Suarezgate: Why FSG Finally Got Involved

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The silence from Fenway Sports Group since the Suarez race row began has been deafening. Where did they stand on the scandal? Did they back Kenny, or were they embarrassed by the whole episode? As they never publicly commented on it, we will never know.

One thing we can be pretty sure of is that, in the hours following Suarez’s refusal to shake Evra’s hand, FSG finally said to the Liverpool management “enough is enough.”

Looking at the incident itself, Suarez’s refusal to shake Evra’s hand was not such a big deal. It was far less controversial than the racial abuse allegation which started it all. It was also less provocative than the T Shirts worn by the Liverpool players in support of Suarez. In many ways, it was a storm in a tea cup.

So why did that incident finally force FSG into action?

Firstly, there was the reaction of the players on the pitch, including their bust up at half time. The Manchester United players were in no mood to play the incident down and actively sought out a confrontation with the Liverpool players in the tunnel. The police got involved and the finger of blame was pointed at Suarez and his handshake snub.

All this occurred during the biggest game of the season, with a worldwide television audience of half a billion watching. Whoever was to blame, we did not portray the global image John W Henry had in mind for the club when he bought it.

Secondly, the media and social network sites turned the storm in a teacup into a hurricane. This lead to John W Henry’s Twitter feed getting completely bombarded by a general public who had been whipped into frenzy by Sky Sports. In simple terms, Henry will care more about the global image of the club than he will about a local rivalry. The feedback he was getting on Saturday night was that our global image was in tatters.

Thirdly, and crucially, the New York Times decided to have their say.

Although they recently reduced their share from 17.75%, The New York Times still owns 7% of FSG. Therefore, when they speak Henry and Werner listen. In a direct challenge to their fellow board members, the Times position was as follows: “If the Fenway Sports Group is to be the responsible team owner in soccer that it has proved to be in baseball, it needs to get hold of Liverpool, its club in England’s Premier League, and repair its global image fast.

“On Saturday, Liverpool lost at Manchester United, 2-1, allowing United to temporarily move into first place in the Premier League. There is no disgrace in such a loss; United, the defending English champion, is vying to keep that title this season, and it very rarely loses at home.

“But there was disgrace, witnessed by television viewers around the world, in the refusal of Liverpool’s Luis Suarez to shake the hand of United’s Patrice Evra before kick-off.”

Their final message was as follows: “It is time for John Henry and Tom Werner, leaders of the Fenway Group that controls Liverpool, to state clearly the direction the team will take on this issue.”

Within hours of this article being published, all the defiance in Liverpool’s dressing room had disappeared. Ian Ayre put a statement out which directly attacked Suarez. Kenny Dalglish sided with his managing director. Suarez fell into line, issuing his own unreserved apology.

It was a turn of events that demonstrated where the real power at Anfield lies: thousands of miles away in Boston. It will be very interesting to see how events transpire.

For the first time in his second reign as manager, Dalglish has had his collar felt by his paymasters. For the first time in his Anfield career, Suarez cannot count on the unconditional support of his club.

Crucially, for the first time it is being seriously questioned whether Suarez and Dalglish will make it through the year as employees of Liverpool Football Club. It is that serious.

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  1. I hope and pray they do stay!
    We all know that it was a matter of linguistics. In South America negro aint no racist word.
    But to the “holier than thou” media, it is.
    That is what hurts me the most, because i know Luis aint no racist!
    We as LFC played into the media’s hands, just like the media played into SAF’s hand!
    Talk about puppet masters!
    Thus whole story hurts my heart, i because i know Suarez is innocent. If it hurts MY heart imagine whats its doing to Suarez!

  2. I’m very disappointed in a lot of Red fans who want to leave Suarez out in the cold. Yes he was wrong to mislead Dalglish and the club over the handshake – but let’s get it into perspective. It was just a handshake. To imply that this snub led to the half-time ruckus, and was justification for the full-time antics is laughable. I agree that FSG value their global reputation over anything else, and may have leant on Suarez and Dalglish to apologise, but SAF and the media blew it out of proportion big time. I for one hope Suarez (and Dalglish) has a long career at our club. If I thought otherwise i might as well start supporting the Scum.

  3. And Ferguson does it again. Liverpool are finished – what a bunch of amateurs these lot are. From the start of the season when Sky/Utd & all their other powerful friends in every single publication in the UK launched an all out attack on Ayre & the club totally misrepresenting what he said about TV rights it should have been quite clear to them what they are facing in the UK. You might as well sell up now Johnny boy, if you ain’t got the stomach for it, because it’s only going to get worse. You could of course bring back Woy, keep us at the bottom o the table & keep Mr Ferguson & Sky/Utd happy, but it took them a long time to knock Liverpool of their f****** perch & they have no intention of just allowing you to just climb back up their. So what’s the story John? are you up for it or what.

  4. Its all something out of nothing. Evra has a reputation for making stuff up and loves all the shit he is causing. The man utd loving media will print anything to sell papers. I don’t blame Suarez for not shaking his hand as he doesn’t think he done anything wrong and has taken his punishment(8 match ban) but I don’t think he should have said he was going to do it then not. As for global image of the club goes I rekon Suarez shirts will sell even more now than they did before despite what may be seen as negative publicity by some people. Another thing us no one seems to mention about evra cells rating at the end like he did. One rule for utd..

  5. say nought, don’t give up on the best,we have got them running scared.they hate suarez because hes brilliant and they wish they could defend against this god like player.

  6. FSG are absetee landlords. They left the running of the club to Ian Ayre, a man with no PR skills whatsoever. He should have been guiding Kenny and the club through this difficult time, not letting Kenny who is football man, take all the questions. Ayre might be good at geting sponsors, but he seems to be useless at everything else. FSG need to get in a proven, media savvy top CEO and ensure that the club is run properly, not expect Kenny to do it for them.
    Suarez didn’t shake the liar’s hand and I wouldn’t have either!

    1. In my view, there has been zero PR management of the whole affair right from the very start back in October. No disrespect intended to those involved, but it seems to have been left to people who are not public relations specialists.

      There is no need to replace Ian Ayre with a more media saavy CEO. What we do need is to look at our media department and put in place a PR specialist to consistently ensure the right kind of messages get put out, especially in difficult and controversial circumstances such as these.

      That way, not only could we have limited the damage that has been done, it’s even possible, believe it or not, that we could have turned it to some kind of advantage.

      Done carefully, it would have gotten our side of the story into the public domain enabling us to have more control over the media’s “script.” Also by thinking a few moves ahead, it would have also enabled us to position ourselves more advantageously for whatever may happen later.

      Hopefully, this is something FSG will look at, so that we can put ourselves across with the more polished and professional approach that seems to come naturally to some others in the game.

  7. When I was a kid I think I believed the Mancs really were the evil empire and LFC could do no wrong. I grew up. I really hope all the myopic paranoid chip on shoulder sh*t I read on sites like this is from young lads, otherwise there’s a lot of sad grow ups supporting us. Ferguson is a c8ck, no question, but it was Suarez who lied to his manager and club. The media love a furore and will run with this for as long as they can, but it was Kenny, Suarez and the board who have allowed them to. Evra is also a c8ck, but, and no one disputes this, Suarez did call him “negrito” and thankfully, we as a country now see this as offensive and unacceptable, ignorance is no defence. We should have held our hands up months ago, said it wouldn’t happen again, accepted 3 matches, and moved on. We didn’t and we looked small. On Saturday Suarez should have shook his hand and moved on, he didn’t, he looked small and made all associated with supporting him look the same. We’ve got no-one to blame but ourselves. Grow up and move on.

      1. Not so much according to linguistic experts at the hearing. Evidence that Liverpool fans conveniently ignore.

  8. Net spend by Norwich City this season is 6.5 million. They are 8th and 4 points behind us. We’ve spent 110 million and have scored less goals than Blackburn. If it was any one else other than Daglish, they would have lost their job for such a poor showing on such a massive investment. All this talk about Carroll and Hendo being young is just plain bollox. How old is Messi? All the talk about them needing time to settle is just plain crap. How long did it take Saurez to score his first goal? The very first game he played. Got respect for the King but results matter for everything and when you see managers like Rodgers and Lambert delivering quality performances with shoe string budgets, then you’ve gotta start asking questions about the management. John Henry stated that top 4 was a minimum requirement for the season. If Daglish doesn’t deliver this he should be sacked and his flops sold off.

    Tired of all of this history 18 titles bullshit. We’re revelling in the past whilst teams like Spurs are running away with things. Time we woke up to the fact that LFC under current management is decidedly a mid table side. Even if we made it into the top 4 by some miracle (which aint gonna happen) we would be slaughtered by genuine top sides like Real, Barca etc.

      1. Completely agree with you Scousedude. Adrian, you’re the blinkered idiot. Why don’t you go drink some reality juice, you deluded fool?

  9. Can’t trust a word that Suarez says. A petulant wind up merchant with little to no dignity or respect for the club. Shankly would have chinned him. Dragged the club and the fans through the mud while we hero worshipped a guy who has a history of on field violence, cheating and ungracious behaviour. We all have conveniently forgotten him slamming the ball into the opposition dugout. That could have started a riot in itself.

    Think about it. With the history America has on race what new fan will purchase the shirt of a club identified with racism? They put money into this club and freed it from a couple of crazy cowboys. Don’t start slagging them off for trying to protect our worldwide reputation.

  10. I for one am glad they finally did get involved. It was a steam train running away with itself. Suarez (for all the support he has had) has done nothing but harm to the cause. Everything about this entire thing has left me disgusted. I’m finding it hard to enjoy being a Liverpool fan this season, and that not just because Downing is more pedestrian than a pavement… For a start, I do not blame Kenny for starting a siege mentality to protect his player, but he should’ve taken a silent oath on
    It after he realised Suarez was beaten in the law courts. His refusal to lay any blame to a player (who lets remember did use the term black to a black man on a pitch in England) transended into the stands where a lot of fans maintain it was a massive stitch up by Evra. Yeah, his testimony was his word against another, but we totally f*cked up that enquiry with bullsh*t testimonies. He served the time and came back, deal over. No! The little prick takes the support we blindly showed him and sh*ts all over it by refusing to end the thing by simply shaking his hand! Is Evra a liar? Probably. Did Suarez say something racial to a black guy on a pitch in 2011? Yes. He admited it. Lost in translation, blah blah, whatever. Anyone who still stands by this should walk over to the nearest black gent and say “why black?” and see how far you get. The report did not find Suarez a racist, Evra did not think he was either. What Suarez has been guilty of though is being a massive tw*t who has made this drama all about him instead of pulling the good name of LFC out the sh*te that he help put there. If I hear one more ‘fan’ step in and say ‘Negrito’ I’ll knock their c*cks off as they’ve never even bothered reading the report. For the last time Suarez isn’t a racist, he’s just a proper gobsh*te.

    We need to stop blaming United/The FA/The Press for this furore and just admit we have (as a club) taken every wrong turn possible getting to this point. Maybe then we can finally get some dignity back. “The Liverpool Way” has been sorely missing in this whole affair.

    Sorry for banging on, I’m never mentioning this shit again, this is my epitaph for it…

    Peace out YNWA (unless you damage the reputation of my club by being a bad blert, then you can swivel)

  11. Don’t know how Kenny handle this issue before. He said that Suarez would shake hand with Evra, but Suarez did not do that. Did Kenny really talk to Suarez about the shake hand thing before the match? Kenny shouldn’t have played Suarez as starting in the match to avoid the hand shake issue, even if he got Suarez’s word to shake Evra’s hand, just to protect Suarez’s feeling. Kenny should have done better.

    Now, Standard Chartered also have their say in this disappointing issue.

  12. The bottom line is how we true fans feel. The owners, sponsors and MD should understand this. Without us, Liverpool is nothing. So, how do we fans feel? I for one support Suarez thru’ & thru’. I represent millions of normal fans around the world. KD understands this. That’s why he said what he said and reacted the way he did originally before the apology. I say to the powers that be in LFC, back up KD and LS. Or fans like me will feel alienated and start to go against you, not the club, reminiscent of the H&G dark era. YNWA!

  13. Before we start letting thing fly pass us let’s make sure what we saw was what it was. Suarez has already been punished for a crime with no evidence he did it. Are we going to crucify him again and King Kenny too? Would any of you shake the hand of the person who had verbally abused your family? And that’s the only thing that has been confirmed. And that was the Frencheat who said it. Stay strong Reds. It looks like someone’s come to shake the boat again. They must be really worried that a slumbering giant might finally be awakening. Seriously. There are but 3 players in the world any team would kill for. Messi, Ronaldo and Suarez. Someone doesn’t want him in the league. And FSG. Stick by your people.

    1. Slumbering giant awakening??? Seriously? Is this the same giant that has scored less goals than Blackburn?? Wake up from your dream and rejoin us in reality.

  14. No one is know for sure what exactly happened between suarez and evra. But based on one persons word he was punished by banning 8 games. Lets be honest here. What if suarez really innocent? Can anyone be so sure other these two players? What if evra is the real culprit? What if he is lying? How anyone is very sure that evra is innocent? I believe suarez understand what he is doing as a professinal. Do we think that he simply wants to put sand into his ricebowl? Suarez served 8 match ban which he didnt deserved and he just want to play football. His refusal to shake evra’s hand is his right as he knows best if evra deserve a handshake. Please do remember that suarez admitted that he used the words negro and he didnt denies it. But about evra…what had he said? Did he admitted said anything? Why no one focus on him? Suarez is eventhough a liverpool’s employee, it doesnt give liverpool any rights to press suarez do things againts his wishes. Suarez and King Kenny was right in this issues. If liverpool is bowing to f…k up newspaper and sponsors that is wrong….ask the majority of liverpool’s supporters. Alex Ferguson has certainly has got no RIGHTS to tell liverpool what to do about Suarez….

  15. I agree with a lot of what the author has said. Likewise, I agree with JMO’s comment.

    I as extremely skeptical when Suarez sign for Liverpool. Whilst no-one can deny his great footballing ability, his attitude and integrity have always been in doubt. He’s been involved in many unsavory incidents in the past, and will no doubt be involved in many more in years to come. And he’s clearly a diver on the pitch as well. Personally, I believe that he does not fit in with the culture and rich tradition of the great LFC.

    I also think its so incredibly embarrassing that so many fellow Liverpool fans continue to portray this insecure victim mentality and paranoia. It’s just plain dumb to think the WHOLE WORLD and ALL THE MEDIA just hates us and is out to get us. Incredibly infantile attitude. Why would they all hate us??? Man U, Chelsea, Man C, Spurs are all doing extremely well right now, but everyone hates Liverpool? I’m sorry, but that’s just a load of bullish*t.

    Suarez is way more trouble than he’s worth. His character is such, that there will be more incidents that will tarnish our name and drag it through the mud. Ability and great footballing prowess is admirable, but attitude and decency is far more important to a club like ours.

    As fans and officials of a great club with a great tradition, we need to lose the paranoia and bias and we need to big enough to call it as we see it. Blind loyalty is admirable in a pet, but we’re all thinking adults with a reasonable amount of common sense.

    Let us demand the best from our players and officials; both on and off the pitch; both in terms of performance and integrity.



  16. lets not forget that in his evidence Evra said that he started the conversation. . .in spanish. . .using ‘not very pleasant and insulting’ words about Suarez’ mother and family.
    I can understand why he wouldn’t go near him. . .but he should have told the club before hand.
    If Suarez actually wanted to racially abuse him there is a far more disgusting word he could ave used than negrito.

  17. Too many LFC fans are circling their wagons with a fortress complex when the best thing to do is to bury the hatchet and move on.

    Lucky for us the cavalry has finally arrived, the American owners wish to end this ugly incident once and for all.

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