A PR disaster for Liverpool – a near indelible image

Posted on February 12, 2012



Luis Suarez did neither himself, team mates or his manager any favours at Old Trafford, succumbing to a 2-1 defeat. Though it’s not the manner of the loss on the field that will run deep for many a year to come. Matches come and go. Results between the two sides are merely bragging rights for the top dog status in the North West region. Though reputations live very long in the memory. Some might say it’s handbags at dawn gone way out of hand, others call it a racist action, antiquated in 2012.

One of the biggest losers in this horrendous mess is John Henry. The owner of Fenway Sports Group has his mind to all intents and purposes whether you like it or not, set on building Brand Liverpool. A lucrative brand that generates a lot of business in the Asian market particularly. In Henry’s mind, or in the boardroom whether on Merseyside or across the pond, he’s presented with a huge problem. With a stubborn Kenny Dalglish continually backing his Uruguayan international, despite the refusal of putting the Patrice Evra issue to rest, his position is now untenable.

While the Liverpool managing director, Ian Ayre, Kenny Dalglish and Luis Suarez themselves have each delivered statements within 24 hours of Saturday’s incidents, Luis Suarez must, starting from now have to prove his worth on the pitch all over again, if only to show Liverpool he’s worth the trouble of keeping at the club. Even though he didn’t issue a direct apology to Patrice Evra, Manchester United accepted it for the sake of drawing a line, desperate to move on, hopeful that the Scousers 20 odd miles west would reciprocate.

An example of reputations doing lasting damage long-term, Leeds United under Don Revie in the 70’s won major honours that were there for the taking. These included league titles and FA Cups. But with a side consisting of a pugnacious Billy Bremner, Eddie Gray et al, who liked a tackle or two shall we say they were seen as being a dirty side, one that the late Brian Clough, during his very brief spell as manager stated they won ugly. To this very day, ‘Dirty’ Leeds are how they’re known to many Chelsea fans as an example, whose rivalry runs as deep as the Yorkshire dales.

Though that’s not forgetting Manchester United fans. Or any other team that supports a Yorkshire-based side bar Leeds. Or Millwall. There’s a good reason for the ‘No-one likes us but we don’t care’ chant after all. Such is the animosity towards the Elland Road side to this very day that they were voted as the most hated side in the league (above their Manchester adversaries across the Pennines pipping them at No.2), purely because of their dirty, rugged style of play. And that’s putting it relatively lightly.

The Liverpool fans also have their part to play in this debacle. Sticking through their team through and through without condition has left them with a lot to be desired, particularly as they’re perceived to be a family club, with You’ll Never Walk Alone not so much a song, but near a way of life. Through thick and thin they’re there. In good times and bad, through European Cup and League triumphs, to Heysel and Hillsborough. And now this latest saga.

So what happens next? Liverpool would do well to keep their heads down as much as they can and crack on with the rest of the season as far as on the pitch affairs are concerned. Rebuilding their image off it in contrast, will require as much elbow grease and work within the community with various initiatives with sincerity. If only to bring matters regarding Liverpool Football Club and Manchester United (not to mention English Football) back on an even keel.

Posted in: Football