Tag Archives: patrice

David De Gea and Patrice Evra taken out by Andy Carroll in Manchester United match at West Ham

Carroll's hit parade: De Gea and Evra feel the full force of striker in collisions that left Fergie furious (and Vidic got a crack, too)

By
Adam Shergold

PUBLISHED:

20:11 GMT, 17 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

21:10 GMT, 17 April 2013

After some lightweight performances earlier in the season, Manchester United have slowly been toughening up young goalkeeper David de Gea to cope with the rigours of the English game.

But no amount of steak and shoulder presses could prepare Spaniard for an Andy Carroll special.

The England striker clattered into De Gea shortly before half-time in this evening's match between West Ham and United at Upton Park, also taking down Patrice Evra in the process.

Collision course: David de Gea manages to punch the ball clear, but Andy Carroll (right) is already in full flight

Collision course: David de Gea manages to punch the ball clear, but Andy Carroll (right) is already in full flight

Face-to-face: There's no going back as the Spanish keeper and the England striker hurtle towards each other

Face-to-face: There's no going back as the Spanish keeper and the England striker hurtle towards each other

Smack! De Gea comes off far worse as Carroll smashes into him, with Patrice Evra sandwiched underneath

Smack! De Gea comes off far worse as Carroll smashes into him, with Patrice Evra sandwiched underneath

Both United players were left nursing bruises on the ground following the forceful barge from behind, which left Sir Alex Ferguson furious on the sidelines as referee Lee Probert declined to show Carroll a yellow.

In a sign that his 'bulking-up' programme is working, 22-year-old De Gea had come through a cluster of bodies to commandingly punch clear a corner before Carrol knocked him down.

It was very different earlier in the
season when opponents would target the keeper as a weak link and
occasionally benefit – notably when a last minute blunder cost United
three points at Spurs back in January.

Ferguson
remonstrated with the fourth official over the incident as the two
teams left the field at half-time and no doubt would have been satisfied
when Carroll was booked early in the second period for another tangle
with De Gea.

But the England striker was not finished there, appearing to catch United defender Nemanja Vidic with his elbow, leaving the Serb furious.

Grounded: Phil Jones, Robin van Persie and Rio Ferdinand appeal as those involved crash to the pitch

Grounded: Phil Jones, Robin van Persie and Rio Ferdinand appeal as those involved crash to the pitch

Furious: Sir Alex Ferguson remonstrates with officials after referee Lee Probert failed to show a yellow card

Furious: Sir Alex Ferguson remonstrates with officials after referee Lee Probert failed to show a yellow card

Round two! Carroll was booked for this collision with De Gea early in the second half

Round two! Carroll was booked for this collision with De Gea early in the second half

Given the elbow Carroll and Vidic go up for the ball and the West Ham striker appears to catch his opponent

Given the elbow Carroll and Vidic go up for the ball and the West Ham striker appears to catch his opponent

Carroll and Vidic

Manchester United look at Porto"s Alex Sandro as possible replacement for Patrice Evra

United step up left-back chase in bid to replace Evra (and Porto's Sandro tops list)

By
Simon Jones

PUBLISHED:

23:00 GMT, 24 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

13:56 GMT, 25 March 2013

Manchester United have revived their search for a left back creating further uncertainty over the long-term future of Patrice Evra.

The 31-year-old France defender, who has scored four times this season, has been in good form and there has been talk of a one-year extension to his contract which runs out in 2014.

However, United scouts watched Porto left back Alex Sandro in the recent Champions League tie against Malaga and plan to look at others in the position before the season ends.

Targeted: Alex Sandro (left) is being monitored by Manchester United

Targeted: Alex Sandro (left) is being monitored by Manchester United

United have reservations about the defensive capabilities of Evra and have studied several candidates to replace him. Everton's Leighton Baines has long been admired but his 15m valuation means an offer has yet to materialise.

United signed Alexander Buttner for 4m from Vitesse Arnhem in the summer but he has played just 10 games with only two in the Premier League.

Evra has been linked with Paris Saint-Germain, former club Monaco and Fiorentina but is eager to stay at Old Trafford.

Alex Sandro has six caps for Brazil and cost Porto 8m from Atletico Paranaense in 2011.

Declining: Despite a better season than last, Patrice Evra is not the player he once was

Declining: Despite a better season than last, Patrice Evra is not the player he once was

Luis Suarez"s behaviour unfortunate, says Sir Alex Ferguson

Suarez's behaviour last year was 'unfortunate', says Fergie as United and Liverpool prepare for grudge match

By
Paul Collins

PUBLISHED:

16:00 GMT, 9 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

16:00 GMT, 9 January 2013

Sir Alex Ferguson says the behaviour of Luis Suarez during last season’s clash with Liverpool was ‘unfortunate’ and hopes both clubs can put recent hostilities behind them for the clash at Old Trafford on Sunday.

This fixture marked marked the low point in the row that followed Luis Suarez’s racist slur of Patrice Evra at Anfield the previous October.

Having informed manager Kenny Dalglish he would shake Evra’s hand, the Uruguayan then refused, triggering a furious reaction from the Frenchman and subsequent apology from Suarez.

Saga: Suarez and Evra's infamous spat overshadowed last seaason

Saga: Suarez and Evra's infamous spat overshadowed last seaason

Saga: Suarez and Evra's infamous spat overshadowed last seaason

Saga: Suarez and Evra's infamous spat overshadowed last seaason

Evra then shook hands with Suarez at Anfield this season, leading Ferguson to conclude the action will be confined to the actual match this weekend.

‘There will always be a certain build-up to a Manchester United-Liverpool game, simply because of the history between the two clubs, the two most successful in the country,’ he told Inside United.

‘It brings its own agenda in terms of profile and pre-match discussion.

‘Last year it was unfortunate with the Suarez behaviour. I think hopefully it is behind both clubs now and we can just look forward to the game.’

Ferguson was also full of praise for Cristiano Ronaldo, who he believes has turned into ‘the complete player’ since his departure from Manchester United in 2009.

Ronaldo has once again been overlooked for the Ballon D’Or in favour of Lionel Messi, who has now collected the prestigious award on four consecutive occasions.

Missing out: Ronaldo was pipped to the Ballon d'Or by Lionel Messi once more

Missing out: Ronaldo was pipped to the Ballon d'Or by Lionel Messi once more

However, the Portugal superstar, who won it in 2008 in recognition of his phenomenal 42-goal contribution to United’s Champions League and Premier League double, remains Messi’s closest challenger.

And, for the first time since he brought Ronaldo to Old Trafford, Ferguson will have to find a way of stopping the 27-year-old next month given Real Madrid lie in wait in the Champions League.

It will not be an easy task.

Ferguson spoke to his protege in Manchester ahead of City’s encounter with Real in November, then went to the Etihad Stadium to see the winger take the Blues apart in the opening stages of what ended up being a 1-1 draw.

And the Scot has no doubt the improvement he oversaw during Ronaldo’s six-year stint at United has continued since his arrival in Spain.

‘Maturity brings many things,’ Ferguson told Inside United.

Protege: The Portuguese made his name under Ferguson

Protege: The Portuguese made his name under Ferguson

‘When I went to see them play against City, some of his decision-making in terms of passing was brilliant. One-touch passing, good crosses.

‘In the six years we had him, you just saw his game grow all the time, and he was a fantastic player.

‘Now you see the complete player.

‘His decision-making, his maturity, his experience, plus all the great skills he has got, they all make him the complete player.’

Ferguson is trying not to think about the best way to combat Ronaldo, preferring instead to concentrate on the players in his own squad and exactly who will be fit for the first leg at the Bernabeu on February 13.

‘Obviously you hope that when you draw Real Madrid it’s in the final,’ he said.

‘It will be a big, big event – we’re the two most high-profile clubs in the world and I think they will be great games.’

Cristiano Ronaldo snubbed by Pep Guardiola at Ballon d"Or

Shake, rattled and goal! Pep leaves Ronaldo hanging with cold snub at Ballon d'Or gala

By
John Drayton

PUBLISHED:

17:35 GMT, 9 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

17:35 GMT, 9 January 2013

Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra, John Terry and Anton Ferdinand, Samir Nasri and William Gallas, Terry (again) and Wayne Bridge, and now Pep Guardiola and Cristiano Ronaldo.

The snubbed handshake is fast becoming football's equivalent of unfriending someone on Facebook.

But while previous examples have had their origins in personal sleights, it seems the latest entry to the list has its origins in good old fashioned club rivalry.

Snub: Cristiano Ronaldo was left hanging by Pep Guardiola at the Ballon d'Or

Snub: Cristiano Ronaldo was left hanging by Pep Guardiola at the Ballon d'Or

Pep Guardiola

Cristiano Ronaldo

Tensions between Real Madrid and Barcelona are well known. Styles, cultures and attitudes both on and off the field are all wildly different, and with the competitive edge thrown in, it makes for a fractious relationship.

One can only speculate on the reason behind Guardiola's seemingly deliberate decision to ignore Ronaldo, though with the recent history in El Clasico gives a pretty large hint.

Red cards, close games, touchline clashes, title clinchers and cup finals have all made the meeting of Spain's top two the most enticing of matches in world football.

But when former Barca boss Guardiola was approached by Madrid ace Ronaldo, the Spaniard starred for a second before turning away, leaving the Portuguese's hand hanging.

The look on Ronaldo's face told a story of bemusement, while Pep went back to soaking up the atmosphere.

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MARTIN SAMUEL – THE DEBATE: Luis Suarez…just "wonderful", but could we have this man as the Footballer of the Year?

Luis Suarez… just 'wonderful', but could we have this man as the Footballer of the Year

/12/29/article-2254245-16A063BC000005DC-974_634x429.jpg” width=”634″ height=”429″ alt=”Kop idol: Suarez has the backing of the Liverpool supporters” class=”blkBorder” />

Kop idol: Suarez has the backing of the Liverpool supporters

Martin,
your colleague from the Times, Tony Evans, wrote a great piece last
season just after Suarez had deliberately ignored the handshake of
Patrice Evra at Old Trafford.

Evans,
a Liverpool scribe and fan, said of the Uruguayan: 'We are not talking
Ian Callaghan here. Suarez bites people. He handles the ball on the line
in World Cup Finals. He dives. He cheats. He verbally abuses opponents.
Luiz Suarez IS obnoxious.'

Enough said. Should Suarez be named Player of the year Should he hell as like.
Red Predictor, Manchester

I can completely understand this
point of view. Its existence was the crux of the piece. Yet we accept
human failings in art, and just look at the work, but expect footballers
to be morally upstanding.

Top bloke, Tony, by the way and a
true Liverpool man. I don’t actually disagree with a word he wrote
there, but would still ask whether an individual can overcome all of
those misgivings to cast a vote.

I said I would find it hard; but
you’ll notice I didn’t say for certain that I couldn’t. You have
stronger conviction on the issue, though, and I respect that.

Touch of class: Suarez took the ball on his chest before slotting home against Newcastle earlier this season

Touch of class: Suarez took the ball on his chest before slotting home against Newcastle earlier this season

Finished off: Suarez's goal against Newcastle was a perfect example of what he's capable of

Finished off: Suarez's goal against Newcastle was a perfect example of what he's capable of

Just goes to show it isn't really Footballer of the Year, it’s the nice person of the year. Ridiculous. Andypom, Wellington

No, it isn’t Andy, but some members of the Football Writers Association, young and old, do believe that being a role model is part of the package. It certainly was when the award was inaugurated and it could be argued that a positive image matters more than ever now, when there is so much dubious behaviour in the game. Not a view I subscribe to personally, but I recognise its sincerity.

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Suarez isn't good enough for the neutral to overlook all the bad things in his game. For every great goal there is an embarrassing dive. Liverpool fans forget that while they may be blinded and biased because he is scoring goals for them, all fans of other clubs see is an undoubtedly talented striker cheating and diving and screaming and stamping. Rinzler, Manchester

True, but the same could be said of many players. Club allegiances work like blinkers at times.

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I wonder who'd get ref of the year. Don’t you think it would be really
interesting to see the result of a ground-by-ground referendum on that
Jimboin, Preston

No.

Wind up: Suarez took a dive in front of Everton boss David Moyes to celebrate his goal in the Merseyside derby

Wind up: Suarez took a dive in front of Everton boss David Moyes to celebrate his goal in the Merseyside derby

Suarez is finally translating his goal scoring form from Holland to the Premier League but he needs to be able to sustain that form. A lot of players go through purple patches and later fade.
Musa, London

Absolutely. Before Suarez, I thought Juan Mata was going to be the outstanding player of the season and since the piece was written Robin Van Persie has come into his own. I was more interested in the idea that Suarez might sustain this form and how football might react to him then.

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Luis Suarez is NOT a racist. You can keep harping on about it all you like but the FA report said Suarez is not a racist; Patrice Evra said Suarez is not a racist. Yet you continue to act like he goes around with a white sheet over his head in his spare time. You are making yourself look ridiculous by continuing to portray him as the pantomime villain while your docile minions lap up every word. Simon, Swindon

Minions Minions I wish, mate. Simon, I’ve revisited the original piece and nowhere does it get into whether or not Suarez is actually racist.

It is, however, utterly disingenuous to pretend that having been banned for a substantial length of time for using racially charged language Suarez is not associated with the practice.

My point was that Suarez does have this pantomime villain status, making it hard to get the credit he deserves.

And by the way, I don’t want docility, just people who understand the argument and enjoy discussing or arguing it in a civilised way. Which I hope we’re doing here.

Spot of bother: Suarez was the World Cup villain in 2010 as he saw red for handball in the quarter-final with Ghana - but the Africans missed the penalty and the striker was a hero in Urugauy as they progressed (below)

Spot of bother: Suarez was the World Cup villain in 2010 as he saw red for handball in the quarter-final with Ghana – but the Africans missed the penalty and the striker was a hero in Urugauy as they progressed (below)

So let me get this straight Martin, you wouldn't vote for the best player in the league to pick up the best player award Metro El, Liverpool

Never said that. Read the piece. Could I vote for him, I asked, and replied: 'It would be very, very hard.'

That’s not the same as saying I couldn’t. The whole tone of the column suggested that, using my feelings towards art as a measure, I’d bite the bullet and go with the finest footballer, regardless.

Cheeky: Suarez celebrated after Uruguay dumped Ghana out of the World Cup in South Africa

Maybe the best behaved could have their own award, or perhaps even let them win Sports Personality of the Year. Izzie, Aldershot

Right, because Bradley Wiggins got that just for being a goody two-shoes.

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Society is influenced by the media. Newspapers thrive off the controversy of the characters they depict. Suarez is classed as the player people love to hate, and the bad press he is subjected to week in week out is exaggerated and biased. Palm, Kidderminster

I wouldn’t disagree there. I think each season develops a narrative which drives the news agenda and once a player is cast as a certain character it is difficult to shake off his role in the story.

I think referees are influenced by this narrative, too, as Gareth Bale is now discovering. This means the same behaviour from different individuals will then be treated differently.

Some dives are forgotten, others attract headlines. I’m not justifying or condoning that but I would also argue that good journalists try to resist this trap.

I think Suarez gets a raw deal from referees, and the press, because he has been cast as one of the bad guys.

Of course, that doesn’t mean he hasn’t contributed greatly to his own dismal reputation..

No goody two-shoes: SIR Bradley Wiggins has done alright for himself in terms of picking up honours

No goody two-shoes: SIR Bradley Wiggins has done alright for himself in terms of picking up honours

Every man commenting on here, regardless of colour, has called another man of a different skin tone a racist name at some time. Whether or not it was to the face, behind the back, in the school playground or driving the car, we have all done it. Move on. New York DJ, London

Speak for yourself mate. I’ve always thought racial language was either part of your vocabulary or not. I’m not being holier than thou, but I just don’t see how somebody is a temporary racist. You either see black men as n*****s, or you don’t.

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There is a flaw in your argument: why will Gary Glitter never be seen receiving a music award
Jimbo, Lincolnshire

Because he wasn’t any good, Jim. Come on. Look, I’ve got Rock and Roll Part 2 on my I-Pod but that’s basically a Glitter Band track with a killer riff and a bit of chanting. There’s a lot of Ike Turner on there, too. One for the ladies, as my wife always says whenever he comes on.

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If there is a black breakaway players' union in response to this, would Suarez, who is one quarter black, not be able to join; or would you have to be 100 per cent black

Would it exclude Rio Ferdinand as he's only 50 per cent black And isn't the idea of forming an exclusive union based on the lines of race in response to another player winning an award based on ability, racist Donga, York

To be fair the idea of a Footballer of the Year Award for Suarez precipitating a breakaway black union was my extrapolation of the controversy such a vote would cause, rather than any proposed event.

Your point about levels of blackness is well made though, and comes back to the Gil Scott-Heron quote about competitions among black people to be blackest.

Anything that divides is ultimately unhelpful and to split black and white players seems a backward step.

Not guilty: Suarez was accused by Wigan of stamping on David Jones this season but he escaped punishment

Not guilty: Suarez was accused by Wigan of stamping on David Jones this season but he escaped punishment

I thought sledding was a massive part of sport. Expatmac, Perth, Australia

No, sledding is a massive part of Polar exploration, like huskies and frostbite. Sledging is perceived to a part of sport, but it doesn’t have to be. And what Suarez was accused of wasn’t sledging anyway.

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Who cares who journalists make Footballer of the Year It's never mattered to anyone except the media, certainly not real football fans anyway. If Suarez finishes as top scorer there's nothing anyone can do to take that award off him. How funny it would be to see his big toothy grin receiving that trophy on the pages of your newspapers. Dobbelina, Camden

Well, the players who win the FWA award seem to care and the list of previous winners is pretty good company, too.

What you fail to understand is journalists are real football fans, too. They supported teams and paid to watch matches until work got in the way. That is why, like fans, they debate the issues, including the criteria of this award.

Now, Dobbelina, would you quit/you really make sick/with your fraudulent behaviour.

Ha ha, you’ve got to know your old school rap to get that one, which by the sounds of his alias, our friend from Camden does. So no offence taken, I hope.

Altogether now: Mistadobalina, MistaBobdobalina, Mistadobalina, MistaBobdobalina… And on that note, as we doff our caps to Del Tha Funky Homosapien (enjoy the clip), let’s try to clear a few things up.

Here is the introduction from Eric Cantona's winners’ entry on the Football Writers Association website, following his award in 1996.

'Controversial, yes, but never boring, Eric Cantona’s personality, presence, goals and achievements should be remembered more than any disciplinary excesses or references to sardines.'

Guess you didn't vote for him then, Martin. Smoke5screen, Liverpool

No, I don’t think I did. Actually, I don’t vote most years because I believe the decision is made too early when the season isn’t decided and I wouldn’t wish to commit to a view I might later contradict in a column. And, by the way, FWA members don’t vote en bloc. It’s not like the Labour leadership contest.

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Well this is a new one, comparing Suarez to an anti-Semite. Alex, Angola

No, I compared our attitude to unpalatable behaviour in the world of art to our attitudes towards sportsmen who transgress in a way that society finds unacceptable. Nowhere does it link Suarez as an individual to anti-Semitism.

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I don't know if they voted for Poet of the Year in Larkin's day but if they did he probably wouldn't win it anyway when up against poetry’s equivalent of Robin van Persie, who has been so sublime and superior to him. Nick, Sarlat

Now, look Nick, I don’t mind you voting Van Persie over Suarez, but if you’re going to come on here dissing Philip Larkin, we may have words.

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The question you should ask is: is there a better player than him No. Zanydave, Wirral

Maybe.

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If John Terry can be England captain then Luis Suarez can be player of the year.
Mooroondu, Brisbane

Terry isn’t England captain. Keep up.

Iconic: Suarez, like Kenny Dalglish during his playing days at Anfield, was handed the No 7 jersey

Iconic: Suarez, like Kenny Dalglish during his playing days at Anfield, was handed the No 7 jersey

So you're saying John Terry, a proud Englishman unlike that cheating Uruguayan, will end up winning John, Minneapolis

No. Nowhere. Absolutely nowhere. Terry is not even mentioned in the piece. Nothing to do with him at all. Sometimes it helps to read the piece rather than have your interpretation handed down by some twerp on Twitter.

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Too moralist, the British. Fabio Capello was right, they think everybody is wrong and they are right. Leaf27, Montreal

Yes, mate, that’s what’s holding the planet back: morality.

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Suarez is overrated, like Fernando Torres at Liverpool, a big fish in a little pond. He wouldn't last a season at a top club and needs more chances than Andy Cole. Wilson, Fleetwood

Seriously harsh this. I will admit that when a team is ordinary, as Liverpool are, one player can have a disproportionate influence and his ability becomes exaggerated because he is of such worth to that team.

Yet I think it is to Suarez’s credit that he is shouldering such a burden at Anfield.

As far as his chance-to-goal ratio, yes it could improve, but he is not meant to be the main goalscorer in the team. Liverpool messed up in the summer and left him marooned.

I know your post was made in November, and clairvoyance cannot be expected, but look at his performance against Queens Park Rangers on December 30, which was quite exceptional. Not just the stunning turn and straight run for the first goal, how about his contribution to the second

Steven Gerrard plays a long ball out of defence but slips as he strikes it, so it flies aimlessly into huge space on Rangers defensive left. Suarez then chases that lost cause, panicking the Rangers player who makes a hurried clearance, conceding possession.

From that, Liverpool hoof a long ball forward, Suarez wins the header and finds Stewart Downing, whose first touch is poor, but nobody has closed him down so gets another chance and plays Suarez in.

Suarez then drives into the penalty area, hits an excellent low cross which is blocked, the ball returns to him and he scores.

In that entire passage of play, the only quality contributions from either side are made by Suarez. Wonderful.

Race row: Suarez was banned for eight matches after being found guilty of abusing Patrice Evra in 2011

Race row: Suarez was banned for eight matches after being found guilty of abusing Patrice Evra in 2011

No issue in voting for Suarez. I have never seen him as a diver. I recall only one clear dive where he was getting kicked all about the pitch by some very innocent thug-like defenders. I put going over easy on an equally negative level with shirt pulling and elbows in the back of the head. HM, Dublin

Same here. Don’t necessarily agree about just a single dive from the man but I am inclined to side with a creative player over the negative one when exchanging vices.

Not helping: Suarez refused to shake Evra's hand when the pair met for the first time following the race row

Not helping: Suarez refused to shake Evra's hand when the pair met for the first time following the race row

He has
been associated with too much of football’s dark side, as you state,
because it is all journalists ever talk about. There is never any
mention of him being a loyal, decent family man, the amount of spare
time he has spent in South Africa and his charity work. Chris, Fife

This is Chris Rock’s argument about people wanting credit for stuff they
are supposed to do. Loyal family man Millionaire that gives to
charity What do you want, a cookie

Would Marouane Fellaini at Everton not be up there He dominates every time he is on the pitch. Hard-working, honest midfielder who seems to run games for fun. Barto7, Liverpool

Yes he would. Yet after the performance against Stoke City before Christmas and his ban, would some now say he should be excluded This is one of my points: nobody’s perfect.

Demolition derby: Everton defender Sylvain Distin was raging with Suarez for this challenge

Demolition derby: Everton defender Sylvain Distin was raging with Suarez for this challenge

Translation: the football writers’ Footballer of the Year is a popularity contest and therefore worthless. Gray, Liverpool

Translation: you find it hard to grasp some pretty simple concepts and may need to concentrate more. Thank heavens for our next poster.

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Treason is only a matter of timing, as
the saying goes. If Larkin and Pound were about today, producing their
works while espousing their views, it would take a huge effort to see
past the man and into the written word. Society would rightly condemn
them and probably, for the most part, ignore their work.

They've
benefited from the passing of time, and a society whose condemnations
are tempered, rightly or wrongly, by a sense of 'that's what it was like
back then'.

You don't have to be a role model to win Footballer of the
Year, but you do have to avoid being the kind of player Suarez is. He
might be good at football, but can you really brush the racist comment,
the very obvious diving and the catalogue of video evidence which shows
him being reckless in the challenge, under the carpet

His antics make
it too hard to separate the player from the man. Fats, London

Very hard to take issue with any of that, Fats. You are probably right
that modern sensibilities have changed thought processes and a
right-wing extremist in the arts would be marginalised.

I’m thinking of
the controversy that surrounded Morrissey when he toyed with nationalist
imagery a few years ago, or the reaction to the anti-gay lyrics of
reggae dancehall tracks like Boom /12/29/article-2254245-16AE5851000005DC-397_634x388.jpg” width=”634″ height=”388″ alt=”Tasty A Dutch paper branded Suarez the 'Cannibal of Ajax' after he bit PSV's Otman Bakkal during a game” class=”blkBorder” />

Tasty A Dutch paper branded Suarez the 'Cannibal of Ajax' after he bit PSV's Otman Bakkal during a game

The writer isn't saying Suarez shouldn't win it, he's saying that he won't – not because he thinks that he shouldn't, but because others think that he shouldn't. Tommy, Belfast

Thanks, Tommy, and I mean that. Would you be interested in providing a weekly translation service for the column It would really help some people: I’m particularly thinking Piers Morgan. And this next bloke.

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You say Suarez is the best player in the Premier League by a mile, yet you won't vote for him. That says more about you than it does about him. You're not voting for Footballer of the Year, your vote is going to someone you'd like to be mates with. Where is the merit in that
Rocky Soul, United Kingdom

Where does it say I wouldn’t vote for Suarez I said I’d find it hard, that’s all. As for being mates, is that how you think it works I voted for you, please be my friend. I’ve got friends. Nice friends. I didn’t get them by pressing a red button.

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Do you think Suarez would care about being Footballer of the Year, especially one voted for by the Fleet Street hacks who plague Twitter spreading their lies and bile Doubt it. He is a team player and all about Liverpool. He can be an idiot at times, but show me a top player who hasn’t been these days. Fowler1070, Liverpool

Oh, come on, I’m not having that. It doesn’t go with the territory that to succeed in football, or sport, ethical behaviour must go out of the window. Lionel Messi seems to do all right, or Juan Mata.

As for Twitter, I’m not on it mate. Never will be. With a name like Fowler1070, it sounds as if you are though. Apologies if I’m wrong.

At his best: Suarez scored a hat-trick against Norwich earlier this season

At his best: Suarez scored a hat-trick against Norwich earlier this season

The award is for best footballer, not best person. If Suarez was English the author would have a different view. Andrew, Bridgend

That’s not true, Andrew. If John Terry was a contender for Footballer of the Year I would have written exactly the same piece. But he’s not.

………………………………………………………………………….

So let's sum up the cons against Suarez. He once called Patrice Evra something inoffensive in Spanish-speaking countries, a year ago, and the Daily Mail claims diving is eliminated from football whenever Suarez is not on the pitch. You guys have built a silly hype around him and robbed yourselves of watching this fantastic talent due to a witch hunt. Reality Check, London

Get real. Without revisiting old ground what Suarez said is not inoffensive in Spanish-speaking countries; it depends on the context. And nobody is deprived of watching Suarez.

The whole article was in praise of him as a footballer, which suggests I take great pleasure in his ability. Indeed, to even flag up his potential to be Footballer of the Year is a tribute.

I think Suarez is a wonderful player. I couldn’t really have made that clearer. For the alternate view, however…

Goals galore: Suarez has been finding the net this season

One unsavory incident should exclude a player from receiving this award. To win Footballer of the Year, a player should have shown exemplary character aligned with superb footballing intellect. He should be technically superior to his peers, able to show discipline on the pitch and be an example to young players. Robbie G, Dunbar

Wow, let’s hope Mother Theresa has a left foot because if Robbie gets his way, she’ll be the only candidate next year.

Tough standards from our man from Dunbar and we’ll have to leave it there, I’m afraid.

Thank you to all who contributed, even though you didn’t know what you were contributing to at the time.

No doubt the views of Mr G will find favour with some inside the Football Writers’ Association, but if Suarez continues to play as he did at Loftus Road, this one will run and run.

Swansea 1 Manchester United 1 – Match report

Swansea 1 Manchester United 1: Reds frustrated as Michu's goal gives Swans share of the points

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UPDATED:

16:13 GMT, 23 December 2012

Manchester United missed the chance to extend their lead in the title race to six points as Michu came out on top in the battle of the Barclays Premier League's top scorers at the Liberty Stadium.

Patrice Evra had given United the lead in the 16th minute as he headed home from a Robin van Persie corner.

But Swansea continued their good record against the top-flight big guns as Michu finished from close range to move clear of Van Persie with his 13th league goal of the season.

Flat out: Michu makes it 1-1 as goalkeeper David de Gea lies on the ground

Flat out: Michu makes it 1-1 as goalkeeper David de Gea lies on the ground

Match facts:

Swansea: Vorm, Tiendalli, Chico, Williams, Davies, Dyer, Britton (Ki 62), Agustien (Shechter 88), De Guzman (Moore 71), Routledge, Michu.

Subs not used: Tremmel, Graham, Monk, Richards.

Goal: Michu 29

Booked: De Guzman, Williams

Man Utd: De Gea, Jones, Evans, Vidic, Evra, Valencia (Hernandez 62), Carrick, Cleverley (Scholes 86), Young, Rooney (Giggs 78), van Persie.

Subs not used: Lindegaard, Welbeck, Fletcher, Buttner.

Goal: Evra 16

Booked: Jones, Rooney, Van Persie, Scholes

Referee: Michael Oliver

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United will hold a four-point lead over Manchester City at Christmas but will be left to rue a series of missed chances during the final half hour when they piled the pressure on their hosts.

Swansea felt they had shown United too much respect during this fixture last season but, after a slow start, they showed little sign of being overawed as they took the game to the visitors.

Dwight Tiendalli flashed a threatening ball across the six-yard box before Kemy Agustien freed Michu with a superb long ball, but the Spaniard sliced high and wide.
David De Gea easily saved weak efforts from Wayne Routledge and Michu, but United halted the hosts' building momentum as they took the lead.

Wayne Rooney had already warmed Michel Vorm's hands with a stinging drive before Evra put the visitors ahead, arriving to glance a header in off the far post from a Van Persie corner.

But Swansea recovered well from the blow and Jonathan de Guzman had the ball in the net two minutes later, but the effort was ruled out for Michu blocking off Jonny Evans as the midfielder advanced.

All square: Michu scores the equiliser for Swansea

All square: Michu scores the equiliser for Swansea

Levelling up: Michu celebrates making it 1-1 just before the half hour mark

Levelling up: Michu celebrates making it 1-1 just before the half hour mark

The Liberty Stadium faithful were further angered when Phil Jones was given only a yellow card for a clumsy lunge on Ben Davies, although replays suggested referee Michael Oliver had got the decision right.

But it was United who felt they had been victims of an injustice as Michu levelled on the half hour mark.
Evra was caught out by De Guzman's clever run and when De Gea could only parry the Dutchman's angled shot, Michu was on hand to tap in.

Not going to plan: Wayne Rooney , Robin van Persie and Michael Carrick look on after Swansea level the scores

Not going to plan: Wayne Rooney , Robin van Persie and Michael Carrick look on after Swansea level the scores

Sir Alex Ferguson was visibly angered that Van Persie was not awarded a free-kick after he and Chico Flores went to ground following the Spaniard's challenge seconds before the equaliser, and the United boss made his feelings known to referee Oliver at the break.

The goal added an extra bite to Swansea's play and they had the better of the remainder of the opening half.
De Guzman and Routledge were becoming increasingly influential for the hosts and the former should have done better after working his way into the United box on the byline, only to shoot straight at De Gea with several team-mates well placed.

High riser: Patrice Evra heads United into the lead

High riser: Patrice Evra heads United into the lead

Head boy: Patrice Evra watches his header go in the back of the net

Head boy: Patrice Evra watches his header go in the back of the net

Goal rush: Evra celebrates scoring his third goal of the season

Goal rush: Evra celebrates scoring his third goal of the season

But United offered a remainder of their quality in first half stoppage time when Evra easily got past Nathan Dyer and intelligently pulled the ball back to Rooney, but the England forward fired directly at Vorm.

The second half started at a furious pace and there were chances for both sides.

Michu again headed over and De Gea had to stand firm to repel Routledge's close-range strike.

Body on the line: Ashley Williams gets across to block Wayne Rooney's shot

Body on the line: Ashley Williams gets across to block Wayne Rooney's shot

At the other end Ashley Williams made two superb blocks to stop goalbound efforts from Rooney and Ashley Young after Swansea twice surrendered possession cheaply.

United were finally exerting some authority and Van Persie came close to putting them back in front as he cleverly diverted a Rooney cross goalwards, only to see his effort cannon away off the bar.

Substitute Javier Hernandez wasted another presentable chance as he failed to control Van Persie's astute pass and Vorm gratefully held the Mexican's deflected strike.

Looking for his man: Ashley Young prepares to cross the ball

Looking for his man: Ashley Young prepares to cross the ball

Off target: Williams again gets in the way, this time to stop Van Persie

Off target: Williams again gets in the way, this time to stop Van Persie

Protecting the ball: Nathan Dyer fends off the challenge of Evra

Protecting the ball: Nathan Dyer fends off the challenge of Evra

Worse was to follow for United when Rooney dispossessed Chico Flores but allowed the defender to get back and intercept a slack pass which should have given Hernandez an easy finish, much to the fury of his manager.

Tempers flared as United frustrations grew. Van Persie was struck on the head by a Williams clearance after being brought down on the edge of the box leading to some pushing and shoving and a booking apiece for the central protagonists.

Head case: Williams lashes the ball against the neck of floored United striker Van Persie

Head case: Williams lashes the ball against the neck of floored United striker Van Persie

Pulled apart: Williams and Van Persie had to be separated by their team-mates

Pulled apart: Williams and Van Persie had to be separated by their team-mates

Ref rage: An angry Sir Alex Ferguson complains to fourth official Lee Probert after the incident

Ref rage: An angry Sir Alex Ferguson complains to fourth official Lee Probert after the incident

Swansea were by now under incessant pressure.

Vorm tipped a Carrick header against the bar while Van Persie and Young were denied by blocks from Williams and Davies, although there was a suspicion of handball about the latter, as Swansea held out.

Foreign players set for British culture lessons following Luis Suarez and John Mikel Obi race rows

Foreign players set to be sent for lessons on British culture in bid to avoid repeat of Suarez-Evra race row

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UPDATED:

09:52 GMT, 11 December 2012

Foreign footballers arriving in
Britain to play in the Premier League may have to take cultural lessons
as part of a series of measures to try to stamp out race-related
offences in the game.

More than 60 per cent of players in
the English top flight – and around 20 per cent of players in the
football league – are foreign, although the number is falling year on
year.

Controversy: Liverpool's Luis Suarez (left) received ban for abusing Manchester United's Patrice Evra

Controversy: Liverpool's Luis Suarez (left) received eight-match ban for racially abusing Manchester United's Patrice Evra

These lessons on the ‘British cultural environment’, which essentially offer foreign players a crash course on life in England, form a key part of a new Government proposal.

It is a response to Prime Minister David Cameron’s demands for tougher action to tackle discrimination in football at an anti-racism summit back in February.

According to the BBC, the giant document ‘English Football’s Inclusion and Anti-Discrimination Action Plan’ – which contains 93 points – will also recommend that clubs bring in mandatory anti-discrimination clause in all players’ and managers’ contracts.

Premier League football has been blighted by a run of embarrassing high-profile cases. Liverpool striker Luis Suarez was banned for eight games by the FA for racially abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra.

Fall out: Referee Mark Clattenburg was wrongly accused by Chelsea's John Obi Mikel

Fall out: Ref Mark Clattenburg was falsely accused by Chelsea's John Obi Mikel

The case revolved around the semantic ambiguity of the word ‘negrito’. It is a term widely used in Suarez’s native Uruguay but the FA dismissed the argument claiming Suarez should and would have known better.

More recently, former England captain John Terry was banned for four matches for racially abusing QPR defender Anton Ferdinand, Chelsea falsely alleged that referee Mark Clattenburg had racially abused John Mikel Obi, Norwich defender Sebastien Bassong accused Swansea City supporters of making racist gestures towards him and Manchester police are investigating alleged racist abuse during the Manchester derby.

The Government are hoping to make an announcement before the end of the year, but any new protocol would not come into effect until next season.

Patrice Evra: I can only leave Manchester United by killing Sir Alex Ferguson

The only way I can leave United is by killing Fergie, jokes PSG target Evra

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UPDATED:

15:30 GMT, 10 December 2012

Patrice Evra has joked that he would have to kill Sir Alex Ferguson before ever leaving Manchester United.

The left-back has been heavily linked with a move to Paris-Saint Germain.

The French newspaper Le Parisien reported on Friday that a meeting had taken place at Camp des Loges between the PSG manager Carlo Ancelotti, the Director of Football, Leonardo and the President Nasser Al-Khelafi, in which Evra was identified as the club's principal transfer target, ahead of Ashley Cole.

No move: Evra, with Ferguson after United's win over City on Sunday, has dismissed talk of a move to the French giants

No move: Evra, with Ferguson after United's win over City on Sunday, has dismissed talk of a move to the French giants

However, Evra has revealed that he is settled at United, and said: 'You'd have to kill Ferguson before I could come to Paris. There is nothing done and I'm happy in Manchester.'

Nonetheless, Evra, 31, will be aware that his United contract expires in the summer of 2014, and it has been the club's policy in recent years to only offer a one-year extension to the contract of any player over 30 years of age.

With the prospect of a bumper wage package and greater job security at PSG, Evra could be forgiven for being tempted by the possibility of joining the richest club in France, who have signed a plethora of world-class talent including Thiago Silva and Zlatan Ibrahimovic in recent seasons.

Take Zlat: Ibrahimovic is PSG's best-known player

Take Zlat: Ibrahimovic is PSG's best-known player

And Evra admitted to Le10 Sport that there is an attraction: 'Paris is the capital club and I've never hidden my love for Paris, even if Monaco remain my club. It always hurts my heart to see the club not win the championship or qualify for the Champions League. It is always a pleasure to be coveted, especially since I'm Parisian.'

Evra, who joined United in January 2006 from Monaco, has become an integral part of Ferguson's side in the last six years, even assuming the captaincy in the absence of the injured Nemanja Vidic for much of the last year.

He has won four Barclays Premier League titles and a Champions League since arriving at Old Trafford.

Graham Poll: Alex Ferguson might have felt he was playing against 12 men after Martin Atkinson performance

Graham Poll's official line: Ferguson might have felt he was playing against 12 men

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UPDATED:

22:56 GMT, 9 December 2012

Sir Alex Ferguson said he felt as though he was playing against 12 men when Martin Atkinson refereed an FA Cup defeat against Portsmouth in March 2008. He could well have felt the same yesterday at the Etihad.

Last week, his counterpart Roberto Mancini claimed that United’s Ashley Young was an expert diver but it was Yaya Toure who threw himself to the floor after no contact from an opponent in the 25th minute. While Atkinson was not fooled, it is not good enough to wave play on — the player must be cautioned.

Ferguson’s pre-match psychological effort to pressure the referee revolved around City getting soft penalties; he might have reflected on that when Atkinson denied United a clear penalty when Patrice Evra was felled by Kolo Toure.

Firm hand: Referee Martin Atkinson talks to United's Rio Ferdinand (left) and Danny Welbeck

Firm hand: Referee Martin Atkinson talks to United's Rio Ferdinand (left) and Danny Welbeck

He might still have been fuming at his side being denied a three-goal lead when Young followed up a Robin van Persie shot which rebounded straight to him.

Assistant referee Peter Kirkup incorrectly signalled that Young was in an offside position when Van Persie shot, but replays confirmed that Young was clearly onside.

Atkinson had really tried to keep his yellow card in his pocket, waiting until the 52nd minute to caution Samir Nasri for dissent. Another City player, Carlos Tevez, was also cautioned for dissent and was very lucky not to get another yellow when he gave away the free-kick from which Van Persie scored the winner.

Trouble: Carlos Tevez appears to mimic Atkinson as he's shown a yellow card

Trouble: Carlos Tevez appears to mimic Atkinson as he's shown a yellow card

Booked! Atkinson flashes a yellow card at United's Phil Jones

Booked! Atkinson flashes a yellow card at United's Phil Jones

However, it should have been a straight red card for the Argentine when he kicked an opponent right in front of Atkinson, but again City benefited from his benevolence.

It is said that it is better to be lucky than good. After Manchester United won despite these mistakes, I am sure Atkinson would agree.

FA to change penalties after John Terry and Luis Suarez incidents

FA ready to stamp on racists with new punishments for abuse

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UPDATED:

21:54 GMT, 8 December 2012

The FA is ready to introduce mandatory eight-game bans for any racial abuse in the wake of the John Terry affair.

And clubs whose players are repeat offenders could also be charged and fined under new guidelines being drawn up to revamp the FA regulations on combating racism.

The FA's independent disciplinary commission were criticised after only imposing a four-game ban on Chelsea captain Terry after he was found to have racially abused QPR's Anton Ferdinand

Controversy: Chelsea's John Terry (right) was banned for four matches after being found guilty of abusing Anton Ferdinand (centre)

Controversy: Chelsea's John Terry (right) was banned for four matches after being found guilty of abusing Anton Ferdinand (centre)

Liverpool's Luis Suarez only received an eight-game ban after he was ruled to have repeatedly abused Manchester United full-back Patrice Evra.

However, from next season any incident of proven racial abuse will result in at least an eight-game ban, with the possibility of those found guilty missing 10 or 12 matches under discussion.

And a rule which would allow the FA to charge and fine clubs for the actions of their players is a further attempt to ensure clubs communicate the importance of the issue.