It would be fair to say that the hyperbolic British media have hardly gone overboard with praise for Luis’ exceptional hat-trick against Norwich on Saturday…
One of the things that the Leveson enquiry has proved beyond any doubt is that Rupert Murdoch had far too much power; he had unhealthy influence over politicians and public opinion. Murdoch had the ability to make or break people, without the fear of rebuttal or come back.
There is a similar situation that has manifested itself in English football; just replace Murdoch with Alex Ferguson and you have a man that wields far too much influence over the media and the footballing community. Ferguson is a master manipulator: he uses situations and the media to his advantage to weaken his opponents.
What Ferguson says goes. His opinion is often touted as fact by journalists who fear exclusion from the Ferguson clique. The one man that stood up to Ferguson in recent times was written off as crazy. Rafa Benitez recognised that Ferguson has unhealthy influence that runs right throughout the game; right to the very top.
One of the things that should never be under stated as well is Ferguson’s hatred for Liverpool Football Club. He is as tribal as the most extreme of fans; any chance to get one over on Liverpool – Ferguson will gleefully accept. The rights and wrongs of the Evra / Suarez incident have been debated to death; but the most unfortunate fall out has been the demonization of Luis Suarez.
Luis Suarez is one of the most exciting footballers in the world. As with all great players, he has courted controversy at various points. The very best players in world football have that edge; it doesn’t make them evil, it is a win at all cost mentality that sometimes means you cross the line.
If you look at Luis Suarez contribution to English football since he has been here; it has been sensational. He has infectious enthusiasm for the game and he plays with a huge smile on his face. He has conducted himself brilliantly both on and off the pitch – bar one or two brief moments.
But, unfortunately for Suarez, when you are as talented as he is people will look to try and beat you in different ways. Whilst we have a zero tolerance approach to language we deem ‘racial’ in the UK it isn’t the same across the rest of the world. There are many people that will pat themselves on the back for ‘being tough on racism’: but that one brief exchange between a Uruguayan and Frenchman had little to do with racism and lots to do with politics.
Suarez was in the wrong place at the wrong time against the wrong football club. Whilst it maybe hypothetical, had that incident happened against any other football club in the league; I genuinely believe the outcome would have been different. I suspect that United saw a political opportunity to weaken Liverpool throughout that episode, and manipulated that situation.
Of course, it was Ferguson’s comments post the game at Old Trafford that made the headlines, and has since added fuel to the fire that Suarez is some kind of monster. Ferguson is always very quick to demonise those that are a threat; whilst casually ignoring his own players. He is far and away the biggest hypocrite in football.
Thankfully Suarez seems to be content to rise above the negativity; he plays with a thick skin and has a single minded mentality that is symptomatic of his game. I always feel with Suarez that he cares little what people say about him; and is happy to do his talking on the pitch. Off the pitch he seems a genuine family man with lots of time for the people around him. Not the kind of guy that would sneak off with a team mates wife.
Perhaps Suarez feeds off the pantomime villain tag. But, that doesn’t make it right. It dilutes his sensational talent. Luis Suarez is a very special footballer; he does things that other players cannot do. He is an asset to the Premier League; surely we want the best players in world football playing in England.
I think the time has come for the English media to wipe the slate clean with Suarez. Concentrate on his talent and the positives; stop looking for reasons to demonise.
The next time people are influenced by Ferguson’s demonization of Suarez; it is worth considering what would Ferguson’s opinion of Suarez be if he played for Manchester United?
Luis Suarez is all about the three goals he scored against Norwich; one of the best, most technically perfect hat-ricks you will ever see. Suarez is a genius, but all geniuses have flaws. It is time for people in this country to stop looking for the flaws and celebrate the talent of one of the world’s best players.