Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Time For Someone To Show Some Teeth.

Inside Left regular, Richie Moran, returns to take Liverpool's Luis Suarez to task for biting off more than he can chew - but concludes that the Uruguayan's actions were not an isolated incident. Rather it is another example of the violence witnessed on the football pitch, and too often tolerated by the games' governing bodies. It was written before the announcement that Suarez will serve a 10 game ban.

So just as the judge in the John Terry (and Ashley Cole) case gave carte blanche for anyone who chooses to use the term "fucking black cunt" to proclaim they are not a racist, the usual band of apologists have sprung to the defence of the non-racist, non cheating, charmer that is Luis Suarez.

So let's have it right from the start (and for the sake of our children who play the game). Biting someone deliberately is violent, despicable and unacceptable (no matter how good you are). Should that occur gratuitously in a street fight (or a boxing ring, as the convicted rapist and biter Tyson, now a vegan apparently, put, or maybe didn't, his five eggs in) it is met with outrage in the press and the law courts don't look too favourably on it either.

Should you be stupid (or perhaps crazy) enough to do it more twice, having already incurred a seven match ban (and respect to the Dutch for effectively ending his career there) and having previous for head butting a referee and breaking his nose, you should surely not have the cojones to insist you deserve no more than the statutory 3 match ban for violent conduct and perhaps thank your lucky stars that you practice a profession so amoral that you can continually get away with and be defended for such behaviour.

Branislav Ivanovic showed what I thought was remarkable restraint (I personally would be apologising to my team mates for the sending off I had incurred) and no little dignity. What makes the whole situation worse, if you watch the incident again is that when the light bulb comes on and Suarez realises, almost straightaway that he has been caught on camera, he makes a pathetic attempt to feign injury (hardly the first time) to elicit sympathy.
Leaving aside (or maybe not) his tasteless celebrations after his reprieve from his deliberate handball against Ghana in the World Cup, (which he again tried to disguise), there is the fact that he again needed to use the same tactic to knock a non-league side out of the FA cup. Thierry Henry is forever blemished for me for what he did against Ireland.

Then there is his relentless cheating (the pathetic dive against Stoke being one of many) including perpetually kicking and punching people in the most cowardly fashion off the ball, although Pat Nevin seemed to find it really funny on Match of the Day 2 recently, when he showed four clips of Suarez kicking people in such fashion, one being disturbingly close to Dembele's genitals.

Regarding the Evra incident, not only is my Spanish reasonable, but I was sent the transcript of what Suarez said in English and to claim that he merely called Evra a negro, or used some cute affectionate terminology is disingenuous to say the least. For the Liverpool fans (and former players) who have once again excused this vile behaviour, I would say to you that you besmirch the memories of the likes of the magnificent Anne Williams, who died last week and certainly Bill Shankly, Bob Paisley, Ronnie Moran and Joe Fagan, who I don't believe would have stood for this. How would any of you feel if someone stated that basically Norman Bettinson was a great cop, despite the fact that he vilified the victims of Hillsborough?

The argument that Suarez is a great player (which he undoubtedly is) is absolutely irrelevant. Had he been a youth team player, or not such a valuable financial commodity (which is pretty much the entire crux of the matter) he would have had his P45. So I say to Ian Rush who has vociferously defended him, you too were a great player, but can we really take seriously the opinion of someone who couldn't settle at Juventus, because "it was like playing in a foreign country"!

Graeme Souness - another fantastic player, but one of the biggest thugs on a pitch in recent years. I certainly remember him breaking someone's jaw, his disgraceful tackle against Steaua Bucharest, when playing for Rangers and many more, but at least I suppose he wasn't a coward, which is precisely what Suarez is.

Alan Shearer is another I hope hasn't pontificated too much. I have played against him and know exactly what he is. I'm sure many people have not forgotten his blatant and disgraceful kick at Neil Lennon and it was alleged afterwards that he threatened not to represent England again if action was taken by the FA. Likewise I remember as a non league player, playing against Martin Keown, who threatened to break my legs should I go past him again. Suffice it to say he didn't quite manage it!

There are many others over the years who should simply have been banned for various reasons, in my humble opinion. Current Sheffield United boss, Chris Morgan for his disgraceful assault on Tranmere's Ian Hume, which left him with a fractured skull, being one of them. Likewise John Fashanu for the same thing on Gary Mabbutt (and being a practicising martial artist I know how lethal an elbow strike is, believe me). El Hadji Diouf, who not only spat at fans at Liverpool, Celtic (and possibly Middlesborough), but spat directly in the face of Arjan De Zeeuw at Portsmouth and almost caused a riot at an Old Firm game is another, everyone should be glad to see the back of, no matter how gifted.

Wayne Rooney (again because of his worth) has been allowed to get away with several indiscretions, including having the FA support him for his pointless sending off against Montenegro and there was his vicious (cowardly) assault on Wigan's James McCarthy, of course played down by that man of integrity and paragon of behavioural virtue Alex Ferguson! Lee Hughes is still playing despite causing someone's death in his car and fleeing the scene (although he has served his time), as is Marlon King who has served time for sexual assault. When Ched Evans was convicted of rape, it was the victim who was vilified on Facebook and Twitter and had her identity revealed.

Had I been a team mate of Carlos Tevez (or a City fan), I would not have forgiven him for clearing off home for months, leaving his club in the lurch, notwithstanding the fact that he chose to ignore the driving laws of his adopted country on his return. Aside from anything else, if as is claimed his lack of English is a hindrance, is it not more than a little dangerous as he surely has difficulty deciphering road signs?

Earlier this season, Dave Whelan and Roberto Martinez sought to play down Calum McManaman's, potentially career threatening tackle on Newcastle's Haidara. Why oh why, when the evidence is so conclusive can't the player themselves (and his manager and chairman) just say, "sorry, I was wrong"? It is not that difficult!

So to return to the subject in hand (or mouth), how long until a very young child bites his opponent, because he has seen his hero the Liverpool number 7 do it ? And believe me it will happen. I have already seen children as young as 8, replicating the diving and swearing they see every week on the TV.

Liverpool Football Club are held in worldwide esteem and have a certain reputation for integrity, especially in light of all they have endured since Hillsborough. I lost respect for them when their players defended Suarez's indefensible racist diatribe at Evra, but firmly believe that the way Kenny Dalglish handled it, actually cost him his job. Rightly, or wrongly (very much the latter for me) footballers are perceived as role models, but such is the money and influence, they now command that so many believe they are virtually omnipotent.

How many Liverpool fans (especially with the Evra incident, because he played for their hated rivals) said Suarez was wrong? Likewise Chelsea with John Terry. It seems with tribal allegiances any behaviour (and language) is acceptable. Would the same people defend Saville, Mick Philpott or the Yorkshire Ripper owing to their football allegiances? One would hope not.

Whoever you support, what Suarez did was vile, cowardly, potentially dangerous and plain wrong and I'm sure many parents have had to chastise their children for biting, some probably even bit them back. I am no lover of Manchester United, but at least they had the balls to suspend their best player, after his Kung Fu kick at Crystal Palace.

I was not always a paragon of virtue on a football pitch, but if I was wrong, I was wrong. Simples!

I very much doubt it (and I still think a ban for merely the rest of this season is a Kop out), but serious action really needs to be taken (as it should have been when Defoe bit Mascherano), because this is simply not acceptable.

As someone who also have extensive knowledge of working in the mental health field, Suarez has a mixture of mad and bad. I do not accept that his so called will to win is any greater than many players over the years (regardless of ability) but how is biting someone going to increase that chance?

Let us hope the FA, Liverpool (and their fans) actually show some teeth and punish this reprehensible man and his reprehensible act accordingly!