SIR Alex Ferguson believes the highly controversial manner in which Kenny Dalglish handled the Luis Suarez racism case was a factor in him getting sacked by Liverpool.
Dalglish was axed at the end of the season after a dismal Premier League campaign which ended with the Reds languishing in eighth spot.
Yet that lamentable effort was overshadowed by Suarez being found by the Football Association to have racially abused Manchester United defender Patrice Evra at Anfield last October.
A subsequent eight-match ban and £40,000 fine was followed by Liverpool players wearing T-shirts in support of their South American team-mate, with Dalglish opting to keep the argument rumbling on rather than simply apologising.
Suarez’s failure to shake hands with Evra prior to the Premier League rematch at Old Trafford in February forced owner John Henry to intervene.
And Ferguson feels the entire regrettable episode did not do much for Dalglish’s standing amongst the Liverpool hierarchy.
“I wasn’t surprised at Kenny leaving,” said Ferguson.
“John Henry has obviously looked at that (the Suarez incident) and felt it wasn’t handled in the right way.
“It certainly wasn’t a nice thing to happen and it must have been part of it.”
Even with Dalglish gone though, Suarez has kept the matter rumbling on.
In an interview in Uruguay, the former Ajax striker claimed United exert too much power at the Football Association, and it is that what led to him being found guilty, a verdict, he said, reduced him to tears.
Dalglish’s replacement Brendan Rodgers has reacted by stating it is time to move on from the episode.
“It’s not going to go away if Suarez keeps on making headlines out of it,” said Ferguson.
“It was nothing to do with Manchester United.
“It wasn’t Evra’s contribution, it wasn’t Suarez’s contribution. What killed Suarez was the guy who explained the cultural differences.”
A lot has been made of the Suarez not shaking Evra’s hand.
Whilst Suarez was roundly condemned at the time, he is not the only one who felt Evra’s body language suggested he was avoiding contact given his hand was held out loosely, and below the level you would normally expect in such a situation.
Ferguson believes there is a reason for that.
“I think Evra expected him not to shake hands,” said the Scot.
“He actually said that to the lads. He just felt that he wasn’t going to shake his hand. He was embarrassed to put his hand there.
“But there is no doubt Evra put his hand towards him.
“It’s Suarez who should be making the effort to do something about it.”
That row, coupled with the recent court case involving John Terry and Anton Ferdinand, have not painted football in the best light.
There is a feeling more work needs to be done in an effort to stamp the remaining racial tensions out of the game.
Yet Ferguson feels the incidents have obscured what is largely an impressive track record.
“I don’t think there is cause to worry about racism in England,” he said.
“Since I have been down here we have made great strides forward.
“I don’t see any problem with the game in terms of race.”