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How would Arsenal behave if it were faced with Liverpool’s problems?

By Tony Attwood

Arsenal and Liverpool have both suffered controversies over the years although I think it is fair to say Arsenal have never had to deal with the sort of problem issues that Liverpool have had to face.

The greatest controversy for Arsenal is the fact that Arsenal the first League club in English football to have their ground closed – in 1895 for 6 weeks, when the crowd beat up the referee after a game against Burton Wanderers on 26 January.

Initially it was proposed that the Manor Ground should be closed for the rest of the 1894/95 season but on appeal this was reduced to six weeks.

However even in those days Arsenal did not get a fair hearing for an almost identical situation at Wolverhampton Wanderers’ ground the following season led to a closure of two weeks.  There was however no closure of the Manor ground when the Tottenham goalkeeper left the goalmouth, moved behind the goal and punched a fan who was subjecting him to “foul and insulting language” around the same time.

A different controversy at Arsenal involved Tony Adams On who on 19 December 1990, just two years after becoming captain of the club, was imprisoned for four months (serving two, as is the norm for prisoners who behave in prison), on a drink driving offence.  Arsenal continued to pay him during this period and immediately welcomed him back into the fold upon release.

A further controversy we might mention was an incident that started the whole issue of evidence from TV superseding the referee.  In 1988 Paul Davis was banned for nine matches for punching Glenn Cockerill of Southampton following a “dispute” between the two which had started at the Dell on April 9 1988.  At the start of the following season Paul delivered a very firm blow to Cockerill which the ref didn’t see.

Spotting some free publicity ITV ran their film footage over and over again on the news, and handed them over to the FA.  Paul got banned for nine games.  George Graham immediately banned both broadcaster’s news cameras from the stadium.

And that’s about it as far as I can remember, and of course none of these issues are like the Suarez incident when he racially abused Patrice Evra at Anfield in October 2011.  Commentators have said that on that occasion, Liverpool’s management of the immediate aftermath of the situation appeared chaotic.

Liverpool however are good in retrospect for their do not ignore the Heysel stadium attack by Liverpool fans on the opposition fans on May 29 1985.   39 fans died (32 from Italy, four from Belgium and one from N Ireland) when a wall collapsed as Liverpool fans sought to get a Juventus fans.  at the Heysel stadium in Belgium. What should have been one of the greatest nights in the club’s history turned into a nightmare.

There is an article on the site, as I say, but it is also self-serving with talk of Liverpool having “objected to the choice of ground to stage the final well before the friendly banter outside the stadium began to turn nasty inside,” and talk of both sets of fans baiting each other, with missiles being thrown by both sides.

Their actual commentary on the final even however is that “some Liverpool fans charged at their Italian counterparts and, as chaos took over, Juventus fans fled only for a wall blocking their escape to collapse on top of them. Thirty-nine football supporters died where they fell.”

Kenny Dalglish is quoted as saying, “The fact that fatalities might result wouldn’t have occurred to the Liverpool fans when they ran across.”

So yes, it is there on the site, but I am not sure that giving more space to the background and excuses for the behaviour than the event is right.  For me, and this of course is a totally personal view, it gets too close to excusing a drunken driver who has just killed people in another car, by saying that although he was driving too fast, so was the driver of the car he hit.  In the end, for me, excuses stop.

So we come to Liverpool’s current trouble, and for the moment they are silent about the fact that their player bit another on the field of play for the third time, having also had one near miss and who was also banned for eight games on 15 October 2011 for racial abuse.

The headline in the Independent “Liverpool will not allow Suarez to leave for Barcelona for less than £80m” doesn’t really give one a feeling that the club is accepting that they have a person on their hands who might not be doing the image of the club as a bastion of decency and moderation any good.

Thus I ponder what Arsenal would have done having signed such a deeply disturbed player.   Suarez need psychological help, but it appears that when he has been offered it he has turned the offer down.  That is where the current issue starts.  Suarez needs help, and what Liverpool ought to do, and what I hope Arsenal would have done first and foremost, is tell him, that until psychologists and psychiatrists tell the club that he has attended sessions and started to make serious progress, he really can’t play.

But that, I suspect, is asking far too much of a club who still have on their web site the comment that when the Liverpool fans ran towards the Italian fans, they didn’t know anyone was going to die.

The Books

 

 

46 comments to How would Arsenal behave if it were faced with Liverpool’s problems?

  • Gareth Chai

    The situation with Suarez is Real and Barca are still willing to buy the player, and were willing to offer 80 over million plus player exchange. You don’t expect Liverpool to simply cancel his contract and let him go elsewhere on a free. It makes no sense financially. If he is one of Arsenal’s players, I do not think Wenger will release him when Spain is waving their mega bucks at him.

  • Shard

    While at Ajax, Suarez bit a player and that was it. He never played for that club again. It was the reason I didn’t want Arsenal to sign him then, and presumably that incident played a part in Arsenal passing up on him. (although he wasn’t cheap – Liverpool had just sold Torres)

    Liverpool backed him to the hilt during the Evra incident, which although might have been down to cultural differences, still showed Suarez as unrepentant and unwilling to learn and change. Liverpool wearing T-shirts in support of him obviously sent out the message that he doesn’t need to learn and that he was a victim in it all.

    Then he bit someone the second time in his career. This time Liverpool’s PR department handled it better, and they made some right noises about Suarez’s behaviour not being good enough, but unlike Ajax, they held on to the player, to the extent of lying about his release clause. When (If?) Arsenal bid for him, they were taking a risk. A risk no one else was willing to take even at the supposedly reduced price of 40m. Liverpool held on to him and not only did they receive praise for this stand, they also openly (and also indirectly) mocked Arsenal.

    Now that Suarez has bitten someone again, some of their fans are defending him again by bringing up broken legs or violent behavior as comparisons. By saying that it is unfair Liverpool are being punished. It is not, and if anything, Suarez got off very lightly. A 4 month ban, half of which has no competitive football, is not a huge sentence. This is the 3rd time in his career, (that we know of) that he’s bitten someone. Who can say he won’t do it again? Especially when the people around him -such as the Uruguayan coach, players, press and fans,and maybe even Liverpool too – keep giving him the impression that he is more the victim than to blame.

  • Bishop Brennan

    Couple of things; a) please stop writing about Liverpool because this is supposed to be an Arsenal blog (but then ask any Chelsea, spurs, united fan and they will say you are the great voyeurs’ of football)and b) and most importantly, can you please return to school to learn the basics of grammar. As well as being opinionated bigoted crap, your magnum opus was also completely unreadable. Thanks in advance for your cooperation

  • Ethan

    What about Hillsborough? That is a huge part of LFC history. 96 innocent people died on that day , it is a huge part of LFC history

  • Shard – completely agree with your reply. The suspension, in my view, is too lenient and the fact his international colleagues and representatives have backed him is nothing short scandalous.

  • gouresh

    Heres a question. How can FIFA ban a player from internal matches? I am sure Liverpool will be looking at this if there is grey area in the rule book.

  • silverfox

    So the question is, why did Arsenal bid 40m to buy him?

  • Mike T

    @Tony

    Don’t know if is a age thing or what but surely both in terms of controversies at Arsenal and possibly to illustrate how your club would deal with such an issue I am surprised that you didn’t mention bung gate!

    I don’t want to go over the Terry incident but following a complaint from a member of the public The Met became involved but in relation to Suarez I was always surprised the Mersyside Police didn’t get involved. I know for a fact (it wasn’t me gov) a Chelsea supporter made contact with them and asked them to take action for what was an assault outside the rules of the game

    @ gouesh

    FIFA quite simply are the World Wide governing. They were involved because the rules say they can be. Its not a grey area at all its just that it happens so rarely.

    Think of it this way he committed an offence whilst playing in a competition run by FIFA so they, handed out a ban that applies worldwide. Its no different to say a player being banned in say Nigeria that ban follows the player wherever they go and has to be served even if they move on to play under another footballing body.

    I never heard any Liverpool supporter argue that when he was banned in Holland for a biting offence that the ban shouldn’t be served when he signed for Liverpool as they don’t play in a completion played under another footballing bodies jurisdiction.

    Blatter hasn’t said a lot about the matter but the suggestion is that their discipline system looked at the players past history in respect of this type of offence .

    I guess like the FA did last season so Holland FA imposed a 7 game ban, English FA 10 games and now FIFA crank that up even further.

  • oldgroover

    Is it just me or does anyone else think this is an unnecessary & provocative article about issues that have already been discussed at length here (and on other forums) and are no longer of any meaningful interest?

  • blacksheep63

    i guess the answer to your question Tony is we don’t know. If Tony Adams had been an average player and not captain would he have eased back into the squad? What of Eric Cantona at Man U; his offence is more on a par with Count Suarezula. Liverpool strikes me a city with a victim mentality and the club in particular. Hillsborough was a tragedy and an avoidable one but you are right to point out that Heysel doesn’t get anything like the same attention. Personally I think Suarez should be banned from all football activity for a season and made to seek medical help. That way he can address his issues and return a better person (and possibly a better player). If FIFA won’t impose that Liverpool should; in doing so they would set the standard for everyone else and be a great club again.
    but I’m not holding my breath…

  • nicky

    Standards of behaviour on the field of play appear to have changed over the years.
    As football clubs have become important instruments of big business, so the defence of outright thuggery during games has become the norm.
    Already Liverpool are reported to have begun a protest procedure over the punishment of Suarez by FIFA.
    I can’t help recalling a prospective Arsenal signing being abandoned in the 1930’s “due to his unpleasant table manners”.
    It seems sadly automatic that the thugs of the modern game, like Keane, Shawcross, Barton, should invariably be defended by the club manager, regardless of the
    bodily harm they created.
    The time has come I believe, when the Police should step in and prosecute more cases under the law of our land.

  • bjtgooner

    Following the second biting offense Liverpool would appear to be at fault for not insisting that Suarez was assessed by a psychologist/psychiatrist, followed by treatment and final assessment before being allowed back on the playing field.

    Under the Duty of Care Regulations (assuming they apply to football) I would have thought Liverpool would have been aware of their obligation to Suarez and to his potential victims.

    Now that the biter has struck for the third time Liverpool must surely go down the corrective and preventative route before Suarez plays again – assuming he is not sold. Further, I would have thought the FA and FIFA would be insisting on treatment during the 4 month ban and assessment before being allowed to play again.

  • bjtgooner

    @Tony

    An afterthought – taken from your title: –

    “How would Arsenal behave if it were faced with Liverpool’s problems?”

    We could ask “How would Arsenal be treated by the media if Suarez was our player.”

    One could speculate that the media would in such circumstances respond very differently!

  • Red Rev

    This is a deliberately provocative article. Re: Heysel. In the 80s there was a very bad culture in football. My father took me to Reading FC and sharpened coins were routinely thrown onto away fans. This is what the 80s were like. When Pompey FC used to come to Reading the shops would close up and put shutters over the shop windows. People were literally scared as they knew there would be trouble in the town centre. Liverpool fans were no worse than any other club it is just that their matches were seen on TV more often as they were in Europe and other teams were not so much. At Heysel Italian fans were throwing missiles onto the liverpool fans. The police didn’t stop it. The liverpool fans defended themselves. Yes they charged the Italians and a wall collapsed. Hindsight is a wonderful thing. What would you have done under the same circumstances in the 80s, I wonder? Just stand there and get hit by a missile in the head?

  • Silver fox, there is no evidence that it was a serious bid. Arsenal were bidding £42m for Ozil and were desperate to hide the fact until the last minute – not least because of the way Tottenham had got wind of the story and were trying to stop it. The details are on this site.

  • Ethan I agree with you entirely. I am writing here about events where the club or its supporters are to blame or are directly associated with blame – my suggestion being that Liverpool knew exactly what they were getting with Suarez and so were associated with his behaviour because of that.

    To link any of this with Hillsborough would be ludicrous in my view.

  • I am sorry you have not read and understood the mast head of this site. It is football news from an Arsenal perspective. As for my “magnum opus” given that I have written around 80 books I am not sure what you are talking about.

  • Micheal Ram

    As much as other scouts, agents and clubs have learned about Arsene’s secret scoutings and transfers, don’t you Arsene has learned the wits and dirty tactics from these scums too? It’s like saying a man just stand and wait to be robbed for the hundredth time. Come on, people, please have some intelligence as Arsene is not as stupid and hapless as most people think. He proved people wrong and he will prove it again and again. History does not lie. I’m sick of reading moronic comments.

  • AL

    I agree with those saying a four month ban is lenient(two months he was going to be resting anyway). He’s bitten a 3rd player, and we could say its four times if we include the attempt at the confederations cup. In fact, he bit Ivanovic at the end of April, 2013. and hardly two months later he attempted to bite Chiellini (June 2013). Even the fresh ban for biting Ivanovic didn’t deter him. The guy needs medical help, and fast. A year out would have certainly helped.

  • jambug

    Bishop Brennen’s just another Liverpool fan with his head in the sand.

    Don’t forget…..IT’S NEVER THERE FAULT.

    How dare you ever suggest otherwise.

  • jambug

    AL

    I read on here somewhere his last ban had a ‘suspended’ part attached. Do you know if that is true?

    If so, surely that must be activated.

  • blacksheep63

    Bishop Brennan may not be an actual bishop but if he is I am surprised at his lack of Christian charity. Tony can be accused on many things but poor grammar is not one of them. Anyway folks please refrain from bashing the bishop, you’ll all go blind!

  • menace

    Webb was biased but relatively ok as he didn’t pander to anyone on the pitch. The result was lucky for Brazil. As much as I support Brazil, I feel sorry for Chile who should have won it in extra time.

  • Chapman's Ghost

    There is some poor grammar in the article. Still that maybe because the piece wasn’t proof read. It’s easy to make mistakes and it’s not hard to understand the piece anyway.

    So Suarez bit someone. This is of course scandalous but it’s not as bad as some reckless tackles, some very likely intentional, that end in leg breaks and may end careers, The perpetrators of such terrible tackles never get banned for four months so a bite, one that didn’t even draw blood, is nothing in comparison. Even the victim thought the punishment harsh.

  • menace

    Bites & broken bones.

    The punishment for the bite is insufficient in my opinion. That is because it has an element of mental problems. There must be some medical treatment and certification prior to allowing such an individual on the sports field.

    The punishment for breakages must be at least for the period of recovery of the breakage. The leniency shown to perpetrators seems to be unfair.

    I cannot see any changes happening soon but these things need to be debated by the authorities.

  • oldgroover

    menace
    Keeping guilty players out for the period of recovery sounds great, but it’s open to manipulation by the injured players team. e.g.. If John Terry breaks the leg of one of our squad (say Ryo), then what’s to stop us holding him back from recovery to prevent Terry from playing in crucial games which would benefit us if Chelsea lose.
    I agree there is too much leniency shown to leg breakers, and a three months ban might be a good deterrent.

  • oldgroover

    Didn’t Bishop Brennan get kicked “up the arse”?

  • Dec

    Where’s Fr. Ted when you need him?

    Only a deluded Liverpool nutter could think biting another human is nothing in comparison to foul play. Suarez has no place on a sports field. Kids need to know that such behaviour is NEVER acceptable in ANY circumstances
    Hopefully Arsenal will never have to deal with such an issue, but one would hope we might have higher standards than those shown by LFC over the years.

    Roll on August.

  • Mick

    @Chapman’s Ghost
    It is always advisable when criticising someone else’s grammar to make sure that yours is above reproach. I refer to your sentence…
    ‘Still that maybe because the piece wasn’t proof read.’
    It should read ‘may be’, not ‘maybe’ as you have put. Perhaps you didn’t proof read your piece either!

  • oldgroover

    I’m reassured by the vigilance of the grammar police, but really, is it all that important?
    It doesn’t matter!

  • Mick

    @oldgroover
    Personally I couldn’t care less but clever dicks like Chapman’s Ghost need to be shown up for what they are.

  • AL

    Jambug,
    Normally you’d expect that with most of these punishments. I hope there was such a suspended part of the sentence, and it’ll be invoked by this. Anyway, glad his team are going home; how could they all not see anything wrong with what he did, and they didn’t deserve to be here anyway. Just as much as they didn’t deserve to be in the semis four years ago.

  • Chapman's Ghost

    @Mick, you’re a bit of a clever dick yourself aren’t you? Maybe is fine but like oldgroover says who cares? I think his approach is superior to mine and yours.

    I don’t think biting someone is as bad as breaking someone’s leg Dec, especially if a career is ended by it. I don’t think biting someone has ended anyone’s career. I wonder if the Italian player would have rather had his leg broken than his shoulder bitten. I know which I’d prefer. That doesn’t absolve Suarez from any punishment but I think throwing him out of the WC was enough.

    I’m rather in favour of Menace’s idea which involves demanding Suarez undergo some mental assessment. This should perhaps also apply to any player that is consistently sent off for career-threatening tackles or violent conduct.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Remind me again…..lest we forget.

    http://www.gocomics.com/nonsequitur/2006/06/11/#.U6-x-6Mzf-Y

  • Shard

    The reason biting is easier to legislate against is because it has no relation to the game at all and is quite clearly a willful act to hurt/cheat an opponent, while also considered disrespectful and unacceptable behaviour in society at large. Remember that this is the 3rd time he has done this at the higher levels of the game, and has shown an unwillingness to not only repent, but learn. This may also be because people keep telling him it is ‘not that bad’ or that there are worse things in the world you can do to someone.

    Such as, broken legs. Nobody can argue that a broken leg isn’t worse than a bite (which is not infected with a life altering/threatening disease). And I, as a football and an Arsenal fan, would fully support harsher punishments for reckless and dangerous tackles which show a lack of care for the opponent’s safety. That it doesn’t (often) happen is wrong, although it is complicated since it is more subjective since the game does allow for tackles, so it becomes a question of degree and intent harder to prove. But to use something wrong to claim that another wrong not be punished is stupid. Suarez deserves it, and all those who support his behaviour, whether directly or indirectly, should be ashamed of themselves.

  • Pat

    I still say calling Suarez racist is a crude interpretation of what happened.

    As far as we know, he used the word ‘negro’ which is Spanish for black. His own nick name in his family is ‘negrito’ – little black one. If I remember the discussion on Untold at the time, we were advised by Spanish speakers that references like this are not necessarily regarded as racist in South America.

    Then there is the question of what Evra called Suarez, which has rarely been discussed. Again, at the time, a Spanish speaker who knows Latin America told us on Untold that the term he used is ethnically insulting.

    The decision to hold only Suarez guilty was apparently taken because Evra was the more credible witness. His English is much better than Suarez’s. He also played for Manchester United, the most powerful club in England.

    Tony, I find it disappointing that while you are prepared to take this kind of factor into account in relation to other matters, you resolutely refuse to even consider it in relation to the case of Suarez.

  • Tom

    Thank god for Suarez’s antics I say. How many has that been , three or four articles dedicated to him? That’s quite a commitment from an Arsenal blog that doesn’t believe Arsenal FC wanted to buy him to begin with.

    And Tony , do you honestly propose Liverpool FC should provide additional fuel to the Suarez ‘fire’ by posting related comments on their official channels?
    How much information did Arsenal FC provide on the club’s official channel about Giroud’s little hotel sexcapade? ( not that I’m comparing the two).
    Suarez is Liverpool’s most important asset and as such they need to protect him and his resale value , which is what any business would and should do. You personally advocate for football clubs to be run in a bussines like manner, don’t you? Complaining about Liverpool’s asking too much for Suarez because he is a serial biter is plain silly.

    And can we please stop pretending that somehow biting and the potential diseases it may inflict is a major concern in football until there is at least one documented case of a player getting infected?

    As an Arsenal supporter, let me reassure you there is absolutely no chance of any Arsenal player finding themselves at the end of a Suarez bite seeing as he only bites defenders who try to physically impose themselves on him. Chiellini is one of the dirtiest defenders around and Ivanovic almost certainly tried to decapitate our Ozil. I say Suarez should be praised for biting a Chelsea player ( sorry Mike T.) but to show my concern and appreciation for the danger Suarez represents to other players’ health ,let me propose a few simple measures which should alleviate the possibility of contracting any disease from a Suarez bite.

    1. Mandatory televised once a week teeth cleaning for Suarez.
    2.Mandatory mouth rinsing twice a game from a bottle other players drink their electrolyte and amino acid filled sport drinks which in Suarez’s case will be filled with a FIFA approved mouth wash(Suarez only).
    3. All defenders burdened with the task of marking Suarez should be provided with a lime juice which then they can apply heavily onto their arms and shoulder areas( I hear it works well with puppies and infants).

    I realize these aren’t bullet proof but it’s a start and they should help in eradicating Suarez’s nasty habit. Oh who am I kidding?! , I really do want Suarez to keep on biting opponents as long as he remains a Liverpool player. It gives us all a chance to feel better about ourselves while we pass judgements onto others:) ,and I really want to see Rodgers try to look clever and dignified while he try’s to assure everybody Suarez isn’t a distraction and Liverpool won’t miss his goals.

  • colario

    In what proved to be rvp last season here, Arsenal were accused of being a ‘one man team’ and would collapse without the traitor.

    I noticed that no one accused littlepool of the same should they loose ‘the biter’ and he scored more goals for littles last season than rvp in his one full season for us.

    I doubt if littles would have made 4th place without the wondereous biter. They are a one man team as I am certain we shall see in the start of the coming season.

    I am on count down till the 16th August, bring it on.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Tom, maybe they could remove the teeth of Suarez, have him wear dentures that are removed and replaced by harmless protective gum shields during games!
    Have a feeling he will soon be at Barca sparing Rogers any un comfortable ness…..

  • oldgroover

    Tom
    I take your double standards points, but it’s truly great to gloat over the misfortunes of others, particularly when it’s those sanctimonious prats up there.
    Schadenfreude and all that.

  • Mike T

    Tom

    Some points very well made. In particular around the (what do some call it? Ah I remember) vapour transfers. Or put it another way the denial that Arsenal were really after the player baggage and all.

    I was nearly taken aback at your comment re it being ok to bite a Chelsea defender and was almost composing my response however as you had already said:

    “As an Arsenal supporter, let me reassure you there is absolutely no chance of any Arsenal player finding themselves at the end of a Suarez bite seeing as he only bites defenders who try to physically impose themselves on him”

    I chuckled. I wonder if others did? Great comment.

    Alas Suarez isn’t prejudice as he graduated from biting an attacking midfielder in Holland to defenders. I think its more he bites who he wants. All comers accepted.

    Just at a time when bad press isn’t needed, and I need to say that Liverpool is a big place where those that live there aren’t as a matter of course associate with LFC, then this incident is reported.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2674530/Cyclists-Hillsborough-charity-ride-30-000-bikes-clothing-stolen-Anfield.html

  • Mandy Dodd

    Have to mention at this point, our current CD partnership, Kos and Per, by whatever methods they chose to employ, actually have a good record at least in stopping Suarez scoring….in fact, and I stand to be corrected here…I believe he has never scored against us when these two have played the full game.
    Not suggesting of course that scoring is everything, he may well have made assists and generally caused havoc, especially in one game, the likes of which I really hope we put a lid on next season, in fact I regard this requirement as an essential going forward.
    But, just making the point that in general, Kos and Per deserve a little credit here. They may not be the most physically imposing, and certainly not dirty players….but they clearly have something!

  • Brickfields Gunners

    A very nice quote from http://www.beautifulquote.co

    ” I really hate two faced people. It’s so hard to decide which face to slap first .”

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Beauty is an outward gift, which is seldom despised, except by those to whom it has been refused.”
    – Ralph Waldo Emerson