What we learned this week… Liverpool embarrass themselves with overboard Luis Suarez support

The Reds went too far with an overzealous statement, while Blackburn fans went a bit too far with their barracking of Steve Kean, Michael Owen acted like idiot, and AVB went OTT
By Nick Price

Liverpool embarrass themselves with wild accusations

WWLTW usually tries to look at the brighter side of football and make light of the serious issues, but this week the main talking point has left this writer in a particularly foul and glum mood as one the sport's biggest institutions have behaved like a bunch of self-righteous blowhards by placing their own selfish interests above those of the rest of the game – and for once we're not talking about Fifa.

After Luis Suarez was handed an eight-game ban and a £40,000 suspension by the FA, Liverpool reacted with a pathetically pugnacious and unedifying statement that dismissed the guilty verdict on the basis that the Uruguayan, due to his mixed race heritage, cannot be racist: an irrelevant point as the investigation was to determine whether the striker made a racial insult, not to judge whether he was a bigot.

Liverpool of course have a right to appeal, and WWLTW, nor anyone else other than those privy to the disciplinary hearing, can definitively state that Suarez did or did not racially abuse Evra at Anfield in October, and nor can we ascertain that the right call has been made without the minutes of the meetings, with there still being a chance that there has been no wrongdoing beyond a naive cultural misunderstanding that nobody deserves to be crucified for.

But rather than merely state they would be exercising their legal right to a review, the Reds dug themselves in a hole by coming out all guns blazing with an official declaration that wouldn't look out of place on the most partizan and puerile of messageboards or had it been found written on the wall of a mental asylum smeared in faeces.

Like an incandescent drunk, the club took aim at the FA's finding and incredibly suggested that they knew the case was to be contested in a kangaroo court by saying "the FA were determined to bring charges… even before interviewing [Suarez] at the beginning of November". If WWLTW were head of the FA, it'd sue Liverpool's pants off for that.

Things took an even more surreal, and frankly stupid, turn when Liverpool players warmed up ahead of their game with Wigan a day later sporting fresh 'Suarez 7' t-shirts. Surely it would've been wiser, not to mention far less antagonistic and in no way hypocritical, had all the men in red took to the field sporting anti-racism messages across their chests? Then again, this is a club that has not had the foresight or humility to make its tendentious talisman apologise for saying something that deeply offended an opponent, so perhaps WWLTW is overestimating their powers of reason.

In coming out with such a conspiratorial and monstrously hypocritical declaration of nothing short of war by calling into question the moral integrity of the FA, Liverpool risk damaging their reputation and alienating some of their own fans who feel they cannot identify with a club that refuses to concede that one of its players may have done something untoward.

Kenny Dalglish said on Twitter that fans could not allow Suarez to 'walk alone', but the club's irresponsible intransigence and selfish support for the striker on Wednesday night – in lieu of taking a universal stance against racism – is forcing this writer, an already jaded lifelong follower, to ponder whether he'd be better off just walking away.

Blackburn fans should hit Venky's where it hurts to get rid of Steve Kean

Rovers supporters have rightly voiced their displeasure with the Scottish manager, so incompetent it's a wonder that he is even able to dress himself for work, over the past few months, but their behaviour during the defeat to Bolton was a tad too scummy, even for WWLTW.

Yes, Kean is mahoosively out of his depth, has set laughable targets (Champions League qualification in the next couple of years, what's he smoking?), and appears to be little more than a puppet on a string, but it's not his fault that he's still in the job and you cannot blame him for not wanting to commit managerial hara-kiri by forfeiting his right to hundreds of thousands of pounds just to sate supporters' appetite for blood.

So why do Blackburn fans persist with their pernicious protests within the ground during games? Against Bolton they booed and chanted mercilessly, to the extent that it seemed they would derive more pleasure from seeing Kean sacked, or at least upset, than they would seeing their side win. And evidently their protests don't matter a jot, as owners Venky's quite clearly don't give two hoots about any banners, songs or jeers.

But they sure as hell do give a damn about their money, so why aren't Blackburn fans getting their attention by refusing to buy tickets for games? Fifteen-thousand irate locals may be heard loud and clear all the way to India, but 15,000 empty seats and silence seems far likelier to force Venky's to take notice.

Message not received | Fans should consider protesting with their feet, not banners

Good luck Scott Dann
What we will learn this weekend...
Absolutely nothing as it's Christmas and there's no football. Enjoy your holidays and don't eat too much or you'll end up looking like Diego Maradona after a steak binge. Alternatively, enjoy yourself and eat too much as it's Christmas and that's what it should all be about.

But if you must press WWLTW for what you could learn this weekend, well, we suspect Wayne Rooney will find some hair extensions under the tree, Stewart Downing will get a book of magic tips so he can double his number of on-field tricks to a whopping two, Charlie Adam will get his two front teeth, and Carlos Tevez will get a lump of coal.

Continuing the Blackburn theme, the centre-back received some horrific news this week and one that made men the world over grimace when it was announced that he would be unavailable for six weeks having ruptured a testicle. A RUPTURED testicle. Holy moly.

Safe to say he won't be having a ball this Christmas, eh?

All the best Scott. Stick ice on it and don't be 'exercising' too much for the time being.

Michael Owen fights the trolls… by being a troll

The internet can be a wonderful thing. It lets us do our shopping, engage with brilliant minds all over the world, look at ladies' rude bits without paying, and learn more about planet Earth, but there's also untold amounts of people who turn into insufferable anti-social imbeciles when they're given a username to hide behind. And no place are these wastes of oxygen more likely to be found than Twitter – where idiots pop up to spout inane insults and threats, as though the world wide web were a giant game of Whac-A-Mole but with despicable vermin to be smashed down rather than inanimate objects.

Manchester United striker Owen has been reasonably good value on Twitter thus far, much less dull than one might imagine from a man with a voice and set of hobbies that mark him out as being rather less exciting than a trainspotter. But he, perhaps given his dubious desertions of Liverpool and Newcastle or perhaps simply because he's remotely famous and therefore 'fair game', still comes in for unbelievable abuse from people of all ages who think nothing of spouting horrible things – things that 99.99 per cent of the world's population wouldn't dare say to anyone passing them in the street.

This week Owen snapped back at one such clown (huzzah!) but ended up coming across as a giant berk (boo!). After asking his followers what their favourite word of the year was (scrap that bit about him being good value, actually, as this is further proof that he's more boring than watching the TV test card for a few hours), one rather portly bloke in a bathing suit cheekily responded by suggesting Owen's would be 'injured' or 'bench', adding a big smiley face to make clear that he was only having a lark.

Owen, a man who does precious little for his money, quipped back: "Hilarious when your picture has a big roll of fat hanging over your shorts. Had a successful life have you? Peasant."

No winking smiley, just a message mocking someone for not being moneyed. Well done on increasing the disconnect between footballers and us mere plebs, Michael.

Peasant to meet you | Owen showed a lack of class with Twitter comment

Andre Villas-Boas shows how far removed football is from the rest of the world

The Chelsea boss may have just been trying to show some solidarity and attempting to keep his captain focused on football, but WWLTW couldn't help but grumble "You f****** what?!" when the Portuguese declared his support for John Terry after it was announced he would be forced to go in front of magistrates for allegedly abusing Anton Ferdinand.

The England skipper – *shudder* – has been told he will face a criminal charge for racially insulting the QPR centre-back, but Villas-Boas has been unequivocal in backing his player, telling reporters on Thursday: "In this particular case I would support John, even if he was found guilty."

In any other profession, being found guilty of such a crime would be grounds for an immediate and entirely justified sacking, regardless of whether the insult was just a momentary lapse of thought that did not reflect the offender's real beliefs. Terry, even if he is found guilty, is therefore not necessarily racist (and the same goes for Suarez, of course), but to see Villas-Boas so blithely back his captain only further served to show how far – and how stupidly – removed football is from everyday life.

It takes and takes from us, but then expects not to be judged by our social norms.

Still, WWLTW can't get enough of it.

Happy Christmas.

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