The boos would have hurt more than any ban. Luis Suarez can rail all he likes against the punishment meted out by the FA for biting Branislav Ivanovic. The condemnation of his peers that rang out at the PFA Awards dinner in London last night is the ultimate sanction and far more penal than that dispensed by the game’s governing body
There is no greater accolade than the respect of your fellow professionals. A ten-match ban can be served. How to end the purgatory of pariah status? Twice, at the mention of his name in the shortlist for the PFA Player of the Year award and in the Premier League team of the season, Suarez was heckled. It is a long walk back to happiness from that friendless state, even with the Kop behind you.
The PFA might have acted with greater foresight to spare him the embarrassment, withdrawing his candidature from the player of the year list, even though votes had already been cast, and the Premier League team. On the other hand perhaps his apologists would argue that his outstanding contribution to Liverpool’s season deserved recognition.
The conversation in the great football chat room raises the prospect of his exit from Anfield in the summer. If Suarez were to seek a posting elsewhere he would not be leaving as a victim, but as a football felon. Far better to serve his time and make good the wrong in the colours of Liverpool. It might take longer than ten matches, but he would be grateful in the end.
With his short back and sides and arms full of PFA booty Gareth Bale presented the wholesome side of football, a young lad you would be happy to see on the arm of your daughter. Bale’s twin accolades, only the third in the history of the game to scoop both player and young player awards after Andy Gray and Cristiano Ronaldo, reflected his growing status.
There is much speculation about Bale’s whereabouts, too, next year. The case for retaining his services at Tottenham begins against his old team Southampton on Saturday and then at Chelsea next week. Bale and Spurs want Champions League participation next season. It might take four wins from four to ensure it.