There is no moral high ground here – so stop trying to find it. This issue is not racial and Suarez is not a racist. The whole thing for Evra and Fergie has become political and machiavellian to the point of being discriminatory itself. The media appears to favour the views of Man Utd fans but perhaps they will at least listen to John Barnes, who is the only pundit making any sense on this issue. As Barnes insists – what you propose does not fight racism – it just reduces a complex issue to black and white and actually encourages racism. Suarez has been foolish and petulant – but he is alo a south American immigrant with a poor command of English. The finding of his “lesser character” by the FA in their kangaroo court of “probability” could be said to be racially motivated. The following and ongoing media witchhunt has now become a form of racial profiling and cultural defamation. No one is covering themselves with glory here!

    Evra is a dubious character with a sordid past and there is ample video documentation of his own epithets and slurs, including the full N word that he wrongfully accused Suarez of using in his initial charge. He is known for winding up players and exacerbating situations. His antics on Saturday were despicable – as is the fact that the FA didn’t address his own insults to Suarez in the first place. Fergie has no moral authority whatsoever either – so you won’t get any righteous traction by echoing his sentiments. He is perhaps the most hypocritical person in the history of the game after continually defending the awful antics of Cantona, Keane, Rooney and others. How dare he tell another club to sell their player! The fact that the FA didn’t find this unconscionable just shows how inequitable and uneven they are – and that unfairness was what started and prolonged this whole thing. As for his comments on racism – he is obviously so detached and hasn’t got a clue. Racism exists in all forms on every ground in the country and the recent self-righteousness of the FA and media does nothing at the root level. John Barnes is eloquent on this point. If you put a club under a microscope, as you have done with Liverpool, you will find it everywhere. But it exists in many forms – not just black and white – many immigrants and minorities suffer too. The reductive and reactionary actions of players like Rio Ferdinand do not equate to an “anti-racist” effort – they amount to retaliation and counter-racism.

    So I ask people to please stop being so reductive and blinkered and consider all the complexities of this issue before making your demands. Liverpool, whether you accept it or not, have apologised. Manchester United have not. Suarez paid for his “probable” crime. Evra did not. Dalglish has been vilified. Ferguson has not. Please don’t repeat the folly of the FA and hand out uneven judgement.

    • Lloyd says:

      What insult did Evra hurl at Suarez during the match? …and before you say some crap about his sister…..you obviously have not read the report and jumping on the bandwagon. It clearly states that whatever insult Evra said to Suarez was not heard by Suarez and only came to light as Evra told the inquiry what he had said. Suarez himself admits that he did not hear any insult from Evra on the pitch…and it has been pointed out the insult Evra used (heard or not… but admitted to) can be loosely translated as “Effin hell..why did you kick me for…”

  6. David says:

    There is no. Cultural difference when it comes to handshakes”…………

    Suarez. Confirmed his stance by the refusal to shake hands a universal greeting

    The current rules from the fa say players should shake hands suares broke that fa rule . A booking or sending off offence.? No action taken

    Sorry”…….. dalglish not sensible. In all his actions. During this sorry affair


    Pools rep is being tarnished by both Suarez and dalglish , the pool fans surely must remove the blinkers and see this before any more damage is done.

    We need to get some sanity into our. GAME of football,it really isn’t. War.

    • Lloyd says:

      There is no FA rule with regard to handshakes….would suggest you re-read the manual my learned friend…or not!

    • Shime says:

      uf… I cannot agree with this post for 2 reasons…
      1. Scholes and Keane refused to shake Viera’s hand and it wasn’t a problem for anybody (Ferguson?), but Suarez is… maybe because they are British and Suarez is some d***y south american? Sensing a little bit of fascism here?

      2. FA are ridiculous with this handshaking because it doesn’t mean anything… You can break someones leg at the pitch (Kean on Haaland, Taylor on Eduardo, Lampard on Alonso…) but as long as You shake hands, it’s OK! Suarez already received more abuse for not shaking hand than Keane for deliberately destroying someone’s career. It’s all about public image, and FA are turning football into Kim Kardashian reality show.

  7. Bouregarde says:

    Every football fan must be sick and tired of these so called whinging legal experts (all liverpool fans) whose strong belief in Suarez innocence is only suppported by defaming Patrice Evra’s character. They do so by wrongly highlighting quotes supposedly but incorrectly stated by the English and French FA’s about Evra credibility. Evra has never been found guilty of lieing to the FA or been called an unreliable witness. The FA took the view that Suarez was not a credible witness as he changed versions of his story both publicly (Uruguay radio) and to them a number of times. They believed he was a liar, just has King Kenny and LFC’s board have just confirmed in their long overdue apologies on Sunday. It’s my belief that Suarez is a cheat (Ghana WC), a diver (Rodwell sending off), vicious hooligan (biting an opponents ear, fighting his own team mates) and of course a racist (Evra). The sooner he leaves these shores for pastures new the better.

  8. Didi says:

    In fact all Britishs are hypocrite and racist!!!!!

    • Jairaj says:

      Yes especially the racists of Liverpool, Daglish and that horrible Suarez guy.

      Liverpool fans should be ashamed. You have no love from anyone on my continent.

      God bless Patrice Evra for fighting this wrong from your brothers in Africa.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>