Battle of the Handshake: Manchester United defeat Liverpool, the MS Paint Report
Lads and ladies, I readily admit to struggling with this introduction. MS Painting is a toilsome time suck as art forms go and once I had the material ready I feared their relevance was ruined. After all it all happened so long ago, lost in the sands of time like so much fish urine in the ocean but try to not think about that next time you’re at the beach. But as my good friend and mentor Ernest Hemingway’s ghost once told me, “Sometimes you suck the story’s dick and sometimes the story sucks yours.” At the time I thought he was trying to tell me I would be an unsuccessful writer and have to turn tricks to make rent, but now I realize he just meant that sometimes the universe unfolds for you like a red carpet and you don’t really have to put much thought or effort into what you’re doing. Enter Glen Johnson!
The Liverpool right black (BACK! Woops, sorry folks, getting ahead of myself) made the news recently with comments about what went down. Something about Luis Suarez having trouble deciphering street lights? No? Oh yeah, racism. Bummer, that.
Everybody knows what happened, and I’m not going to bother presenting my own account. I will say, the home support for Evra was great. You’d expect them to abuse Suarez, but it was genuinely touching to hear the stadium cheer Evra’s every touch. They even made him a banner!
Five bucks says that banner’s been there for years and the TV cameras only now decided to zoom in on it, but I ain’t care, I live in America where Nike makes all our fan banners for us in the form of advertising billboards. The franchise system in American professional sports is blatantly evil and I start to weep every time I think about it, wondering why why why we let this happen to our national pastimes.
Relations between the clubs, Manchester United and Liverpool that is, haven’t been this hostile in a long time. The game marked a triumphant return of British football’s 80s hallmark, the double police lines surrounding the away section of the ground. Games just aren’t the same without that overhanging cloud of potential mass violence.
On the pitch however things were much more positive. Sure, “Handshakegate” was in all respects a Bad Thing that brought apologies across Liverpool’s hierarchy (player, manager, managing director), but on the other hand the immediate fallout from it was hilarious. After snubbing Evra, Suarez went to Rio Ferdinand’s hand and Ferdinand just made a look like he’d offered a plate of wet garbage. Then at the very end of the line Danny Welbeck gave Suarez the limpest handshake I’ve ever seen, it was like an empty glove. Speaking of which, Roy Keane was right–professional footballers should never wear gloves, they make you look soft and your opponents will fear you less for wearing them. Mind games, yall.
Anyway everybody focused on the handshake that DIDN’T take place but the rest of the handshakes did, and I thought some of them were kind of nice. For instance, Liverpool’s cap’n Stevie G seemed perfectly nice and a little apologetic if you ask me when he shook United captain Evra’s hand.
My body language comprehension is better than yours.
Another positive worth noting: the game was really good! Very open, often end to end stuff. That’s entertainment right there. It’s called fun, maybe someone should tell Barcelona about it? Wayne Rooney, who opened the scoring, knows what I’m talking about.
Other stuff happened: United scored again, and Luis Suarez of Race Relations got one back for Liverpool in an extremely scrappy goal that Pippo Inzaghi, Patron Saint of Lucky Poaches in the Box, would have been proud of.
Know what else, yall? David de Gea is settling in after his shaky start. In the new year he’s made a buttload of clutch saves late on in clutch games, including this game–a minute into extra time.
Lindegaard will be sad. Luckily for him, he’s still super hot and a millionaire.
Things must have been incredibly frustrating for Liverpool, who played better than United for pretty much the entire game except the little five minute spell in which they scored two goals. No one was more frustrated than the director, writer, producer, and star of The Suarez Variety Show featuring Maya Angelou and Pat Buchanan though. U mad bro! A last gasp attack in the 90+3 minute culminated in a miss from Suarez. He fell to the ground in disappointment and despair. Then he snapped up in a weird semi-push-up position? It was one of the more bizarre things I saw that day. Let’s just a assume it was a prayer to the Patron Saint of Finishing, Filippo Inzaghi.
Then the game ended and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner celebrated like he’d just humiliated a dillweed who was racist to him while also proving an ambiguous point to the world and putting in one of his best performances at left back all season. Way to go dude! Listen, I know it’s possible for people to not like Patrice Evra, and in fact that a lot of people actually do not like him very much at all, but I am not one of those people, nor will I ever understand those people, nor will I understand the people who can understand those people, and so on, ad infinitum, forever.
So, PARTY ON DUDE! You earned it!