Manc review and what’s in a handshake?

So the national team is thrown into turmoil once more before a major international tournament thanks to the resignation of Fabio Capello.

The only surprise is that it has come so early. Normally the press, having encouraged and ridden the wave of national euphoria and expectation, have to scrabble about to find something to undermine things. This time however the FA have kindly served it up on a plate to them, and it is a much more bountiful feast than they would normally expect.

The rights and wrongs of Caepllo’s resignation will be debated. He got us to two major tournaments playing in a fairly decent, if not exciting, way. He won’t get to manage the team in the second tournament this summer and he was badly let down by his players in the first. Had John Terry behaved before that and then in South Africa and then subsequently then none of this would have happened? Some criticism should therefore, be levelled at Capello for continuing to pick and then indulge this ignorant, self regarding thoroughly nasty piece of work. As for the FA well criticising them for handling this badly is like complaining that you are wet when you’ve just jumped in the river!

Capello’s reign, like many issues concerning the national team, has been punctuated by a nasty xenophobic “little England” streak. His inability to learn the language was often used a stick to beat him with and now we have the seemingly universal assertion that the next manager must be English, the favourite, ironically, being a man who admits to writing like a two year old! Why should the next boss be English the Premiership is one of the most cosmopolitan leagues in the word on the pitch and amongst those who manage the teams? Surely the next manager should be someone with the track record of success and the qualifications to do the job, is that Harry Redknapp or any other manager born in England?

To, in my book anyway, much more important matter, our league game against The Mancs.

Clearly this game is slightly different as, in an ironic quirk of fate, it is one game after Luis Suarez returned to the Liverpool team after his eight game ban. The key question appears to be whether Suarez and Patrice Evra will shake hands before the game. This however, is a short, meaningless courtesy even though the media are building it up as having profound implications as if it can in some way say more about the whole affair than any ban or report can. Fergie, despite having Chelsea to overcome last weekend and also having a silly pop at Alan Hansen for basically doing his job which is to offer an opinion on The Mancs poor or otherwise, saw fit to comment on it.

“he has nothing to be ashamed of. I don’t think it’s a problem shaking hands”

I agree with Fergie. I think it will say more about Evra the man that he can confidently and proudly look Suarez in the eye and shake his hand rather childishly sulk and hold grudges, even though my writing about the value of holding such things is a tad hypercritical when discussing games against the Mancs!

Lets be honest this is a whole lot of stuff about nothing, a meaningless follow up to the lord mayors show which was the enquiry itself. Evra and Suarez can still shake hands and still hate other, that’s assuming they ever did in the first place. If they don’t shake hands so what, all it gives is a media a tangible sign, something they stick on the back page probably next to something about John Terry with the headline “broken Football”. Perhaps they won’t even bother as they now have an embarrassment of footballing riches with the England manager issue? I guess we should be grateful that it has at least deflected attention from the Suarez Evra thing?

For us I guess Monday night was a disappointment. I don’t think it would have unreasonably to expect four points from the Spurs and Mancs games however, after Monday we now have to do it the hard way and win at Old Trafford and I don’t think the Mancs will be as coy in front of goal as Spurs were on Monday?

Team wise I guess the major question is whether Suarez will start. He certainly looked fresh on Monday and has clearly kept himself fit during the ban. One assumes that Jose Enrique will return if fit? One wonders if the Mancs will persevere with David de Gea in goal given the hard time we gave him at Anfield in the Cup a few weeks ago?

Prediction? Who knows at Old Trafford? If Blackburn can win then so can we, however that is a simplistic view. I guess it all depends on what version of Liverpool arrive there and what version of The Mancs we face. It could be 4-1 either way? I’ll go straight down the middle and go for a 1-1 draw no, sod it, a 2-1 win for us. Finally I leave you with words from the BBC website

“The current vitriol spewed between the fans of these two clubs is disturbing. Raw emotions have always chewed away at this game. But both sets of players and the referee need to be mindful that the football world is watching on.”

They will but has that ever stopped them and why should it?

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