SWANNY'S WORLD OF SPORT: Cheats still prosper in football
I find it increasingly hard to sustain my love for football.
And not just because Posh have become tough to watch in recent seasons.
My heart sank again last week when I read about Plymouth Argyle’s tactic of removing ball boys from the side of the pitch as they defended a two-goal lead against League Two promotion rivals Carlisle United.
Argyle manager Derek Adams, a surly Scot, admitted the decision was made as the ball boys were ‘retrieving the ball too quickly.’ A sad statement by a man happy to introduce youngsters to the world of football where cheating, gamesmanship and blatant unsporting behaviour is not just commonplace, but actually encouraged.
It shouldn’t matter, but when I hear of these actions in the lower leagues it irritates me more than when I see top-class cheats like Luis Suarez in action.
And my word Suarez was in fine fettle in last week’s Champions League victory for Barcelona over Paris St Germain, a match dopey football insiders with goldfish-length memories predictably hailed as the greatest of all time.
Actually it was the most tawdry spectacle of all-time and I felt sorry for the victims The French side were negative, useless and panicked like Corporal Jones in the final stages, but they didn’t deserve to be the fall guys for a level of orchestrated simulation and incompetent officiating, the like of which I had never seen before.
Suarez is the best player I have ever seen in the Premier League, so good he made Brendan Rodgers seem a half-decent manager and turned Daniel Sturridge into a competent striker.
But I can’t stand the bloke. He’s a cheat, a con-man, a master of the dark arts. If he’s not savagely biting opponents he’s trying to get them sent off by throwing himself to the ground like a WWE performer.
Suarez was cautioned for diving 10 minutes before he dived again to win Barcelona a crucial penalty. You’d think officials would be wary of such a serial offender, but no, they continually fall into his trap.
Suarez is given every encouragement to carry on cheating by compliant referees and by Barcelona’s many cheerleaders in the media.
The reaction of the foolish foursome in the BT Sprts Studio - Gary Lineker, Michael Owen, Rio Ferdinand and Steven Gerrard - when Barcelona grabbed a sixth goal was embarrassing, but not as embarrassing as the lot of them glossing over a blatant act of cheating which helped win the game.
Most shamefully Gerrard, a former team-mate of Suarez, described his pal’s dive as ‘clever’, while Owen, a striker who has been known to go down easily himself in the area before morphing into a most awful pundit/commentator, merely stated ‘the defender gave the referee a decision to make’. No lads. Suarez is a serial cheat who cheated again. His actions were inexcusable, so were your’s.