It’s been a bizarre few days.
Anyone would one think Luis Suarez was Abu Qatada’s brother given some of the hysterical outbursts we have had this week. This didn’t appear to be limited to those from inside football we have had it from all sorts such as politicians, respected, otherwise, it’s only a matter of time before Jedward get in the act!
However things change. Wolves sack their manager, Glasgow Rangers go into administration, Carlos Tevez reappears from under his rock and Arsenal are crushed in the Champions League and all of a sudden Luis is, for the time being anyway, yesterday’s news?
We and he could do with it. The apologies, issued on Sunday as a reaction to that handshake, instead of drawing a line under things, appeared to stoke the flames a bit more and the new angle is how our potential sponsorship will be affected. Is it any coincidence that since this subject has poked its head over the parapet our owners have suddenly got involved?
The most vocal have been our shirt sponsors Standard Chartered, and to tune of 20million sobs a year, who have piously come out with this short, sharp gem of wisdom.
“We were very disappointed by Saturday’s incident and have discussed our concerns with the club”
Hmm very interesting, a nice stance, when it suits but I wonder just how demonstrable Standard Chartered’s history in this area is? For example how many countries are they involved in with dubious human rights records? A rudimental Google will reveal that Standard Chartered have wide interests in China. I might be wrong but I’d be prepared to say that this is just scratching the surface. For example how often have Standard Chartered forgone the huge profits I assume that make because of their high moral stance? What about for example illegally investing customer funds to speculate on the stock market or ohhh… bribing big knobs in Malaysia and the Philippines to win business? Yet here they are hypocritically taking a very very cheap shot at Suarez and our club.
Suarez is no saint but pitch him into a world where bankers hold sway and most would, given these current times, assert that, by comparison, he’s Jesus! One wonders just what Standard Chartered feel they can get for their “investment” with us? There is this outburst and then, just under a year ago, they started to infer what the make up of the squad should be. Their Head of Corporate Affairs Gavin Law (thinks he can live up his name it seems) said this
“We would love the club (Liverpool) to have players of nationalities from the markets in which we operate. They are not going to get them from all 75 but if they could sign some – if they could get a Korean, Indian, Chinese player – look what Park (Ji-sung) has done for United (The Mancs) in terms of coverage in Korea. Liverpool are more aware than most other clubs we’ve spoken to of the commercial opportunity for them. If they can sell a million shirts with another Mr Park on the back, why wouldn’t you?”
The naivety is astounding not to mention insulting to their Asian customers and our Asian fans. The Premiership is a world wide brand and players, regardless of what country they come from, are well known as result. To suggest that a fan in China will only buy a Liverpool shirt if they sign someone from China and that a fan in India or Korea will do the same only if we sign someone from their country is insulting and patronising in the extreme. Walk down to Anfield (it’s in England by the way) on any match day a few years back and count the “Torres” shirts, count the “Drogba” shirts at Stamford Bridge (in London, England) and, a few years back tot up the “Henry” shirt’s at the Emirates, which is in case you hadn’t noticed is also in England! When I last looked non of these players were born on these shores so why should countries in the Asia need one their own to float their boat? Park was signed by The Mancs because he was regarded as good player and he has proved himself to be so as recently a few weeks back against us? He is not a figurehead or a cash cow.
Presumably Kenny and Damien Comolli will need to change their job descriptions, “to sign players, regardless of skill in countries where Standard Chartered has lots of branches”. It goes without saying that we should only sign players who we feel can contribute on the footballing side of things. Stray away from that and you are not a football club you are a business and then you are losing sight of got you there in the first place?
If Standard Chartered think in these terms than they should be told to take their £20m year and illegally invest in the stock markets and bribe some more officials. Perhaps not but anywhere other than with us?