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Suarez Handball Affair Taints A Magical FA Cup Weekend

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There’s something magic about the FA Cup. Well that’s what fans, the media and the sponsors would have you believe.

Only this weekend there was magic and it was dark-magic that looked down upon football thanks to Luis Suarez’s latest controversy.

Suarez clearly handled before scoring Liverpool’s crucial second goal against Mansfield Town. He knew he handled, his own team-mates knew he handled and so did everyone else inside Field Mill aside from guess-who – the officials.

It was harsh on the Blue Square Premier outfit who up until Suarez’s introduction in the second-half had looked very capable of getting a goal that would see them bag a lucrative replay back at Anfield.

There are two sides to what Suarez could and should have done in the aftermath of the goal.

Firstly he could have owned up to the incident. Yes there will be some football fans and pundits who will claim that it isn’t his responsibility to own up to his handball and that players should always play to the whistle and allow the officials to make the decisions.

Whilst I can accept that view, there have been footballers – Robbie Fowler and Miroslav Klose to name but a few – who have owned up to acts of unsportsmanship in bigger games than the one played yesterday at Field Mill. They owned up because they knew morally it was the right thing and that if they hadn’t done so they would be scoring a big ‘own-goal’ for their reputation in the game.

Suarez of course has always been in the news in England since arriving on Merseyside from Dutch side Ajax in 2010. He was involved in the race-row affair with Patrice Evra which has left a huge dark cloud over his reputation and has come under criticism for diving on a regular basis. So it’s fair to say that he isn’t a universally loved footballer in this country,

However had he owned up yesterday and told referee Andre Mariner that he had handled the ball just imagine what that could have done to his ‘bad-boy’ reputation in the game. Yes he will always have the Evra affair hanging over his career, but by owning up to the goal he would have looked like a player wanting to do the right-thing for the game and it would have been an act that would have resulted in a heavy shower of praise.

The media would have jumped all over it and Liverpool and his manager Brendan Rodgers would have loved it. It would have been a great bit of PR for them. Liverpool fans would’ve loved it and no doubt would have said: “told you so, Luis has always been a good boy, that’s why we’ve always loved him.”

Paulo Di Canio of course came back from pushing referee Paul Alcock to the ground whilst at Sheffield Wednesday in September 1998. It was a horrible dark moment for football and one which threatened to end Di Canio’s career at the top of the game.

However by the turn of the year he had transferred to West Ham and just over 2 years after the Alcock incident, in a match against Everton, in a brilliant display of sportsmanship, Di Canio shunned a goal scoring opportunity and caught the ball from a cross instead as the Everton’s keeper Paul Gerrard was lying injured on the ground after he twisted his knee attempting a clearance on the edge of the box.

In that very instance, Di Canio’s image was restored and he became universally loved by football fans not only across the country but around the world. FIFA loved it and the Italian even won a Fairplay Award as a result of his dazzling act of sportsmanship.

Sepp Blatter no doubt would have given Suarez a similar award had he owned up yesterday and it would have been a great turning point in his career. He had the chance to change his public image and decided against doing it.

However he is a South American and in that part of the world, playacting and cheating is just seen as part of the game. It isn’t looked down upon, it’s seen as taking advantage of a situation and doing your bit in order to win at all costs. That’s the football culture that Suarez has grown up on and perhaps is, has and always will be second-nature to him. So to expect him to change his ways now perhaps is a waste of time on our parts. 

By Adam Dennehey @ADennehey87

19 thoughts on “Suarez Handball Affair Taints A Magical FA Cup Weekend”

  1. united players on other hand are paragons of virtue, oh wait no massive bunch of cheats also, football has changed deal with it

  2. I suppose your right about play acting and cheating being ok in the south american part of the world – and that players should own up. After all, when south american goal keeper Roy Carrol KNEW that that ball had crossed the line in that tottnenham game, and all his south american team mates around him knew that it had – and they all owned up to what had happened and the goal was allowed by the referee, it was a real watershed moment for south american players, and the true spirit of the game.


  3. He'll be Kung-fu kicking members of the crowd next eh?

    You unhealthily obsessed with Liverpool creepy manc freaks.

    Everyone knows why though, it takes your mind off living in that vile cesspitt mankychester.

  4. Surely you cannot be serious? Adam you probably know a fair bit about football,how can you possibly believe what you are saying in this article? I love how you try to convince yourself that BR would have “loved it”. Suffice to say I disagree with you. Your bias against a great footballer is sad. The flaws in your argument are too many to detail, so I'll just challenge you to ask yourself if you would even consider this argument if a United player was in this position. Somehow I doubt it. Fortunately this weekend Luis will have an opportunity to answer you and his other his critics in the way he knows best – by picking the ball from the back of the net and kissing his wrist. YNWA

  5. Hope you are watching the cheltenham and everton match and write a similar article how players from both teams have handled the ball intentionally jelavic and macmanus the culprits. Or maybe about ramseys shameless diving against Swansea. I Am sure you will be unbiased and fair and in your reporting and name and shame other players who have blackened the fa cup this weekend.
    One finale think mate you can get down off your high horse i dont remember a liverpool player attacking a spectator (king eric) or a liverpool player intentionally injuring another player and ending his career roy keane.

  6. Eric Cantona kicked a fan, he didnt cheat, but he was punished.

    Rio missed a drug test, he is innocent until proven guilty but got a ban, and we accpet it. He was punished.

    All anyone can ask is that the injured party, in this case Mansfield Town, are compensated for their loss, its only fair isnt it ?

    If a golfer moves the ball with his hand what is it ? Cheating ? What would happen ?

    No matter what team you support you can either accept football is a place where players try and fool the Ref or you stand up, and say its wrong and stamp it out. Why cant we agree that this needs stamping out ?

  7. Whilst it's fair to say that Suarez does get witch-hunted by the media, United players at times like Keane, Cantona and Roy Carroll have all had their issues. Keane shouldn't have gone out to injure the City player Haaland, it was wrong and he should've got a far bigger punishment that the one he got. Eric got banned and rightly so. As for Roy Carroll, well you're not going to get a keeper holding up his hands saying it was a goal are you?

    Look in all fairness Suarez is a smashing player and is someone along with Gerrard and Sterling (who has been one of the revelations of the season) who I'm worried about this weekend. Suarez's great quality is his hunger and his willingness to run and make life hard for any opponent, whether his team are 4-0 up or 4-0 down he doesn't give up and works his socks off and he has had a great season.

    If a United player would've handled the ball like Suarez did and scored a goal, I would be embarrassed just like I was to a degree with Ashley Young when he got his swim-trunks out and did some diving exhibitions most notably against Villa and QPR towards the title run-in last season. When a United player tries to cheat or dive I get frustrated about it and last season criticized Young on this website for it (http://www.weallfollowunited.com/man-utd/2012/4/18/cut-out-diving-ghost-goals.html) getting slack from some United fans as a result. 'you can't slag of our player' they said, well you can when it's so blatantly obvious.

    Win/lose/draw come Sunday I hope the match isn't decided by play-acting or diving, I think we can all agree on that.

  8. i think one of the more ridiculous things i've seen or heard is this idea that liverpool fans would've loved for him to take an advantage from the team and club (that was legitimate anyway, based on the judgement of the officials and the laws of the game), chiefly because it would curry favor with the same media and “neutral” fanbases that have spent almost the entirety of his career here slandering him and anyone at the club who have seen fit to support him???

    you clearly know absolutely nothing about Liverpool supporters if you think that is a position we would hold….He owes the media and other fans who have been one-eyed towards him less than nothing, nevermind some sort of offering to prove his “worth”…..and even you say “well he'd still have that Evra business….” – that is even more reason to bin off this idea that owning up to one handball would revitalize his entire image; people will think ill of him no matter what he does, because it suits them to. people going on about that handball in the WC, find me a player representing my nation that wouldn't do that with a WC semifinal on the line, and i will show you a player i'd knock sense into….they should be killing themselves to get the nation there, a handball is NOTHING.

    But its enough of a stick to beat him with, as if no other player has ever done similar…..so for me and probably 99% of other supporters of liverpool or Uruguay, this media lot can jog on and continue the campaign they want to have, Luis will just keep doing everything he can to help the people who he cares most about and who care for him.

  9. Pathetic moralising about a game which has no morals, every player in the game is dishonest, they do it to win.

    Players claim a throw/corner when it was obvious it hit them last, players go down easily in and around the box, defenders pull shirts, shout for offside when it was on side. This is just the way the game is played.

    You can highlight the occasions that players have come clean, but what there’s about 4 or 5 in ten years?

    In every match there’s probably 20 or so bits of gamesmanship. Players play to the whistle, its for the officials to decide on what’s legal not the players. Suarez was hit by the ball, his hand was moving away from the ball. He probably expected for the goal to be chalked off.

    The mistake was the officials for not giving a free kick, according to the 4th official they saw it so they must have decided it was ball to hand.

    If this had been any other footballer there would be little to no fuss, but because its the devil Suarez the press have had a field day. There two types of footie fans, those who’d love Suarez in their team – and liars.

  10. Its not about Suarez's ability as a player. Its about whether fans accept cheating.

    If cheating is ok then surely putting the ball in your own net to win a bet is ok, isnt it ?

    When the outcome of games is based upon dishonesty then the whole fabric of this tainted game disintegrates. What we are watching is the evolution of the game into a farce, by diving, feigning, cheating and the perennial bribing.

    Kids copy their heores and so the next generation will build on this foundation.

    You might scoff at this but every society in history has learned that cheating the laws result in downfall. Take a look at your banks and see what greed does.

    Suarez's actions have simply brought this to the publics attention, perhaps that what he intended being the good citizen that he is.

  11. Deliberately injuring someone and ending their career should be punishable by a prison sentence.

    The officials at Mansfield judged the hand ball to be accidental.

  12. Of cause when Man U didn't play in the FA Cup to play in the World Club championship that didn't taint the FA Cup did it????

  13. What a pointless incendiary article. If I was having banter with my Liverpool supporting housemate, this sort of thing may be acceptable, however this is a blog, and all you are doing is inciting trolls to write a load of shite about the club I love (see most of the other comments).

    Yes, Suarez may not be the most wholesome footballer and if we were talking about something serious like racism, then fair enough, but we aren't, we are talking about a poxy FA Cup third round match when the officials had a very poor day. No footballer of this day and age would have owned up to handball, so get off your high horse. Yes it is unacceptable, and hopefully something can be done to improve refereeing like more interaction from the 4th official, but it is the referees responsibility to keep up with play and rule on it. If it was a player from our great club I'd be shouting from the rooftops, but it isn't, if Liverpool fans accept this sort of behaviour and that is their prerogative, it wasn't even a game against us? So that leads me to think it's just pathetic tribalism, just as bad as the half of the trolls posting nonsense comments.

    Why not maybe focus on something sensible like how we are going to stop him from scoring against us on Sunday, or how RVP is going to net the winner? Just a thought?

  14. Did Roy Carroll own up when he clearly clawed the ball from behind the line,
    did ber berbatov own up when he dived to put liverpool out of the FA cup,
    did Paul Scholes own up when he thought he was playing in goal against Fulham,
    did Fergie ever say 'eh c'mon ref our winning goal was clearly scored after too much injury time'.
    Did Rooney own up when he dived to stop arsenal's record unbeaten run.
    Did G Neville go up to. The ref and tell him he should be sent off against West Brom/stoke
    Gary Neville even said that Daniel Agger should of cheated against united after a game in September
    What about Ashley Young v's QPR last season?

  15. I am Super Bunny man Suarez,I am a Super Hero(the bucktooth is the source of my power),those Kopite Gobshyte Loved me,I can cheat,I can dived and i hate other races,I really wanted all the Liverpool kids that adore me to follow my footstep,so don't believe what your parent told you,just follow my lead, if i can cheat and be a racist,so can you,.One day if I go to the land of Barca or Madrid,dont hate me,I have to save and teach the children there so they can be like me.Remember,Mr Crowley said that its not a sin to do what yo wanna do.even if you all follow the footsep of the Urchins at Heysel its ok,cos this is Liverpoo.

  16. Wow, the last comment really illustrates the capacity of the other side to formulate a decent, sensible argument on the topic. Really thought provoking. Thanks. Other supporters of your club must be so proud.

  17. Kop4eva should read what his fellow supporters have written, if he wants to throw stones in his glass house.

    Stereotyping people from blog comments is always going to be a gross generalization but if Scousers want to live up to their stereotype then they are certainly doing a good job of it here. I am of course referencing the spelling, aggressive language and myopic nature of the response from the supporters of this once great Club that has been in decline for a very long time.

    Enjoy your Cup Final on Sunday but league points don't lie. The way back is not by slapping your way past Mansfield Town, and getting hammered by Stoke. This one game won't define United's season.

  18. Steve, it certainly isn't my intention to stereotype based on a blog comment and in that respect you are absolutely right. Your posts in response to the article stand in stark contrast to Bucktooh (sp) Cheater, so I take your point. I also agree with what you say above about the consistency of LFC performances. I believe that we are far better side than our results from the last couple of seasons show. You could probably write a thesis on why may be, but suffice to say that in Brendan Rogers I believe we now mave a manager who will restore the club to where it belongs. Consistency is what we as a club can learn from MU, and I for one believe that most MU and LFC supporters want a league where both teams are strong, so let's hope that we get back there. One thing you must be sure of is that part of what makes LFC great is the passion and belief of the supporters, both in the club and in the players. What you interpret as myopic is part of where that passion lies, and has a lot to do with why I am so offended by yours and others references to Luis Suarez as being a cheat. Having watched the video many times, it looks to me as if he was trying to withdraw his hand. He did not celebrate the goal, outside of his usual kissing of the wrist and finger. If you expect him to march up to the ref and urge the ref to disallow the goal, you are kidding yourself in my opinion. I would not expect that from any MU player, not because I don't see them as being good sports, but because that's just not the role of a professional footballer. In this regard I refer you to Paul Cox's comments in this article:


    If anything, as a reult of this incident we should be debating the merits of TV refing rather that focusing on the actions of a footballer who contributes undeniably to the game with his passion and skill. It is the ref's job to make a decision and the player's job to adhere to the decision, whether they agree with it or not.

    I hope to see your response.

  19. Excellent reply Sir.

    I accept the vast majority of what you say although I disagree in that Suarez deliberately handled the ball. The boy has previous in that regard and that influences me.

    Given this was the FA Cup, that Mansfield had fallen out of the league and the romance and sense of occasion were at the place they were , I felt sorry they were denied their day at Anfield by a man who is controversial to say the least.

    My article does not call for Suarez to be punished but for Mansfield to be compensated. Think about the fairness of that suggestion.

    Thank you for restoring some educated response to what was mostly a dumb and insult ridden series of replies.

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