Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Luis Has Harmed Liverpool Brand

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Luis Has Harmed Liverpool Brand

Article excerpt

LUIS Suarez's behaviour over the course of his Liverpool career has damaged the club brand, according to managing-director Ian Ayre.

The Uruguayan returned from a 10-match ban for biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic in Wednesday night's Capital One Cup defeat to Manchester United, having previously served an eight-game suspension for racially abusing United defender Patrice Evra.

Suarez further antagonised Reds supporters over the summer by agitating for a move away from Anfield, but Liverpool's principal owner John W Henry insisted the player would not be sol1d under any circumstances.

Ayre was impressed by Suarez's performance in the 1-0 loss at Old Trafford and by his desire to keep out of controversy on the night, but admitted the incidents the 26-yearold had been involved in previously had had a negative effect on the club.

He said at the Nolan Partners Sport Industry Breakfast Club: "Of course, any types of incident of that nature are damaging to a brand.

"However, Liverpool Football Club are way, way bigger and always will be way bigger than any one player or one individual.

"What is important at those times is to ensure we act respectfully and professionally as a football club.

"In the past we got some of that wrong and I'd say more recently we got that right.

Luis is a footballer, sort of a street fighter, a larger-than-life character and we have seen that across not just even the Premier League but across football and other sports.

"Nobody is condoning any bad behaviour, but it is just something you have to deal with.

"He is what he is, he is the character he is, and we have to try and harness that.

"We have worked a lot with Luis since the last incident with Ivanovic and he has responded well to that.

"He has been prepared to commit to that sort of work on his character.

"We saw him back on Wednesday night and he showed the good bits of Luis, which is terrorising defenders and we're pleased he is back, pleased he is contributing.

"As we said all along through the summer, we expected him to remain a Liverpool player. …

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