Harry Maguire at Beju restaurant: 'Open season on Sheffield's finest says more about his critics than him'

When Harry Maguire went out to celebrate a family member’s birthday, what should have been a private affair suddenly became another excuse to beat him.

Monday, 22nd November 2021, 2:04 pm

The 28-year-old, who was raised in Mosborough, was snapped at Beju in Sheffield hours after being sent off for Manchester United in what proved to be manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s last game.

The restaurant, on Glossop Road, on the edge of the city centre, sounds like the perfect place to get away from it all. Its website says: “Luxury lifestyle dining and entertainment through unique experiences that stimulate the senses and elevate the spirit. Delivered with passion and exceptional guest services that are firmly within a league of our own."

But pictures from a family member’s Instagram have made it into the national press and suddenly it is open season again on Harry.

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Manchester United's Harry Maguire (right) is sent off by referee Jonathan Moss after being shown a second yellow card during the Premier League match at Vicarage Road, Watford.

The Sun says: “Manchester United captain Harry Maguire enjoyed a meal with family and friends just hours after seeing red in the humiliating 4-1 defeat to Watford. The England international was sent off in the second half for a rash challenge on former United midfielder Tom Cleverley.”

The tone says it all. Humiliating and rash are judgemental and that’s where we are with Harry at the moment.

The Daily Mail piles in too. “The England centre back has endured a tough season so far, failing to continue the sparkling form he showed for the Three Lions at the Euros and picking up plenty of criticism from pundits over his performances this season.

Manchester United's Harry Maguire is sent off by referee Jonathan Moss after being shown a second yellow card during the Premier League match at Vicarage Road, Watford.

“He was slammed as 'embarrassing' by former United star Roy Keane for cupping his ears following his goal against Albania despite his poor club form, and faced calls to lose the United captaincy.”

Blimey. Tough season, embarrassing. The knives are out and all it took was Harry eating in public with his family. Is that a reason to hammer him?

Of course it isn’t, but it does say everything about the double standards used when judging successful professional footballers like Maguire. They are lauded when it’s going well, but vilified when it doesn’t. They are built up as heroes and then knocked down as villains. It is all about envy and nothing to do with being human and wanting to do what humans do. Like socialise with family.

No wonder Beju later deleted a picture of a member of staff with Harry from social media. What should have been a happy memory which could have helped a Sheffield business ends up being wrecked by the unwarranted intrusion of a media which can’t wait to kick Manchester United and its captain.

Harry remained dignified. When news broke of Solskjaer’s sacking he posted on Twitter: "You signed me for the best club in the world and gave me the biggest honour in football. Huge respect and forever grateful. Thank you for everything boss. Legend."

And as the press feed on every social media post, maybe they should reflect on the classy nature of this and how well it reflects on a man who deserves better.