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By Andi Thomas and Alex Netherton

No, we’re not going to talk about it.

Instead, we’re going to talk about Tottenham, and Manchester City, and Andre Villas-Boas. It turns out that the Iberian sexpot with a voice like a pepper-grinder is quite good at this management business: his substitutions changed first the shape of his team, then the dynamic of the entire game. Particular praise is due to Tom Huddlestone, who neatly demonstrated that moving your body around a lot is all well and good, Scott Parker, but it’s better to be able to move the ball.

His opposite number Roberto Mancini, meanwhile, brought on own-brand winger Scott Sinclair, then deployed Joleon Lescott up front, the first time a dirty protest has been broadcast on national television. It just goes to show that LUIS SUAREZ BIT BRANISLAV IVANOVIC! HE BIT HIM ON THE ARM! WITH HIS TEETH!

Ahem. Sorry. Anyway, Tottenham’s win, along with Arsenal’s win over Fulham and Chelsea’s draw against Liverpool—careful—mean that the Race For A Higher Level Of Television Income Next Season is tighter than the CLENCHED JAW OF A DERANGED SAVAGE USING THE TEETH IN HIS FACE TO WORRY THE ARM OF A FELLOW PROFESSIONAL, LIKE A SQUIRREL WITH A HEADACHE SAVAGING A WILLOW TREE!

Dammit. Down the bottom of the table, QPR are now so buggered that even Harry Redknapp has come to terms with the fact that his magical powers of escapology may not shield him from at least some of the responsibility. (Joke: of course they will.) But for a man who was once so keen to serve his country, his team’s failure to beat Stoke represents the very worst dereliction of duty. We’re trying to make the world a better place here, Harry, and it’s time you started pulling your weight. Or have you bitten off more than you can CHEW CHEW CHEW CHEW CHEW! ON IVANOVIC’S ARM! WITH THE TEETH IN HIS FACE! WHAT’S HE DOING? WHY IS HE DOING THAT?

Gah! Sorry! Right! Something else…Paolo di Canio did some celebrating, as Everton did some capitulating. If only Thatcher had dropped in a couple of knee slides towards the end, she could have gone to her grave in peace. Wigan are still in trouble, though such is the power of their reputation that should they go down, nobody will actually notice, and they’ll still end up in next season’s preview supplements. Andy Carroll, meanwhile, continues to refine his own brand of equine berzerkery to a sharp point, AS SHARP AS THE FROTHING INCISORS OF LUIS SUAREZ AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA HE BIT HIM! WHAT?

Er…

Um…

FOR THE SECOND TIME IN HIS CAREER!

Well…

Okay, okay, okay. We’ll talk about it. There is an odd dynamic to the outrage in which we are swimming, a kind of blanket insistence on the moralistic absolute. This would obviously be appropriate for something like, say, racial abuse, which is still getting caviled and caveated into irrelevance by the remarkably white world of football journalism. It’s been a good day for the words “claimed”, and “alleged” and “controversial”, and for the placing of scare quotes around the words “racial abuse”, and for neatly eliding or completely overlooking Suarez’s own admissions regarding the matter. Perhaps nobody likes being shouted at by Liverpool fans. Or perhaps nobody cares.

Everybody cares about this, though. Really and certainly cares, with a white-hot sense of righteousness that feel deeply incongruous. Because as well as being an act for for which he should have been sent off, and as well as being an act for which he will be banned, it was (and still is) very, very funny. Perhaps it shouldn’t be, but then, we don’t make the rules. The prevailing tone of fatally-twisted knickers is out of step with the honest response.

Part of the humour comes from the oddity of the thing. Biting is transgressive in a way that more straightforward and traditional forms of violence aren’t. It’s objectively worse to break somebody’s leg than chew on their bicep, but it’s a lot less peculiar. Kicking one another is what footballers do; biting is reserved for vampires in fairy stories, junkies in American news items, and Hannibal Lecter.

Another part comes from the fact that this is Suarez, for whom the second half—gorgeous assist, stupid handball, quick munch on an opponent, poached winner—was more-or-less a best-of, though thankfully he decided not to gob off at Ryan Bertrand. This is not to say it’s a good thing to be doing, or to argue that Suarez won’t deserve the lengthy ban that’s coming his way. It’s just to acknowledge that it’s possible to shake your head and laugh at the same time. Human beings are not binary creatures.

Things, as they are wont to do, are happening. Opinion pieces are falling out of the internet, most of them insisting Liverpool have to sell; this makes little to no sense considering that the last time he did this, they bought him. Graeme Souness is condemning onfield violence, apparently without irony. The PFA have offered him anger management counselling, which of course worked so well for Joey Barton. Suarez, for his part, apologized to Ivanovic immediately—well, no, he apologised later in the evening; his immediate reaction was to feign a limp—and then made sure his sponsors Twitter followers were aware that he was disgusted by his own behaviour. Patrice Evra is still waiting.

One question remains tantalisingly unanswered: How on earth did Ivanovic resist the urge to lamp him?

Comments (9)

  1. Great article as usual guys!

    Suarez is a disgrace! What a waste of footballing talent on pure scum and digenerate of a human being. Second time biting a fellow player during a match, racial abusing a fellow player and multiple cheater/diver. This man needs the book thrown at him by the FA not a fine like what LFC did today plus pledge his future at the club.

  2. Great article. However, the link you posted on the “admission” was a little off and I’d say lazy on your part. Anyone (with an IQ above 50 knows) who read any of the FA report will immediately raise their eyebrows on Evra’s hilariously fabricated testimony. Bash Suarez for doing everything he’s ever done. But the Evra thing still makes my stomach churn. It was a calculated hack job by a farcical tribunal. No evidence. No admission of guilt.

    The only admission of guilt I ever heard from him, was earlier this year when he said: “I wish I hadn’t spoken to him in Spanish. It was clear that he had way less a grasp of the language than I had thought and misjudged everything I was saying to him”. It’s just bad journalism to repeat lies. It’s even worse to pass on a forced club apology as an acceptance of blame.

    Thanks for your post.

    • By the way, post of the year here. I love the writer of this blog by the way…. LOL. It’s cool though. People always assume others are too lazy to read a link, so they’ll assume it’s true! haha. There’s basically no admission of anything in it. Other than: “I’m sorry this all happened”.

      Peace.
      Nick

  3. Hi guys! Loved the article. It’s recently dawned on me that this guy really can’t control himself and needs mental counseling. It’s sad because you read over and over again how he’s legitimately a great guy off the pitch at every club he’s ever played at. He needs help.
    It’s sad, also, because it’s obvious he doesn’t have the aggressive intend that Balotelli had/has or the inhuman maliciousness that Roy Keane had during his career (on and off the pitch). I agree that I thought it was too funny seeing him bite Ivanovic, but he’s not well. I hope he learns and becomes the player the world dreams he can be. This guy has “Zidane” potential. He’s THAT good.

    • If it wasn’t for him, I’d be watching Golf. Possibly English football’s all time most entertaining character. Just tantalizing at the moment. The media’s wet dream. I feel for him though. The double standards are a tad uncomfortable. I guess he’s unlucky he’s not white (although he comes from a much more successful football nation). Quack!

  4. Suarez is a racist. Next!

  5. It’s embarrassingly arrogant behaviour such as this that actually has changed my mind and convinced me that the Suarez-Evra scandal was a fix up. First it was the cowardly dance around him after the game (what a victim eh?)…now this: http://balls.ie/wp-content/uploads/cache/2013/04/Capture141/845380692.jpg

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