You want a piece o' me? Huh, Luis? Do ya?
Well such a huge heap of disgust has been tipped onto the bugsy gaucho's bonce
that you could be forgiven for thinking he was being investigated by Operation
Yewtree. (The news that Rolf Harris may be in trouble too is almost too much to
bear - the phrase 'can you tell what it is yet?' will never sound the same
But how much do we need to tolerate on a football pitch? Nothing escapes a Sky
Let's not pretend that footy used to have a noble heart. When I was growing up
the true villains of our beautiful game were celebrated, elevated to the level
of cult heroes: Bite Yer Legs Hunter, Chopper Harris - someone once called us
Roughhouse Robson and I didn't mind a bit (although in retrospect it sounds a
bit camp). On the flipside there was the exploitative attacker Francis Lee, a
man who tumbled like Nadia Comaneci every time a set of metal studs got within a
foot of his shinpad-less legs.
The fact that today's bad boys live in gated mansions and spend the tail-ends of
their careers buying their seventeenth sports cars and getting themselves
groomed for the role of pundit couch scatter cushions only makes them even more
Luis Suarez, though, eh? In the rampant dash towards notoriety Suarez is making
John Terry look like a choirboy. A cheat, a racist and now, a devourer of human
flesh. It's not as if that set of choppers isn't already rather dangerous-looking. You could certainly open your bottles of beer on his gob.
But biting someone. Actually chomping. Isn't there something in the DAngerous Dogs Act that means we're allowed to put him down for the sake of society?
I must confess the first time I came across him was his clenched fist as Asamoah
Gyan missed that last minute penalty in the World Cup after he'd punched a shot
off the line. Lots of people were calling him ungentlemanly scum at that point.
Me, I thought he did what just about every other footballer in the world would
have done. Got himself sent off to save the team. The penalty was missed. He was
vindicated. Of course he was pleased.
Now he's been at Liverpool a while we have been really made more aware of the
man's qualities. It turns out he really is a quintessential piece of pond life,
save for the fact that his feet do quite wonderful things to a football. The
pass for Sturridge's equaliser wasn't football, it was Art. If he were an
employee of the Government he'd have had his funding removed long ago.
Suarez's handball to gift-wrap Chelsea's second was the work of a dopey and
inveterate cheat whose instinct is as much for the deceitful as the brilliant.
As for his fit of the munchies... Well, first of all it's worth taking time out
to praise the remarkable restraint of Branislav Ivanovic. The man deserves a
fecking sainthood. Most mortal men would have yanked a corner-flag out of the
ground and used the little nibbler as a hog-roast.
Suarez's apology - and that of his club - has been rapid and cringeworthy. After all, he's
bitten people before.
And the big question is not 'Why is Suarez such a cunt?' We need highly-trained psychologists and
animal-trainers to get to the bottom of that. The real question is: 'why would
Liverpool put up with such a twat?'
Liverpool FC is not the most rational place in the world. There's reason for a
sense of victimhood. The maltreatment of the memories and families of the 96
should never be forgotten. But even the exaltation of Benitez is less difficult
to fathom than those that seek to excuse the Montevideo Man-Eater. At
least his team-mates will be excused the indignity of wearing pathetic t-shirts. I expect they've been printed up already... A picture of Luis, donkey teeth splayed in a wide grin of triumph and a little legend beneath it saying; 'The Tooth Hurts! But Luis Is Innocent! '
But Suarez is not going anywhere. Ian Ayre has said that already. We just need
to teach him how to play nicely, he says (this habitual faller, faker and
Some folk say that the great trough of dosh that the Premier League brings with
it hasn't corrupted the honest John of British football. But the retention of Suarez by Liverpool is down to 2 distinct factors: 1. He's very good at football; and 2. If they got rid of him now he'd only get bought up for less money than he's worth by some club with the morality of a mosquito.
So, ho hum, say Liverpool, we're lumbered with him.
But there comes a time when even the most talented and costly individual needs to be jettisoned, not cosseted. Surely. I assume that the FA will give him a Cantona-like eight months to cool his heels and, who knows, file down his canines.
In the menatime, never mind limp-wristed, ineffective, meaningless, fines, Liverpool Football Club. Show some courage, Koppites. Get shot of the great embarrassment. And breathe the pure clean air of righteousness. If you do, you won't be walking alone.