by Alwyn Payne

Luis Suarez being racism free for the entirety of 2013

I dislike racism (it’s awful) and I love football (it’s also really really awful) so naturally, I dislike racism in football. Because it’s racism.

I talk about Luis Suarez racially abusing another player (Patrice Evra – a black man) quite often, because it’s sickening. What’s arguably worse, however, is denying that a blatantly racist comment was actually racist, attempting to redefine the definition of racism yourself, and THEN making Kenny Dalglish wear a tight white t-shirt in broad daylight. It was night time? Sorry, you’re right. Maybe it wasn’t racist after all.

What sets Luis Suarez apart from every other footballer who could have received the honour of not saying anything racist in 2013, is the fact that he’s really good at football. In the media & punditsphere his “past misdemeanours” (horrendous racism) are often reminisced about, like you would a naughty child at school. “Yes, Luis may have used abusive language pertaining to the skin colour of little Pat in the playground, but he DID draw three really nice pictures of houses in Norwich.” Analogy. Not really.

If he’d have turned out to be a rubbish racist footballer, would he be known as a racist footballer? I suppose we’ll never know, because he’s a brilliant footballer. A brilliant, racist footballer.

Not to detract from his achievement; going a whole calendar year without insulting a black man’s skin colour is nothing to sniff at. I even got him a little badge to wear to commemorate the 12 month racism-free period. But he didn’t like it, because of the colour. Satire.

However, he did bite another adult person in April, which was not a very good thing to do. What will the crazy critter get up to next? Anything other than murder would seem a bit of an anti-climax.

Manchester United, in general, being very s***

It’s about time, isn’t it? It is. In fact, I should really have re-phrased that. It’s not that Manchester United are now shit, it’s that they’re STILL shit, but they’ve stopped fucking winning all the time. United haven’t played well for more than 10 minutes in the past 4 years, yet Ferguson (with his shouting, and his management skills) still managed to get extremely good results.

Last year, the league was won by plugging a gaping hole in the middle of the field with a Robin Van Persie shaped bath plug. Which, incidentally, is United’s most recent megastore addition. I love it though; I say we embrace it. We’ve been too good for too long; I’m looking forward to being quite shit for quite long. We could go all the way commercially and source an official Being Shit Partner. Incidentally, we may already have one in Spurs.

If I’m enjoying it, how much must you NON-united fans be loving it? Don’t answer that. It’s not a rhetorical question; it’s just that nobody cares. You’ve all heard the old adage “The bigger they are, the harder they fall,” (if you haven’t, you’re probably foreign or worse), but I don’t think that will really be the case in this instance.

David Moyes won’t fail spectacularly in a charge of the shite brigade style attempt at qualifying for the Champion’s League; I think it’ll be far more uninteresting than that. And therefore, far worse.

We’ll choke, splutter & hufflepuff our way across the Champion’s League line mere inches ahead of an infinitely more deserving club. Every year. This will be a highlight for most fans, but for us United fans there’s only one fate worse than outright crippling failure, and that’s irrelevance.

‘Too good to go down, too shite to stay up’

QPR & Villa, respectively. Some people may claim that large parts of this collection of events (Say around half, or in other words, 50%) happened in 2012, and to those people I say…yeah alright. Shut up. Then I usually punch them in the ear and run away. I won’t do this now though, because this is writing.

QPR had assembled a team that was positively seeping with quality; the signings of players like Esteban Granero, young Brazilian full-back Fabio da Silva (no, the other one) and latterly Loic Remy & Christopher Samba looked destined to dramatically fail to keep them up and subsequently be written about six months later. Fate.

With new manager Harry Redknapp added like a mouldy cherry to a sub-par bakewell, there was one thing that we were all certain of come the end of January: it would be entertaining. It was. A bit. Like a red giant, growing unsustainably under the sheer weight of large contracts handed out to past-it players, QPR fizzled out to a barely visible glow, and we all forgot about them. Until now. Sorry.

The flip-side to the above analogy would be Aston Villa. Around the turn of the year last season, I can barely remember a poorer team that I’ve seen. Whilst giving young players a chance is admirable, playing very poor football and looking out of ideas by the 5th minute of each game is not so.

Their one saving grace was Christian Benteke, and even he looked like he was disgusted each time he scored. He didn’t really, but he should have done. It was his 23 goals (19 in the league) which gave Villa their best chance of being That Shit Club That Stayed Up, and like him, they took their chances.

Away wins at Stoke and Norwich and a 6-1 caning of Sunderland in the last 6 weeks of the season ensured their revival & survival, and the team that we all loved to mildly dislike because they were so shit, stayed up.