Friday 19 January 2018

McGrath blast for 'shameful' Liverpool

Soccer

Chris Bascombe

Former Manchester United defender Paul McGrath has described the Liverpool squad's public show of support for Luis Suarez as 'shameful'.

McGrath singled out Anfield defender Glen Johnson for particular criticism, saying he should have thrown down the T-shirt which sported Suarez's name and image when asked to wear it.

The entire Liverpool squad, and manager Kenny Dalglish, wore the shirt before Wednesday's fixture at Wigan to show the club's unity behind the striker, who faces an eight-match ban for racially abusing Patrice Evra.

Beyond Anfield, condemnation for the club's emotive response to the verdict of the English FA's independent commission has been relentless. McGrath, who played for Manchester United from 1982-89 and for Aston Villa from 1989-96, winning 83 Republic of Ireland caps in the process, was scathing.

"It puts the anti-racism campaign back to the beginning, as far as I'm concerned," he said.

"If I was in Glen Johnson's situation, I'd have thrown the shirt to the floor. If that had been someone in my time and I'd heard the comments or I'd even suspected he was guilty, and obviously there has been a tribunal, then I would not wear a T-shirt with his name on it, saying all is well and good here.

"Maybe Kenny (Dalglish) is trying to make a statement to the FA, but I just think it is in bad taste that he sent them out in those T-shirts. It would have been much better for Liverpool Football Club if they had have worn anti-racism shirts."

Johnson immediately responded to McGrath's comments on his Twitter account. He wrote: "I will support who I want. There are a lot of reasons why I'm standing by Luis Suarez."

crisis

Liverpool's American owners held crisis talks about the Suarez situation last night as the club considered their next course of action. It was the first time the Uruguayan was able to speak at length with senior club officials since the suspension and £40,000 fine was announced.

Liverpool are standing 100pc behind their player, reacting with unprecedented defiance against the judgment. The club's owners, John W Henry and Tom Werner, are taking a hands-on approach as they consider how a situation rapidly spiralling out of control can be resolved.

Aside from awaiting the written judgment on the case prior to an appeal, their options seem limited.

Irish Independent

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