Business as usual at the Old Firm
Luis Suarez has apologized, Kenny Dalglish has apologized. Both have exhibited sociopathic behaviour for the last two months which has brought much opprobrium on them and the club. But at least their apologies should be taken in good faith.
Here we are not 24 hours later with Richard Williams still milking it for all its worth. After Suarez’s mental malfunction on Saturday, Williams wonders if subsequent encounters between Liverpool and Man Utd will be as vitiated as the Old Firm rivalry.
Two things. The Old Firm rivalry has roots in ugly sectarianism and nationalism which have claimed actual lives and wounded countless others. Bruised egos don’t count. Neil Lennon could do with that luxury. Second, to sustain this level of poison you have to have two clubs going at each other knowing fully well if they lose it could cost them the title. No team outside the Old Firm has won the SPL since it was formed in 1998.
Liverpool haven’t contended for a league title since god alone knows when. They’re fighting to remain in contention for fourth at their most optimistic and a Europa League. Utd are homing in on their 20th title. Twelve of them in the Premier League era. There is no comparison.
The Luis Suarez handshake that never was will never be a PhD candidate’s dissertation topic. At least not if they want it to be in the league of, “An Identity of Two Halves? Celtic Supporters, Identity, and Scottish Society” That and similar studies are part of a thriving cottage industry of Old Firm related sociological phenomena.