The Respect Campaign

I echo many Liverpool supporters in saying that with Kenny Dalglish back in charge, we are like born-again fans.

Within the short time since King Kenny took charge of the team, he has inspired the resurgence of the team which have re-discovered the self-belief and re-kindled the fire. Better still, it is a joy to see how he cleverly took on Sir Alex Ferguson.

Before Sunday's match against Manchester United, King Kenny, without mentioning Ferguson by name, expressed his concern that "the ones who shout the loudest get more beneficial decisions" from referees. After Ferguson was charged with improper conduct by the English FA after he spoke out against the referee following Manchester United's 2-1 defeat at Chelsea on 1 March, Kenny Dalglish stressed his hope that such comments would not influence officials' decisions in United's favour. That is a brilliant move against Ferguson's time-honoured tactic of putting pressure on match officials, the so-called mind games that he is so good at playing.
Dalglish's comments were echoed by former boss Rafael Benitez, who said that "the people who are doing the right things have to have some benefit and, to the people that are not doing this, someone has to say, 'Enough is enough'."

The unfair advantage United have been enjoying, probably because of such abusive comments by the United boss, has led to the fury and query of some football personnel. After Wayne Rooney escaped a red card and a retrospective ban after elbowing James McCarthy during a recent match against Wigan, Wigan chairman Dave Whelan said he felt Rooney's escape was unjustifiable.

"I cannot understand how the FA can say there will be no further action," Whelan said. "Manchester United is a great club and Fergie is just simply the best manager, but it is the referees who seem to be afraid of applying the law to United and I don't know why. Man United get treated a little bit differently to the rest of the football clubs. I wish they would treat Wigan like that. I wish we could get away with certain things that Man United get away with."

Referring to Rooney's foul, he said: "If it was any other club or player, you can bet your life he would have been sent off, but officials seem intimidated by the words 'Rooney' and 'United'. Manchester United are allowed to get away with things the rest of us get pulled up for, and you can't have one set of rules for one club and another for the rest. I don't care what the FA say about the matter being dealt with at the time by us getting a free-kick. They, and everyone else in football, know justice isn't being served here."

Likewise, FIFA president Sepp Blatter also claimed the English FA could have thrown the book at Wayne Rooney. He said: "This is up to the discretion of the national association. They can use video evidence in the discipline and control committee."

Blatter called on managers to show more respect to referees. "Everyone deserves fair play," Blatter said. "Respect starts with self-discipline. This is what we are asking everywhere, from youth teams upwards and it is also valid for personalities. The higher your position the higher your responsibility. Those that have more power should be more responsible towards others. This is a principle in life."

This respect campaign was what Dalglish spoke out quite pointedly about. "When I came back in as manager I was made fully aware of the respect campaign with regard to officials. I think we have adhered to the campaign in every respect... It is impossible for officials not to make mistakes, but there is a respect campaign in football and I want to know whether we are going to be the only ones that adhere to it. I hope that we aren't going to suffer as a club because we show respect to officials. We will continue to respect the campaign - but only as long as we don't suffer in any way, shape or form because of it."

I hate to say it, but this sounds almost like a mind game to me.

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