x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Fans guilty of abetting Luis Suarez's behaviour, too

A word of caution applies to Liverpool fans who argue that Luis Suarez owes them for the loyalty they showed following his bans for racially abusing Patrice Evra and biting Branislav Ivanovic.

The steadfastness of Liverpool fans for Luis Suarez was not freely given, but purchased with goals already netted and the promise of more to come.
The steadfastness of Liverpool fans for Luis Suarez was not freely given, but purchased with goals already netted and the promise of more to come.

Like most neutral football fans, I admire Luis Suarez far more as a footballer than as a human being.

His summer-long agitation for a move away from Liverpool has made him appear dishonest and sneaky. If, for example, his reason for wanting to leave Anfield was to play Uefa Champions League football, why did he not say so from the beginning, instead of suggesting his unhappiness was caused by media intrusion and abuse from rival fans in a supermarket?

However, a word of caution applies to Liverpool fans who argue that Suarez owes them for the loyalty they showed following his bans for racially abusing Patrice Evra and biting Branislav Ivanovic.

The reason you showed such loyalty was because Suarez is such a gifted player. Your steadfastness was not freely given, but purchased with goals already netted and the promise of more to come. You cannot charge for it twice.

In fact, not only was your "loyalty" less pure than you imply, it may also have been part of the problem. Former Liverpool player John Barnes argues that, through such unquestioning hero worship, fans have created a superclass of player, typified by Suarez and Fernando Torres, who believe they are bigger than the club, and if success is not instant, they must move on to somewhere that matches their prowess.

In an ocean of meaningless punditry on the Suarez saga, it was brave and perceptive observation by an former pro, who is developing a reputation for free-thinking.

Nice, isn't it, when one can admire the man he is as much as the player he was?

 

sports@thenational.ae

 

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