IN a week where it’s clear that a career in the Argentinian diplomatic corps doesn’t beckon for Carlos Tevez after he stops playing football, it’s another South American, Luis Suarez, who is yet again making the headlines for all the wrong reasons.
No one can condone Suarez’s action, quite simply he should have shook Patrice Evra’s hand, but the aftermath of the whole incident does also throw up another issue.
There is no doubt that Sir Alex Ferguson is a football legend, but as has been mentioned in certain quarters in recent days, there is almost a serious question of double standards.
He stood by arguably his best player at the time when Eric Cantona attacked an opposing fan.
One of his international players missed a drug test and was subsequently banned, yet no condemnation.
Another one of his star players did his bit for the veteran call girl industry.
And, finally, one of Manchester United’s all-time greats goes to court to stop an extra-marital affair being revealed in the media, before another revelation that he’d been having an additional affair with his sister-in-law, but no meaningful comment from the manager, yet Suarez doesn’t shake hands and Fergie says he’s a disgrace and should never play for Liverpool again.
The whole situation is intensified by the two clubs involved. As serious as the offence was, as there is no place for racism in society, let alone football, would it have received the same media attention had Suarez played for Fulham, Wigan or Bolton?
Unfortunately, the die is cast. Unless he makes a Lazarus-like comeback, Luis Suarez will exit English football in the summer, however, financially secure, a sadder but, hopefully, wiser individual as a result of the whole sorry episode.
Very much a case of two points dropped for the Albion against Millwall on Tuesday night, but all credit to the visitors for a spirited display.
Having won at Leeds on Saturday, most supporters would have been more than happy with four points from the two games, but the trip this weekend to Liverpool is an, albeit, pleasant double-edged sword.
Liverpool have had their own problems off the field this week, and with one eye on the Carling Cup final the following week, a classic FA Cup shock is not beyond the realms of possibilty.
The Albion famously won at Anfield in 1983, and came back from 2-0 down in 1991 to force a replay, which they narrowly lost at the Goldstone.
But, would an extended cup run act as a hindrance to any play-off campaign?
In some ways, it’s a no-brainer. Victory on Sunday, or even a draw, puts the Albion in the last eight of the FA Cup, potentially one game from Wembley with the current semi-final policy.
That kind of activity around the club can only build confidence and perhaps, most importantly, firm up the fanbase. The opening of the Amex was always going to create a buzz, the real key is to maintain the momentum.
I couldn’t sign off without the traditional Harty prediction. Excuse the pun but, hand on heart, with the players the Albion have in their squad, no result would truly surprise me.
Clearly, what has gone on at Liverpool off the field this week could be a factor.
I’m predicting that Liverpool will be the first team to play the Albion twice at the Amex, as I hope Sunday will end in a 1-1 draw.