For the past couple of weeks we have all laughed and joked about the ‘Moral Victory Cup’.
The term was coined after Man City claimed they were the moral victors despite tumbling out of the FA Cup to us back in January, but if such a competition did exist, Manchester United would have won it today.
From the onset this whole Suarez/Evra mess has left lingering smell about the game.
The tribalism that is involved in football inevitably meant that Liverpool and their fans were going to back Suarez in any case involving Manchester United but some situations transcend such rivalries so the vehement defiance Liverpool have shown has done irreparable damaged their reputation.
Initially they tried to smear Evra’s name by claiming that he had previously falsely accused people of racially abusing him, when that was found to be fallacy they went on the charm offensive with a blinkered support of Suarez that made a mockery of the ‘Kick Racism Out of Football’ campaign.
Their t-shirts were tacky, Dalglish’s running commentary throughout has been borderline offensive yet Evra and United remained quiet and dignified.
At the end of January when we faced Liverpool at Anfield, ITV’s coverage portrayed Suarez as hard done by, he was shown in the stands continually as if he should be playing and when Liverpool won 2-1 his celebrations were the crowning piece of their broadcast.
For a man that was being punished for racially abusing another player he wasn’t being portrayed as such.
Even Sky treated Suarez’s return against Spurs as some sort of glorious homecoming of a king, but the real test would be today as Evra and Suarez went head to head for the first time since the initial events back in October.
Strangely Sky tried to draw comparisons with Cantona’s return against Liverpool back in 1995 having served an 8 month ban.
“Same teams, same number, good enough.” I assume was the thought process of the producer of today’s show. Someone should have told him Cantona was banned for kicking a racist rather than being one!
As with the John Terry/Anton Ferdinand situation all the talk pre match was about the players shaking hands. Both Sir Alex and Kenny Dalglish were keen to draw a line under the matter (despite Kenny’s somewhat inflammatory comments after the Spurs game) so it was assumed that they would.
Nick from Man United Youth said during the week that he wouldn’t put it past Suarez to pull a stunt like blanking Evra and low and behold he did so. Some have argued that he shouldn’t have to shake his hand and if a player had wrongly accused you of being racially abusive then you would ignore him too.
Firstly I hope this finally puts an end to this handshaking stuff as I personally find it somewhat unnecessary. The excuse is that is done in the interest of sportsmanship but once the whistle goes I assume players don’t care that so and so shook their hand before the game.
These games are battles; every week you go out there looking for 3 points and in some cases these points can be the difference between winning the league and coming second or staying up and getting relegated so I wouldn’t blame a man for not wanting to get too pally with the opposition.
That being said, Suarez’s reasoning was totally different.
Evra attempted to be the bigger man and had his efforts thrown back in his face. Regardless of all that has been said and done since October, you have to remember that Evra was the victim in all of this. He was the person that the words, whether you deem them racist or not, were aimed at. So for him to extend his hand to the man that did so will have taken a lot.
Suarez has constantly shown himself to be an unsavoury character, Ghanaian fans and Otman Bakkal can attest to that, but for some reason today’s, amongst all of his transgressions, must rank the highest.
There was a fleeting moment when I began to question the existence of God. After Suarez got their equaliser, I can’t have been the only person that imagined this sparking a Liverpool revival. The papers would have had a field day and you can only imagine Dalglish’s celebrations and worse Suarez’s.
Thankfully United saw out the game, there would be no fairytale finish for Liverpool, Suarez and Sky, instead it was left for Evra to lift the ‘Moral Victory Cup’ and his celebrations were just as satisfying as the win itself.
United/Liverpool games are always fiery affairs and with both sides sometimes dipping below the lines of decency to get one up on the other, a victory is usually celebrated on the proverbial moral high ground but today was a little more than that for us especially as United have attempted to remain dignified throughout.
For me, there was no better scene today than Evra celebrating in front of our fans as Suarez took the long walk to the tunnel. I struggle to remember a victory as satisfactory as this and as silly as it sounds, our vindication in this affair came in our victory.
Evra had every right to celebrate, the same way Suarez celebrated in the stands when they beat us at Anfield.
Throughout this whole nonsense he has been the victim but there have been numerous attempts to paint him otherwise so let him carry the cup off on his moral high horse, he deserves to do so!
It is the best piece of article I have read about the whole debacle. I hope Suarez is confronted by a Ghanian..and I would love to see his predicament
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