The genius of Gordon Strachan: Pundit decries moral decay in football

Ghana Uruguay

Formerly of Manchester United, Leeds United and Celtic, Strachan has denounced the actions of Liverpool and Uruguay star Suarez - and football in general.

The grave picture that Gordon Strachan paints of football through these perpetual dark ages consists of murky characters - drawing light on cases involving Djibril Cisse, Jermaine Pennant and John Terry - who compete on turf where only demons dare to tread.

When one thinks of the most memorable World Cup moments, for every Johan Cruyff turn there is a Zinedine Zidane headbutt; for every Bobby Moore tackle on Pele there is a Diego Maradona hand-of-God goal; for a Gordon Banks save there is an Andres Escobar (RIP) own goal and for every resounding Brazil victory there are dodgy calls, claims of incompetent officiating (or worse, corruption) and now, there is Luis Suarez.

A Spanish article perhaps said it best: "Suarez is like the scorpion from the fable that promises not to sting the frog, but does it anyway. It is in the scorpion's nature to use its sting, as it is part of the Uruguayan's make-up to sink his teeth."

It is easy for football writers or FIFA disciplinary committees to sit and criticise the athletes, just like it is easy for boxing journalists to lay into pugilists for punching after the break, throwing low-blows and/or taking a chunk out of Evander Holyfield's ear.

However, precious few have written about sports and competed themselves. There is something about competition, particularly at the elite-level, that can bring the devil out of sportsmen and women. For Strachan, it is not merely a case of Suarez being an isolated incident, but how it underlines a morally bankrupt environment.

"We give Uruguay stick about defending him [and] in football, people talk morals, we don't have them - none," he said on ITV during Thursday evening's broadcast, before reiterating: "We don't have any morals in football! Over the years I've played football there have been wife-batterers, drink driving accidents, there's been infidelity, Eric Cantona jumping into the crowd and kung-fu kicking somebody in the chest - and the clubs stand by them."

He continued: "And the supporters themselves, when these guys come back, they stand up and clap them on the pitch, so don't go talking about morals because we don't have them in football.

"If these things happen to youth team players, with no importance, they get sacked but because these players bring in merchandise and bring them money they [the club and the board of directors] will back them to the hill."

Perhaps the most telling part of Strachan's light-bulb tirade was his starting comment: "In any other business, if you have a stress-related problem, you help them."

Help is something Suarez received after he attempted to eat Branislav Ivanovic's arm. After all, Brendan Rodgers - renowned for his man management - employed Dr Steve Peters to work with the striker. The Ulsterman said last summer: "We will be able to put in place the various needs in order for him to get that help."

That help will not have been afforded to him of late as he is under Uruguay's watch, not Liverpool's. But the club are the biggest losers in all of this as they will be without their main asset for four months after FIFA's swift sanction.

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