By Ewan Day-Collins
Manchester United and Liverpool is always a ferocious battle. Yet unfortunately both clubs have been clouded by toxic fumes of the Luis Suarez saga. But, through the ashes of that fateful Barclays Premier League match between the two clubs last year, one team and their leader has risen considerably.
The other equally great sporting institution has fallen. The key difference is in the attitude of the two managers – Sir Alex Ferguson and Kenny Dalglish. Indubitably the two most influential men in the Premier League with regards to their standing at their respective clubs, they both hold ultimate power. Yet, whereas one decided to act irresponsibly with it, the other operated with dignity.
The histrionics from Liverpool were often embarrassing. The bullish statements, the ridiculous T-shirts and the vulgar tweet from Dalglish asking supporters to ensure Suarez does “not walk alone” characterised a club who were stripped of rectitude and probity. Even the statement released telling of their reluctant decision to accept the eight match ban included a steadfast belief that the independent panel has omitted key details from the report. The club believe they have been treated unfairly, suggesting a biased panel and adopting a siege mentality.
Yet this dogmatic approach shows a demonstrable lack of concern for English football and a total moral blindness, particularly considering the delicate and serious nature of racism. Liverpool’s approach would be comical were it not for the severity and disgusting nature of the crime. Tribalism of the highest magnitude, rank hypocrisy by refusing to appeal the eight match ban but still maintaining innocence, and a complete lack of sensitivity on what is a crime that has offended so many shows a club and manager unwilling to see past their insular environment.
Sir Alex Ferguson and Manchester United have been the antithesis to the deplorable manner of Liverpool. Ferguson has exploited his experience carefully and judiciously. When approached by club captain Patrice Evra he complained formally, and ordered the taking of notes during his discussion with referee Andre Mariner, demonstrating his prudent character.
He has also not made irrational accusations, or created a fierce culture of anti-Liverpool feeling which could have exacerbated an already uncomfortable situation, though not acting in a manner which would be seen as backing down. Ferguson and United have retained their honour and class, in a way Liverpool have failed completely.
Ferguson has remained relatively silent but courteous, unlike Dalglish who has been exclaiming hyperbole on twitter, a mentality that has stemmed to his players. The United manager is laconic usually, yet here he was especially so. The statements from United have been defined by brevity and caution, not seeking to attack anyone or make false claims.
Yet, aside from the important outcomes with regard to tackling racism this case has displayed, one thing is for certain. That while Kenny Dalglish has acted despicably and has epitomised all that is wrong with the nature of English football, Sir Alex Ferguson has maintained his integrity and has shown a trait found, not only in the greatest politicians, but also in the most esteemed football managers.
About the Author
Ewan Day-Collins is a 16-year-old aspiring journalist. He enjoys writing about sport – especially football, cycling and cricket – yet has many other interests besides. As well as writing for OldTrafford.com, Ewan has written for ESPN cricinfo, cricketweb and the i newspaper. He hopes to pursue a career in journalism in the future.