In an interview with Fox Sports Argentina, Liverpool forward Luis Suarez has been translated as saying, “Manchester United handle the press here [in England], they [United] have a lot of power and they [the media] always help them.” While the Uruguayan may be in fine goal scoring form on the pitch this season, he is completely off target with this claim.
Football is home to more conspiracy theories than Area 51 and, like people obsessed with little green men cover ups, there is a great deal of fanciful thinking at play.
Suarez was speaking in relation to the race row he found himself embroiled in with Patrice Evra, so it is probably fair to say that resentment over that situation prompted his claim about United's power to influence the media. Whatever his rationale, it appears a deluded claim if he is talking about the established media as a whole.
For a start, 'the press' is not a single entity that peddles the same line. If that were the case and media organisations were in collusion with United, talkSPORT would not have reported Gus Poyet's impassioned defence of Suarez when the Evra incident was a hot topic.
Here at talkSPORT, we are often accused of being biased against teams, but strangely it usually only seems to be bias against a team the accuser in question supports. As such, a Liverpool fan will claim we're biased against Liverpool (and favour Man United), while a Man United supporter will allege bias against United and preferential coverage of Liverpool.
This in itself ignores the many different opinions aired by talkSPORT, but it would be foolish to argue that every voice in the media is 100 per cent impartial. Our very own Micky Quinn happily pins his colours to the Liverpool mast and makes no secret of it, while disparate voices can be heard across the media when it comes to football coverage.
Take the views of Alan Hansen. As a Liverpool legend and high profile pundit, it might be expected that the Scot would be biased toward his old club, yet over the past year Hansen has variously criticised Suarez (for not shaking Patrice Evra's hand last February - “totally unacceptable”), suggested “he goes down very, very easily,” (in light of his dive against Stoke), then defended him after the Mansfield handball incident (“he cannot be blamed… He has become an easy target”). Is this evidence of Alan Hansen trying to help Manchester United?
The danger with giving credence to Suarez's claim of the media 'helping' United is that it feeds the paranoia of fans who advance the same dubious argument, insinuating that the Red Devils' success is aided by a collection of easily cowed journalists, pundits and media outlets.
As much as we'd all like to claim a title medal, however, someone needs to tell Luis that the credit for Manchester United's success really must go to Alex Ferguson and his players.
What do you think about Luis Suarez's comments on Manchester United and the media? Have your say by commenting below…