"Luis Suarez doesn't have anything to prove to anyone at Liverpool FC. We don't think he should ever have been away but we are delighted to have him back."
"It's fantastic to have him back. He should never have been out in the first place,".
These are the comments made after Liverpool’s goal-less draw with Tottenham Hotspur on Monday to which now Kenny Dalglish faces an FA charge for bringing the game into disrepute. Dalglish was facing a question about the return of his talisman who had not featured since boxing day and had missed nine games due to a charge of racism brought against him by the Football Association and the Scot was understandably jovial about being once-again permitted to pick the Uruguayan who had been an essential part of Liverpool’s team before the ban set-in.
He couldn’t resist however, a reinforcement of his much-skewed view that Suarez should not have been handed the initial ban and that the FA had done damage in making the case with Patrice Evra carry such harsh punishment against the firm belief instilled in Dalglish that his player his firmly innocent. A rock-solid stance of support for his player has been suggestive that Suarez is fortunate to have the manager in his corner, but when it is an almost deluded view, major concerns of the manager’s conduct and opinions, that have appeared rusty and antiquated throughout this process, tend to surface.
Dalglish has seemingly failed to grasp that the nuances of what word was actually uttered on that day paled to insignificance, purely when it is considered that Evra was insulted by the words enough to make a formal complaint to the authorities. Thereby, compounded with the evidence which the FA gathered on the whole incident, already deplored by Dalglish at Eastlands on the night news of Liverpool’s acceptance of the ban filtered through, it was enough to bring a guilty verdict against the player, one that the FA deemed worthy of a slightly elongated eight matches.
However, as hammered home yet again through TV screens to millions of armchair enthusiasts that have long since tired of this whole affair, his gripe is not with the length of the ban but the fact that the authorities even dared to have the audacity to slap any ban on Suarez when in the midst of a lauded kick-it-out campaign. The FA saw fit to hand the punishment down and with everybody now sharing the eagerness to move on from this sorry episode, the Anfield manager seems like he simply cannot let it lie.
It has been a terrible storm ever since the 15th October for Liverpool, a long sequence of error-strewn diplomacy including the ill-fated decision to wear t-shirts in support of Suarez at Wigan, an ill-advised reply to the FA’s findings by the club and Daglish’s bizarre picking-apart of the FA’s report into the case that reportedly sent those at the top into fits of disbelief. The unfortunate incident with Oldham’s Tom Adeyemi could also be thrown in there as well but it would be harsh to pin the blame on the club for that. It has all added to a sad chapter in the clubs’ continuum though in which Dalglish, in a damning indictment of his behaviour, has managed to emerge with a more damaging review than his accused striker. Piara Power, executive director of European football’s governing body FARE, even went as far as launching a recent claim that Dalglish’s musings have consistently undermined the judgement found by the FA.
It would be naïve however, to pin the blame of this solely on the arms of Dalglish however. He’s been misguided yes, but only in the absence of his employers in NESV who have not been around to shift any attention away from the man who has been at-times, a single-man affront to the media bombardment that has accompanied this case. The Scot had been away from the game for a decade before he returned to Liverpool and it is important to remember that; Football can be too volatile for such an archaic view as Dalglish’s and he has been denied the opportunity to change with the game’s new found insistence for coverage that has boom cameras and microphones lurking behind almost every corner.
Alex Ferguson has spoken of a need to clamp down on racism ahead of Saturday’s match at Old Trafford between the two clubs that originally set the whole thing off, but there was a hope, with Suarez back and primed for the trip to Salford, we could maybe move on and talk again about the football, that was in all-fairness, the order of the day in the recent FA Cup meeting between the same two clubs.
However, it seems like the aftermath is still felt strongly by some and we may have to think again on that score. The racism furore surrounding John Terry will run and run all the way to July, so there is no hope in forgetting about that one just yet, but neither, sadly, is there any closure with the Suarez, Evra episode.