i Editor's Letter: A word on football
Oliver Duff was appointed Editor of i in June 2013. He was previously Executive Editor at The Independent, i and The Independent on Sunday, running the newsroom. Formerly a reporter, gossip columnist and news editor, he was fired as the magazine's bar critic after three weeks. A diver and surfer, he's interested in nature and science, politics and diplomacy.
Wednesday 14 August 2013
People of Liverpool, you can keep your racist cheat. Apologies to non-sports fans for this intrusion on to page 3, but I’ll keep it brief.
I’m one of Arsenal Football Club’s most insignificant owners, holding a hobby stake with 2,000 other supporters in a “Fanshare” scheme – one of the counterweights to the property barons and mining tycoons who sit astride our national game.
This week, the first of a new football season, usually brings butterflies. But at Arsenal a shadow hangs over our club. We stand a chance of signing one of the planet’s finest players, the stylish Uruguayan goal machine Luis Suarez, whose ability would transform our prospects after eight years without winning so much as an egg cup.
The rub? He’s a toxic trickster with a taste for human flesh. He’s burnt former employers, has twice bitten opponents, racially abused a rival on the pitch and perpetrated one of the most high-profile, cynical acts of cheating in football since a dumpy Argentinian confused himself with the Almighty. (Suarez handballed Ghana’s winning shot off the line in the last minute of the World Cup quarter-final and then sniggered at his devastated opponents when they missed the subsequent penalty.)
He is the poster child for selfishness, throwing the support of Liverpudlians (like my dad) back in their faces, a 26-year-old man so consumed with his own brilliance that he may just overplay his hand. Take note Wayne Rooney and Gareth Bale. Football fans know not to expect loyalty – it would be unreasonable to demand it of someone born 7,000 miles away – but this circus we can do without. Adiós, Luis.
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