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Liverpool go from disaster to disaster
I read Dion Fanning's article with great admiration [Jan 8].
As a long-time supporter of Liverpool FC of African origin, I was really disappointed with the way Liverpool FC responded to the race allegation from the start. What pains me is to write as if I cared about Liverpool more than Kenny Dalglish. But it is an unavoidable conclusion that the recent Friday night episode of racial abuse from the Kop was the fruit of the posturing from Liverpool and Kenny Dalglish.
The exchange between Dalglish and a journalist at a press conference where Dalglish jibed the journalist for not using the Spanish pronunciation of 'negro' made me realise just how he has failed to see the gravity of the situation. Further, the way Liverpool reacted to the ban was so underhanded I took out all my Liverpool memorabilia and threw it in the bin. Forty years of memory in the gutter!
They declined to contest the FA ban but they tarnished the process, the committee and the victim. Who is advising them? Who thought this was the perfect strategy for a club with Liverpool's pedigree? Why hitch the reputation of a club with over 100 years of proud history to the reputation and integrity of a 24-year-old player?
I don't care what race Suarez is or what his wife calls him. Suppose I used denigrating language against a female colleague. Can I then use the excuse of my mother and sister being women? The heart of the issue is he called Evra 'negro' and Evra took offence. It matters not if he said it once or every minute for 90 minutes. It is not up to Suarez or Liverpool to tell Evra what should or should not offend him.
If lack of foresight is a sacking offence, no one at Liverpool should keep their job. It is just awful and sad to watch Liverpool lurch from disaster to disaster.
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Town's feat worthy of better coverage
Last Saturday was FA Cup third-round day in England. One story of all the ties that were played stood out and that was Swindon Town's 2-1 home win over Premier League stragglers Wigan Athletic. It made headlines practically everywhere that evening, both on radio and television, and one would have rightly assumed the papers on Sunday morning would be generous in their coverage of the achievement, especially as the manager of the Swindon team is the magnificent Paolo Di Canio. How amazed then was I to open your normally fine sports pages and see the event ignored beyond belief. Of all the reports carried, the closest thing to a shock was the MK Dons' draw with QPR. How exciting was that?
Now Swindon Town, a side I have supported as a real football fan for 20 years, may not be the most glamorous or high-profile club, which is generally fair enough considering their position in the football hierarchy, but surely this fantastic win merited considerably more coverage than it got in your publication. Believe it or not, there are people in this country who support sides from outside the fantasy world of the Premier League. When the sun shines on us like it did last Saturday, I think we deserve more.
Ladies show way by discarding pick-up
I read with interest Eamonn Sweeney's opinion on the rule changes or lack of same in Gaelic football this year [Jan 8]. I have for years been mystified by the reluctance of those in power to do away with the toe pick-up in favour of the straight pick-up, which has been part of the women's game for years.
I agree totally with Eamonn's views on the straight pick-up or scooped up version, which would absolve referees from making those ridiculous decisions as to whether a player put his boot to the ball first, whether the ball was touching the ground or was half an inch off it. To hear the decision-makers' assertion that it would lead to injuries makes one wonder are they blind to the fact that the exact same thing is equally possible with the present rule.
Furthermore, the present situation means the player following the player racing for the ball is travelling at the same speed but the front player must slow somewhat to try and execute the toe pick-up, resulting in most cases with the player on the ball being bundled over and again erroneous decisions being made by referees. This infuriates the offended player, his team-mates and the spectators. So the referee is left to pay the price for officialdom who refuse to change for the betterment of the game. Maybe some of these decision-makers feel it is beneath them to look at the female version of our games and are unable to make a balanced decision on the matter.
Please God, common sense will someday bring a more enlightened approach and we will be able to watch a more free-flowing game of football as is currently enjoyed by our female counterparts.
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