Liverpool fan CHRIS ETCHINGHAM insists there are more important things in football to get vexed about than the antics of Luis Suarez
Firstly this is not a defence of Luis Suarez, he is old enough and certainly ugly enough to do that himself, rather what I am trying to do is to show that when it comes to Suarez there is an enormous amount of hyperbole and polarisation. Firstly I feel it only fair to point out that I am a Liverpool fan, however I like to feel that I’m a Liverpool fan with a little bit of perspective and balance, yes there are some of us! I loathe the tribalistic nature of football; in fact I’m one of those quirks of nature who support two teams. My dad was a Liverpool fan as were all six of his siblings and his dad was too. When I was about eleven years old I fancied a little bit of my own identity and decided to also support the next team I happened to see on TV, it was QPR and I’ve lived with that burden since. I’ve been lumbered with them and I’ve lived with both teams trials and tribulations for twenty five years or more.
I thought Liverpool handled the Suarez/Evra affair appallingly and he should have been sacked, it was only his net worth to the club that kept him at Anfield. Imagine if that was a youth trainee or a reserve team player who was the central figure in such a disgraceful affair, would the club have gone to such lengths to back him? In the period since that affair Suarez has become increasingly invaluable to the club with countless vital and beautiful goals and yes I’ve celebrated them with as much enthusiasm as if any other player (with the exception of Jon Flanagan maybe) had scored them. If this makes me a monster hypocrite then so be it.
So that’s me and my stall laid out, to use such a cringe worthy post match interview phrase. I’m a measured Liverpool fan who supports two teams and doesn’t think Suarez should even be at Anfield still, but what about that 35 yarder vs Norwich last season?!
I’m writing this a few hours after he appears to have taken a nibble out of Giorgio Chiellini’s left shoulder. He hasn’t been charged with any offence by FIFA as yet though however Vice President Jim Boyce has stated that “There is no doubt that FIFA must investigate this incident very seriously and take whatever action is deemed necessary.” Suarez does though seem to have been found guilty by the judge and jury otherwise known as Twitter. My timeline has been full of the people I follow being outraged by Suarez’s latest indiscretion, calling for him to be banned until the earth falls out of orbit with the sun. There is even an account called Ban Luis Suarez which now has over ten thousand followers.
The BBC has also covered the incident too, Alan Shearer has expressed his outrage at Suarez’s actions, he feels that Suarez should receive a lengthy ban. This is the same Alan Shearer who kicked Neil Lennon in the head and tried to plead his innocence. Poor little Alan. One over excited texter to the website called for Suarez to be sacked from Liverpool and banned for life. That’s right, in playing for Uruguay he should be banned from playing for Liverpool. Robbie Savage has also decried Suarez for apparently playing the victim in the immediate aftermath of the incident. Again, that’s Robbie Savage who once head butted Dion Dublin on a football pitch amongst other things.
This is the thing that has vexed me so much in the hours after the incident; the blatant hypocrisy of the situation. Fans and pundits feel outraged by the actions of this one bad man in a game which has otherwise been played since its Victorian inception in a Corinthian manner which would make Mother Theresa proud. Is this really the case; was the footballing world a place of flowers and rainbows before nasty old Luis arrived with his bag of cheating tricks? Well no of course not, those dirty foreigners have been coming over here for years corrupting our poor English players with their nasty diving ways. Or was that Franny Lee?
There has obviously been cheating in football for a long time. Diego Maradona when talking about his ‘Hand of God’ once turned to the camera and asked if “Mr. Honest Shilton” had ever saved the ball and kept quiet when the referee signalled a goal kick instead of a corner, or clawed the ball back from over the line and pretended it had never gone in. The answer is more than likely. Week in and out in our beautiful unspoilt Premier League we have players kicking the ball out for a throw in followed by a claim that the ball had deflected off an opposition player and therefore they should have the throw in. It’s all seeking an unfair advantage for your team no matter how small. Be it a cheeky appeal for something that you know isn’t yours, a dive in the penalty area or even a handball on the goal line in a World Cup quarter final in the last minute, its all cheating. Yet Suarez is the only player who seems to irk the little darlings on Twitter. Also don’t get me started on the number of Stoke fans who are outraged by Suarez but happily boo Aaron Ramsey every season for having the temerity to have his leg broken by a Stoke player.
As well as they blatant hypocrisy there is also the fact that there are far more important things in football to worry about than a player biting another. On a good day to bury bad news it was today announced that Helena Costa whose appointment to manage French club Clermont was seen as a giant move forward for the advancement of women in football would not now manage the club. There is a glass ceiling when it comes to Premier teams and attracting players from minority backgrounds, a distinct lack of openly gay footballers, Zenit St Petersburg fans openly wishing for black players not to be signed for the club and a myriad of other issues far more important than a man being bitten on a football pitch (try Googling “football child trafficking” and not reading the results with your draw dropped on the floor). Oh also Qatar labour laws and Dr Fuentes too.
Maybe the actual action of biting is so freakish that it upsets people so much and of course he has form in that this is the third time that he has bitten someone on the pitch. Yet would he generate that reaction if he was a hardman who tackled players whether the ball was there or not and had broken a few bones in his time? No of course not as crunching tackles appeal to our sense of playing hard but fair, but as a footballer would you rather be bitten on the shoulder or have Roy Keane rake his studs down your knee for some indiscretion from several years before?
Does Suarez deserve punishment? Yes, of course he does and it needs to be punitive as this is a third offence, but does the rest of the world need a sense of perspective and to take a good look at itself too?
Incidentally in April this year The Mirror broke a story concerning the England World Cup shirt being made in Indonesia by workers on 30p per hour and being sold in this country for up to £90. The mainly young female workers are often physically, verbally and sometimes sexually abused by supervisors and managers.
Still biting eh?
YOU CAN FOLLOW CHRIS ON TWITTER @CArmband
AND VIEW HIS BLOG/WEBSITE HERE http://emancipationforgoalposts1.wordpress.com/