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Saturday, 24 December 2011

Why Luis Suarez should be walking alone.

On Tuesday night Liverpool striker Luis Suarez was handed an eight game ban for racially abusing Manchester United full-back Patrice Evra in the Liverpool/Manchester United derby earlier this year. Since the ban was given on Tuesday both Liverpool and its fans have protested against it in defence of their player, but are the right to?

Although irrelevant, Suarez does have the demeanour of a player who goes into the “You only like them because they play for your team” category of Footballer. The racism charges aside, questionable dives, the blatant hand ball in the World Cup Quarter Final against Ghana last Summer, followed by his celebrations when Asamoah Gyan missed his last second spot-kick put him in the good books of very few. However, he has been taken to the hearts of many Liverpool fans who despite Luis’ confession of racial abuse Evra still have the same amount of love for him perhaps more.

Liverpool and its fans seem to have used an incident where their player was rightly convicted for an action we all hope is banished from Football for good to try and create sympathy for their club. Liverpool fans are complaining of the supposed bias of the Football Association towards bitter rivals Manchester United. Calling them the “Fergie’s Association”, neglecting the fact their player openly admitted to the charges in interviews.

Now maybe you could argue that Suarez is innocent because in his native Uruguay the term he used “negro” is not insulting nor derogatory, however, this is a player who is twenty-four has played around the world and spent four years playing for Ajax in the Netherlands as Paul Hayward in ‘The Telegraph’ pointed out. Is he trying to kid me that he doesn’t know that the term “negro” is offensive in Europe?

There are many Liverpool fans who are uneasy that their club, its manager and fellow fans are celebrating and supporting someone who has been convicted for racism, yet others will support him because they believe it’s standing up to Sir Alex Ferguson and the supposed biased Football Association however foolish or ignorant they may appear.

Monday, 12 December 2011

Arsenal Statues

So on Friday Arsenal unveiled three new statues outside the Emirates Stadium, one of great manager Herbert Chapman, one of Mr. Arsenal Tony Adams and one of top goalscorer Thierry Henry.

Obviously with Chapman long deceased he was deserved of a statue to go with the bronze bust which has been around since the Highbury days, Tony Adams is one of Arsenal’s longest serving captains and second highest appearance maker only beaten by David O’Leary and although you usually only receive statues when you’ve passed on, Adams deserves a trophy as much as anyone. The oddity arguably is Thierry Henry, I wouldn’t doubt that in ten years Thierry should be given a statue, he’s my favourite player of all time and a player I idolised as a kid and was influenced by when I played on a Sunday Morning, even if my play resembled Francis Jeffers. Thierry who is only 34 and still plying his craft in the US league for New York Red Bulls is an odd one, I don’t doubt Thierry deserves a statue, its just is it the right time to honour someone, especially as he’s still playing?

My guess as to why Arsene Wenger wasn’t honoured was because he is still current Arsenal manager, and he will get one when he gracefully retires, although I still maintain Wenger will go the way of Chapman and manage the side on his death bed due to how much he loves this club.

However, there are many serious nominations for statues at the Emirates, I’m going to examine a fair few who may have been unlucky to miss out.

Dennis Bergkamp – If Thierry is the King of Highbury, Dennis is considered the God of Highbury, by far one of Arsenal’s most skilful players and one everyone loves, there’s not a Football fan around who can’t help but admire Bergkamp, His influence in the 1998 and 2002 double campaigns and then experience in the 49 game unbeaten run is unmatched and what a Manchester City lack. There wouldn’t be a ‘Dennis Bergkamp Day’ if he wasn’t that good now, would there?

David Rocastle – It pains me to think I was way too young to remember Rocky’s glory days at Arsenal, but he is another legend. One of the best midfielders England and Arsenal ever had, Rocastle was immense. It would have been nice of his first club to honour someone who passed away way too soon at the young age of 33 with a statue. No-one could argue Rocky is someone who deserves some huge recognition, because ‘David Rocastle Day’ is just one day, the memories of David immortalised in a statue is forever.

Ian Wright – 185 goals, some tap ins, others tremendous efforts of skill, Ian Wright is second only to Thierry in goals scored for Arsenal. His reputation has gone down slightly since his retirement due to his media career and criticisms of Arsenal in recent years. However, everyone still loves Wrighty and he is another 1993* and 1998 double winner who deserves recognition for their grand achievements and contributions to the club.

Patrick Vieira – The influential captain of 49, count them, 49 unbeaten games, Patrick left the club with a trophy, arguably one of the best central midfielders the Premiership will ever see along with the world, Patrick won two doubles, another league title (unbeaten of course) and two more FA Cups. The scorer of some absolute screamers along with some great midfield workrate put him up there with the very best.

There are still many more who could have statues made, I’ve gone for the four I can easily think of, anyway, its ten to one in the Morning, time for some sleep.

*1993 double is the FA Cup and League Cup double.