By Karl Coppack
IN any piece concerning prejudice it would be unfair and inequitous not to announce my own.
No one can be completely objective in most walks of life unless they don’t really care in the first place (Bobby Fischer v whoever it was always left me cold) and as much as any journalist can try to set personal feelings aside and write against their own minds a little bit comes out.
This isn’t made any easier when some abhorrent or at least erroneous views are protected behind an armour of ‘yeah but as a fan you’d always think that.’ Paddy Barclay used his column to spout the most ludicrous nonsense during the Suarez incident last season and threw the vitriol of ‘tribalism’ to all who disagreed. Now, of course, my own view that Barclay is a man with fading talent and leans towards the easy, traditional blazer and tie set with a heavy order of sensationalism is, in its own way, prejudiced but at least it can be supported by pointing out that Barclay still writes about LFC as often as possible from his new home of the London Evening Standard where his loyal readers will happily forego stories about their own teams to hear about a club 200 miles away. Liverpool are always good copy and Suarez bashing will always bring home the bacon. Maybe that was just his opinion though. Maybe he was concerned about casual racism? He then made some horrendous comments about Heysel on Twitter and was rightly censured for it. Ah. An agenda then.
Anyway, with the Player of the Season up for grabs and the front runners being Luis Suarez and Gareth Bale, the League’s top goalscorer against the frighteningly talented Welshman, it should be a close match. Should be. Why then is one of them an outside 7/1 in a two horse race? The award is based purely on what happens on the pitch, isn’t it? Fat chance.
My own prejudices then. Well, they won’t be popular. See, despite being committed to the Red cause as much as everyone and anyone else I just don’t particularly like Luis Suarez. I don’t hate him or anything like that. I admire him greatly and don’t consider him to be the racist cheat that Martin Samuel, Ollie Holt and their ilk would have us believe but I just can’t shout his name in the same way with the same gusto that I shout others. I don’t proselytise this view as it’s peculiar to myself save for the odd semi-joking barbed comment to my mates and I’m aware that it’s wrong to dislike a man who is probably the future of your team. In any case my distrust is based on the flimsiest of premises.
The Uruguay – Ghana game.
Yes, I know. Anyone else would have done the same in those circumstances and had Jamie Carragher, a man whose statue I would gladly hewn with my own hands were I given the granite and the ability to do so, stopped a Shevchenko shot with both hands while setting fire to effigies of the Liver birds in Istanbul I wouldn’t have given the rankest of shits but this rankled. It wasn’t just the handball, it was the celebration. Again, had Carra done the same I would have raised an eyebrow more than raise cudgels but when your own team are wronged it’s hard to be objective. I have Ghanain in-laws, good kind people who were just pleased to be in the tournament and they didn’t care at all, in fact had even forgotten about it a week later. Not me though. I bear a grudge. I gathered my prejudice and pinned it to my chest and wore it even after he signed for us. Got to be honest.
As for Bale I have no stronger opinions other than his side parting crease irritates me. That’s it. I don’t like his club but as he is pleasingly mute as the majority of footballers should be and hasn’t ruined a romantic World Cup dream for me he’s fine. Strange how it works.
He’s also responsible for one of my Anfield memories. In the 2-2 draw in October 2007, kicking into the Kop he dived near the Kemlyn corner flag. No, that understates it. He dived terribly. Woefully. It was amateurish. It was disgraceful. It was hilarious. It was so bad that the crowd didn’t complain; they laughed. Much has been made of bad diving on The Anfield Wrap podcast and Bale is the prime exponent. He’s bloody awful at it.
Suarez isn’t much better and though he has more fouls against him than dives he still hasn’t got the hang of it.
So, two great players and two terrible divers.
Enter the prejudice. Suarez dives, Bale’s a fantastic talent. Suarez is a racist, John Terry is brave. Ryan Giggs slept with his brother’s wife, Ryan Giggs is a role model.
The agenda is clear. Homegrown players have it easier in the press. For the reams and reams of paper wasted on Evragate the coverage of Paul Elliot, himself a critic of Suarez and just about everything else Liverpool based, barely covered a page. The benign side of this is Jonathan Pearce’s treatment of Scott Parker, Jack Wilshere and Paul Scholes. He’s so effusive in praise of them that I suspect that he’s close to contesting paternity rights despite their somewhat over-zealous approach to tackling. Young and English? Fine.
Back to Suarez then. How is it possible for a man to be an outsider when he has hit three hatricks, scored possibly the goal of the season and is hauling Liverpool on his back for most games? Again, the award is based on ability, not past histories and personalities.
When is it time to leave him be and accept him as a gift to the game? John Champion’s ‘actions of a cheat’ comment when Suarez accidentally handballed it against Mansfield would not have been aired had it been any other player. Literally none. No matter what your views are on the Evra incident it’s clear that the media bear more of a grudge than I do. What’s more we’re not supposed to be fair and even-handed. We’re fans and we abuse United players and ex-players as a matter of cause. The media are supposed to report, not comment and not influence but that memo seems to have gone missing. Luis Suarez could cure cancer and still have Ollie Holt on his back.
I hope Luis wins it. I think he should as he means more to his club than Bale does to his but I expect Van Persie will finish above him in the ratings despite a recent quiet period. I don’t think we’ll see Luis kissing his wrist while wearing a tuxedo just yet. Media pride, media prejudice.
Sky TV simply cannot hide their contempt for LFC. The commentary team of Tylor & Smith along with baldy Wilkins & Shreves are nothing short of disgraceful.
So are you subscribed to the channel and continually feed them with more money, or have you stood for what you believe in and voted with your wallet?
I can sympathise with Ghana, and to be fair at the time I was thinking he was a little shit, but the other side of that coin is that Ghana did have a ‘last kick of the game’ penalty to win. Suarez was sent off, rightly, and all things being equal, Uruguay should have gone out of the competition in disgrace. But they didn’t, and because they didn’t, I believe that’s why Suarez was so villified. The fact that he cheated was one thing, the fact that his country, and himself, profited by it, well that’s another thing entirely. His image never recovered, and events in Holland sealed his fate before he came here.
The question everyone has to ask themselves is, given the same circumstances, the chance of going home for certain, versus the chance of a penalty being saved, would you do the same thing for your country?
I think this is a no-brainer. Time and time again we see it happen in football. Hell, we even see titans of the game stoop to blatant cheating to gain an advantage, as Henry did against Ireland. Stack Henry’s cheating up against Suarez’s, and you have to acknowledge that what Suarez did took more balls than what that sneaky French fk got away with. I’d do it. I’d have burned down my house and sold my eldest into slavery for the chance to get Ireland into a world cup semi at one time. Not a problem. They’d have a song composed for me by the time we got home, too.
Especially if it was against England :)
As for Terry, everyone knows deep down what a turd he is, but for some reason that dickhead Beckham skates on. He’s the closest thing to royalty in english football, and he is a mean-spirited little worm of a man who would, and has, cheated his whole career. The narrative surrounding him is breathtaking, TV cutting to Beckham every 5 mins during the world cup, Oh, Beckham looks angry because the England team is not doing well…if only he was out there to lead from the front those foreign devils would be quaking in their boots. That’s better, Beckham is talking to Capello, maybe the foreign manager will listen to the words of wisdom from the England legend, and things will improve. WTF was he doing there in the first place? Did you see Ireland bring Keane out there in the euros to look knowing and shake his head sadly every 5 mins? Well, OK, bad comparison, but Niall Quinn wouldn’t have gone near the squad if he was still available for selection.
Luis won’t win. Bale will. The dick.
And of course he plays for Liverpool….
“I don’t proselytise!”Hi Karl,If you don’t “proselytize” you’re never going to convert me!
This is poor stuff.Why are you using big words you can’t even spell?
Suarez? You’ve just lost your arguement!I don’t wish to proselytize you but…………he’s a fantastic player……..and we wouldn’t be were we are but for him.
Are you proseltyzed?
I’m aware you probably won’t read this, but it annoyed me anyway. ‘Proselytise’ is a perfectly acceptable spelling. ‘Arguement’ is not. If you’re going to be a smart-arse, do it properly, eh?
You’re completed entitled to your view but I’m amazed he hasn’t won you over.
of course nobody mentions the perfectly good goal that the USA had disallowed that would have put Ghana put in the match prior to the Uruguay game. Not a peep, no hang wringing or flimsy pieces written years later. it;s football shit decisions and unfair stuff happen all the time.
For you to dislike Suarez years later on the back of a hand ball is borderline crazy. Paddy Barclay crazy at that,
Of course it is. That’s the point of prejudices.
On the weekend of the accidental handball against Mansfield, Bale was booked yet again for diving. Was there 1 headline at all in the papers the next day about his diving??? Was there f**k!!! It was ALL about Suarez, some even going as far as saying that he deliberately kissed his hand afterwards just to show he meant it even though they ALL knew that one of the top strikers in the league kissed his wrist and ring finger as his goal celebration after EVERY goal. Of course theres an anti-Liverpool/Suarez agenda in the media; we all know it!!!!
Personally I love the controversy and hope he doesn’t win POTY. That’s what makes him the player he is, and our player. The more the opposition sing and chant against him the better he gets and the closer to our club he becomes. When he lifts the Premier league trophy for us next year then that will be the greatest acknowledgment he can achieve.
I admire him all the more for what he did in that match, as if he thought about it, he would have known it would make him reviled. His motivation could not be more pure at that moment. It makes him the worldbeater and the joy that he is that he can be so selfless and so totally focussed in a game. If we had 11 of his attitude on the pitch, we would win trophies every season, I am convinced.
And it is iniquitous, without the e..
karl i dont know how old you are but i was certainly ready to celebrate if ray clemence had kept out ray stewarts extra time pen at wembley in 81 after terry mac tipped over the bar. ive no doubt the players would have too. i can’t help but feel you made up your disdain for suarez’s actions simply to add some balance to your article. professional football is about winning and getting away with what you can to achieve this.
also i hope suarez finishes nowhere in the poll. he has been demonized in this country since he destroyed utds back 4 the day kuyt got a hat trick and ferguson called him a diver, so the fewer votes the better. and let it be known that this years p.o.t.y award is nothing other than a sham.
what more can a player do to get this award. if everyone is honest its not even a contest.
So, do we now need a ‘Debatable Player of the Year’ Site ?
Iniquitous, not inequitous.
Realised that just as it went up. Gah!
Based on your reasoning, is there a player in the league (English or any other) that you dont hate?
Just as everyone carries some sort of prejudice inside, so every modern day player cheats. It just gets labelled differently depending on who they are, who they play for…
Seems to be a misunderstanding here which is entirely my fault, My point is I’m slightly prejudiced because he hurt the team I supported in that match and me as a consequence. That’s how it is with fans. Of course he should win it and of course he won’t but my prejudice isn’t as damning as those who influence the game. That’s my point. And of course I’d want any Liverpool player to do the same (Rob Jones, Wembley 96). It’s only when you’re wounded that you judge.
Also, I’m not arsed about who wins either. It’s be nice as maybe people would get off his back but it’s not important. Maybe not finishing in the top three would inspire him further.
Karl,why are you writing a piece then coming back and explaining that you didn’t mean this and you didn’t mean that when people critique it?
Stand by your guns.If you don’t like him just say it!
It’s your opinion;just as valid as anybody else who comments.