Playing in such close proximity to each other in England’s north west, Manchester United and Liverpool have always enjoyed a healthy rivalry, but that occasionally spills over as it once famously did between Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra.
Back at Anfield in 2011, Evra accused the Uruguayan of being racist towards him, per the Daily Mirror, and when the two teams met later in the season at Old Trafford, the bad feeling clearly hadn’t subsided with Suarez first refusing a handshake from the Frenchman before Evra celebrated wildly in front of him at the end of the match.
Now Evra has risked reigniting the feud by laying his feelings bare from that particular encounter.
“The referee [Andre Marriner] came over and asked what was happening with us two,” he said to the Official Manchester United podcast.
“He’d seen my eyes change and he asked if I was okay. I told him he racially abused me and he said: ‘Okay, we’ll talk after the game. Keep playing and don’t do anything silly’.
“I remember, during that game, I was talking to myself saying: ‘If you punch him now, people will see you as the bad one. People will forget about what he said’. I was talking to myself: ‘Don’t do… do it…’ I wasn’t focused for the game. “I can do my job – I could have punched him on the pitch, but what would I have got? Maybe banned for two years? In front of all the kids and all the people watching the game.
”After it was in the papers, and Manchester United received so many threatening letters about me. People said: ‘We’re in jail, we’re Liverpool fans. When we get out, we’re going to kill you and your family’.
“For two months, I had security everywhere I went. They were sleeping in front of my house. Everywhere I went, the security followed me. It was a tough time, but I wasn’t scared. My family were scared: my wife and brother, but I wasn’t. I couldn’t understand why people hated me so much. They didn’t know the truth.”
Dredging up the past hasn’t really done the former United left-back any favours though, because the incident remains an unsavoury mess for both sides. It was thought that the fall out from the same had long been put to bed, but Evra’s attempts to further clarify the situation and set the record straight could well backfire.