Home > alex ferguson, Fa cup, Liverpool, Man Utd, Premiership, Soccer, Sport > Booing Evra (Let’s all calm down)

Booing Evra (Let’s all calm down)

The unfortunate thing about racism being a dominant theme in the media at the moment means that more and more incidents are set to occur like the man arrested for apparently making monkey chants at Evra on Saturday.

If he did, he’s an idiot. But the fact that he’s so focused on an opposition player (or fan) when everyone around him is focused on football, is indicative of an idiot regardless.

People who relish the abuse between fans more than a cup game with their biggest rivals are a strange breed who shouldn’t be allowed to tar all football fans with the ‘racist’ tag that’s being thrown about at the moment.

Liverpool fans 'abuse' Evra (Pic: Tom Jenkins for the Guardian)

But the criticism of booing (by people including PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor) is a joke. Liverpool fans aren’t booing Evra because they’re racist. They’re booing him because he plays for a team they hate and not only did the murky racist affair end with their star player being banned, but last time Evra was at Anfield he was kissing his badge, blowing kisses at the crowd and feigning injury (all shown in the video below) and waving imaginary yellow cards (for a dive by Downing which should also have been a booking).

Evra led the French team on a strike on what should be the world’s greatest stage, the World Cup. He regularly makes comments about ex-teammates and opposition clubs (as is his right). Evra shouldn’t be vilified for the colour of his skin but as an opposition player, booing is surely fair game.

And the ‘abuse’ Evra suffered at Anfield is the same ‘abuse’ Gerrard gets taking a corner at Old Trafford and the same ‘abuse’ Suarez will suffer in every ground from now on.

Let’s not kid ourselves here that Evra is a victim, full stop, and that booing him is a ‘disgrace’ as so many rent-a-pundits opined over the weekend. Evra’s no angel and he had his part to play in the racism incident. Both by starting it by insulting Suarez, and then complaining that Suarez called him a n*****. He didn’t.

And before I start getting abuse of my own – Suarez deserved his ban. Primarily for referring to Evra’s skin colour, but also because he blatantly lied to the FA’s commission. To say he patted Evra on the head and pinched his skin in a ‘conciliatory’ manner, was nonsense. He was trying to wind him up, and he was trying to get Evra to lash out. Both were obvious when watching the game. Had he said to the commission, “I was trying to wind him up, the same way he tried to wind me up by insulting my sister”, he would have been a reliable and accurate witness. The rest was a farce.

For the Anfield crowd to call Evra a liar doesn’t seem to me to be that big a deal. They’re defending their star player who got banned for 8 games for racism by a panel who found he wasn’t racist. Booing is more than acceptable, abuse isn’t. There were the usual stupid chants by both fans according to witnesses on Saturday, but little more when it came to Evra (bar, it seems, the idiot we’ve talked about).

Man Utd fans criticising the supposed ‘abuse’ of their left-back should probably hold their tongues. In less than two weeks  Old Trafford will be the venue for Suarez v Evra and I fully expect around 60,000 fans to be booing the Uruguayan. With justifiable cause. And presumably calling him a racist. With less justifiable cause.

  1. January 30, 2012 at 11:03 pm

    (Mostly) well said. As a linguist, I still struggle with the fact that the FA have convicted someone for saying a word in a language that they don’t understand. Received opinion would suggest that there is no direct literal translation of the Uruguayan dialect of Spanish for the word “negrete”. A Spanish-English dictionary will say that it’s “negro”, but the Uruguayan slant is that “it depends on how it is said”.

    8 games for saying something that non-Spanish speakers will not understand, with the only evidence being your admittance of it, after a bloke has insulted your sister and admitted saying that he was going to kick you seems somewhat draconian to me.

    I’m biased, I admit that, and Suarez’s attempt at the commission to not give the full truth was misguided, but 8 games for “the balance of probability” is wrong whichever way you look at it.

  2. fitz124
    February 8, 2012 at 7:59 pm

    Thanks for that – like the comment.
    I think it’s a bit absurd. I honestly find most media coverage of the situation baffling. Either Ferguson’s praise of Evra’s character is played up, or he is portrayed as a ‘victim’ of someone who the panel does not think is a racist.
    Dion Fanning in the Irish Independent has written some good stuff.

  3. February 8, 2012 at 9:03 pm

    I can’t say that I’m that impressed with the article. He is right that Liverpool’s defence was poor and inconsistent, but he has failed to grasp that they were trying their best to defend what they (and most of us Liverpool fans) still believe to be an injustice.

    He derides the nuances of language, yet that is the crux of the issue. Evra thought Suarez called him a “nigger”, which he plainly didn’t. The non-linguistic FA and the panel thought “negrete” was close enough so saw fit to ban him for 8 games. It’s simply wrong.

    Non-Liverpool fans mostly just don’t bother with the details of the facts. Suarez said something like “negro” so he’s in England now, and that’s not acceptable. Ridiculous – these are mostly the people who holiday in Spain and can’t even learn the Spanish for “please” or “thank-you”, and protest about immigrants from Poland, whilst dreaming of retiring to the Costa del Sol.

    It’s over now – the nasty little man that is Evra has won, as has his boss, the even nastier, bigger bully of a man, Ferguson, whose private gloating over this whole affair is probably the most irritating part of it. I wish I could be around in a hundred years time, when history will show that far from being the greatest manager of all time, he wasn’t even the best Manchester United manager. That honour goes to Liverpool’s own Matt Busby and Ferguson should stay in line behind him, Shankly, Paisley, Clough, Robson, Stein and Revie – all of which were far superior British club managers.

  4. fitz124
    February 8, 2012 at 10:06 pm

    I think he acknowledges Liverpool had reason to be aggrieved. I think that article is good, this one is perhaps more sympathetic. http://www.independent.ie/sport/soccer/premier-league/retreating-into-tribal-warfare-2972984.html
    I agree that non-Liverpool fans are rejoicing in this with little attention to detail. In the same way we mock Terry, Giggs, Rooney for their indiscretions so I think it’s fair game.
    Ferguson is an awful character but I disagree in terms of his achievements. He’s a nightmare with a hell of a record. He’s seen off an awful lot of managers and clubs in his time there and made some pretty ordinary players Champions League winners.
    He’ll be remembered as a winner, but with little or no affection other than die-hard United fans.

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