Patrice Evra will be on the receiving end of some abuse today but I’d like to think it won’t be racist abuse. Maybe I’m naive and I’m probably giving the vermin too much credit but I genuinely hope that Liverpool fans don’t turn their dislike of Evra, having been lead to believe that he’s a liar by the ridiculous propaganda from their club, in to something far more sinister.
However, if their fans do racially abuse Evra, the club have no one to blame but themselves, having whipped their fans in to a frenzy in order to keep Luis Suarez, their prize asset, protected.
Whilst Andre Villas-Boas made the dreadful mistake of claiming he would still give John Terry his full support even if he was found guilty of racially abusing Anton Ferdinand, Chelsea, for the most part, have kept quiet. In contrast, Liverpool have stirred the situation, before and after their player was found guilty of racially abusing Evra. The siege mentality they have developed over this case is an embarrassment, with them genuinely believing that they are the victims in this situation, for a change.
Who on earth came up with the idea of wearing t-shirts in support of a player accused of racial abuse? Who on earth wrote those press releases for Liverpool claiming that if Evra couldn’t prove he was racially abused he should be punished? Why on earth did Dalglish tell the press it was some FA conspiracy?
For them to believe that Suarez, after kicking him and smacking him round the head, was calling Evra “negro” in a friendly way was quite frankly unbelievable. “His wife calls him that,” Dalglish claimed, as if during a Liverpool vs United clash any player from either side would talk to each other with the same sentiment they would talk to their wives. Ludicrous. Suarez was trying to make a friend of Evra, was he? If you’ll believe that, you’ll believe anything. Sadly, it seems that Liverpool fans, whose behaviour is akin to those in a cult, will believe anything.
However, for all their fuss, they didn’t appeal the decision, which speaks volumes. If they were so certain that Suarez was innocent, why accept the decision to find him guilty? They accepted it but claimed not to agree with it. Suarez didn’t even have the decency to apologise for Evra. Even if, as he claimed, he didn’t mean to cause offence, the fact that he had done warranted some gesture. But as was typical with their whole dealing of the situation, he lacked any sort of class or remorse. Even on the pitch, with Evra visibly upset about what Suarez had called him, there was no apology. If Suarez was meaning “negro” in the friendly way he claims, why would he not say sorry when he could see that Evra hadn’t taken it that way? The obvious answer is because Suarez wasn’t addressing Evra as a companion, but an enemy, as that is what he is.
Then we have Kenny Dalglish and Steven Gerrard talking about the responsibility of both clubs to behave properly today, which is incredible given how little responsibility their club has shown up until now. Liverpool FC and Dalglish are responsible for the vile treatment Evra will get today because they have painted him as the bad guy in order to make Suarez the victim. If that vile treatment turns to racism, the club has no one to point the finger at but themselves.
It is ridiculous to think that today Evra is going to be on the receiving end of awful abuse, whether they manage to keep racial overtones out of it or not, but our player can take it. He’s hardly Mr Popular at Stamford Bridge or the Emirates either. The point is Evra is a pantomime villain to those fans, disliked for petty reasons, but still things you can relate to all the same. If United had just been battered in big game against our rivals, we wouldn’t take kindly to one of their players say it was “men against babies”. The difference in this situation though is that Evra hasn’t done anything to warrant the abuse. He went to Anfield to play a football match and was racially abused by an opponent.
How will Liverpool fans make themselves look today in abusing Evra, whose only crime was being racially abused by one of their own players? Dreadful.
A banner in the United end reads: “MUFC – Defending Champions LFC – Defending Racists”. Can’t say fairer than that.