As a recently jilted supporter (as all us Reds are), I can be forgiven for being a bit cynical towards the modern footballer and his increasingly selfish patterns of behavior. Perhaps the degradation of professionalism and mutual respect in the player/supporter “relationship” is what made me sit up and take notice at Luis Suarez’s emotional Ajax farewell. Regardless of the negative platform for my interest, there are several truths to be taken from this class act…
- Luis Suarez has a sense of perspective. He would not have returned to Ajax to say his goodbyes if he did not feel a debt of gratitude for the club (and what it did for his career) and the supporters (and their unconditional support). It is clear to see which players feel a connection to the club(s) they represent and which players merely collect pay-cheques.
- A gesture like that is a demonstration of traditional values. Now that the old regime has been tossed out of courtrooms on either side of the Atlantic Ocean kicking and screaming like petulant children, the “Liverpool Way” has become the modus operandi once again. With King Kenny back at the helm and his first signing demonstrating such class and professionalism, we have shed the circus tent that Hicks and Gillett were so determined to erect over Anfield.
- Mr. Suarez will forge a deep bond with the Liverpool faithful. It is obvious how much he meant to Ajax supporters, and after watching him play, it is even more obvious why. He’s all action, and I can’t picture him sulking about the pitch when things are not going according to plan. Adversity will make him all the more determined – at times perhaps overly-determined to the point of suspension – but to me, that’s better than the alternative sulk.
- When /if he leaves us, it will be a much classier affair than the one we have just been through. This subject has been covered at length, so I’ll just leave it at that.
- Actions speak loudest. Yes, that old cliche. A player can answer all the guided questions he wants on a club’s media outlet, hire a ghostwriter to prosaically bat his eyelashes at a club’s supporters in an autobiography, and kiss all the badges he’d like; but what Mr. Suarez did this weekend trumps all of those.
So, thank you, Luis. Thank you for showing me that not all footballers are horribly out of touch. Some are capable of acting in a manner befitting of adults. And, in a way, no thanks; for making it that much harder to understand the next time a multi-millionaire acts like a spoiled brat.