It was all about respect - Evra
Liverpool's Luis Suarez, left, and Manchester United's Patrice Evra shake hands prior to kick-off
Patrice Evra has confirmed there was never a chance he would not shake Luis Suarez's hand at Anfield on Sunday.
Almost 12 months after the bitter racism row between the pair first surfaced, they finally shook hands to end their personal dispute. Ahead of Manchester United's 2-1 Premier League win over Liverpool, it was part of a sequence of events aimed at ensuring an emotional day passed off peacefully.
It achieved its goal too, until long after the final whistle, when a couple of Liverpool fans ran across the main stand to goad the United contingent with a Munich gesture. Evra said: "The most important thing today was respect. It was a game between two big clubs."
He continued: "There was a big tragedy. People were talking about a handshake but the stories of the clubs is bigger than that. If I hadn't shaken Suarez's hand, I would not be respecting the stories of the clubs.
"In the end I am glad this time he shook my hand. More importantly, it was important to respect the families. It was not an easy day."
The response of the United fans to the taunts was depressingly predictable, chanting "Always the victims" and "Murderers" - reminders of the Merseyside club's own recent tragedies in Hillsborough and Heysel.
Social networking sites were flooded with responses as the bitterness spilled over. Yet neither manager was able to shed any light on the matter.
And all Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers could say was that the battle against those who let both clubs down will go on. He said: "What was done at the end I cannot comment on as I didn't hear or see anything. There is an intense rivalry here and you don't want that to end because that is all a part of what makes this the biggest game in British football.
"But it is on the field where competition should be and everything else, songs from Liverpool or Manchester supporters, any of us that have any human decency don't like to hear that.
"The fight will go on if there is a continuation of that but certainly at this club the work that has gone on in the last couple of weeks is something I am very proud of and the tributes today were fantastic."
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In my opinion, the whole ocassion up till the end of the match was a fitting tribute to the 96 who died. Both sets of fans showed how to support their teams passionately without overstepping the boundaries of decency and the ceremonies before the game were very moving.
Evra and Suarez did the decent thing. They are never going to be friends but as Evra said, some things are more important than a handshake between two men.
It's a real shame that a few idiots spoiled it a bit at the end but it was perhaps inevitable that one or two would lose their rag at a match that always stirs the emotions. I'm not excusing it though because they should know better.
I hope it sets a precedent now and that at future matches between our great clubs there is less and less reference to Munich and Hillsborough.
These aren't real football fans or supporters making these chants and they'll continue because it requires a certain level of IQ which I sincerely doubt many don't have!
And Evra should have also been charged by the FA along with Suarez last year for bringing the game into disrepute for the onfield comments he made about Suarez's family member but hey he plays for Utd.....nuff said!!!