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Everybody's Talkin'

Hey, you there! Yes, you. Have you got an opinion on the contentious issue tearing at the very moral fabric of our society? You do? Excellent. Now, take a ticket and join the queue because these other fellows have a lot to say.

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Clive Brunskill

What's simultaneously beguiling and odious about modern existence is the sheer immediacy of everything. The concept of delayed gratification is a quaint anachronism, belonging to an age of rotary dial phones and love letters. In the thrusting, carbon-fibre-wired 2013, we want it all now.

After watching Kenny Dalglish take a ball on his chest and elegantly volley home against Chelsea, to win the title in 1986, I was forced to wait until the next day to revel in newspaper photos and pore over sparse quotes from my hero. Nowadays, if a player, let's say, bites someone, the gif will be flying to my smart phone within seconds -- often with a blithesome witticism attached.

The feeding frenzy in the wake of Luis Suarez's latest indiscretion has been spectacularly all-pervasive. The media's appetite for this story is so voracious that it has threatened to consume itself. Commentators are fulminating about the poorly researched and inadequately referenced pronouncements of other commentators.

I've become so inured to it, so very numb, that I have inwardly wished for the Uruguayan to bite my arm and snap me out of the stupor induced by the procession of moralistic and reactionary drivel emanating from all the black boxes in my home.

Broadly speaking, outside of Brendan Rodgers and others connected to Liverpool Football Club, the talking heads have fallen into two camps -- those who abhor the actions of Suarez but feel the sentence was a touch draconian and those who really abhor the actions of Suarez and want him banished to a gulag or a space station.

Wigan manager and Dave Whelan employee, Roberto Martinez, has been earnestly pontificating about the whole sorry mess. He took umbrage to any suggestion that the ban Suarez received is excessive in the light of Callum McManaman escaping censure for his career-threatening 'tackle' on Newcastle's Massadio Haidara.

"It's completely different," Martinez insisted. "There is a big difference between something that happens when you have behaviour that is a normal part of the game. You are trying to win the ball, hit it and then follow through. That is very different to having unsporting behaviour with violent conduct."

But Roberto, surely there was a touch of reckless violence about your man's challenge -- actually, never mind.

"I don't think there is a question about the ban," he continued. "Everyone agreed it was wrong behaviour and he was the first to accept it...We all knew it was wrong behaviour. It is not something you should see on a football pitch. Everyone has to accept that it was going to be followed by a ban."

Over on the south coast, a different opinion was offered by Mauricio Pochettino, manager of Southampton. He claimed that the "most worrying thing is to know and understand what motivated Suarez's behaviour." He agreed that there had to be "some kind of punishment" but he was more concerned with sanctions for players "who go in hard on tackles" but receive bans of only two or three games.

Anfield legend, Dietmar Hamann also believes the ban is just. The prolific Twitter user took to the social network to express his exasperation at the club objecting to the severity of the ban. His thoughts will alienate some of the more partisan fans who are angered by what they perceive as a prejudice against Suarez.

"Suarez was always going to get six games plus," said the German. "Would it not have sent out a stronger message if the club suspended him for two weeks? It would show him and everybody else that plays for the club in the future what LFC is all about - respect and dignity."

Hamann warned the powers that be at Anfield that challenging the sentence would be a fool's errand.

"If you think Suarez was victimised by the FA, don't forget he wasn't told to bite Ivanovic. Pointless arguing about the length of the ban. Suarez got eight games last year. He was always going to get more for that. Accept it and get on with it. I support and respect LFC. I'm not slamming the club but the conduct of one of its employees."

Former FA Compliance Officer, Graham Bean, had some very illuminating thoughts on the mindset of those governing the game and the folly of challenging them. He is convinced that the club's reaction has resulted in a longer ban for Suarez.

"By challenging [the assertion that three games was "clearly insufficient"] I think that between them Suarez and Liverpool brought about the mammoth ban," said Bean. "If Suarez had simply accepted the charge, it is highly likely he would have received credit for doing so and at the same time saved himself a couple of games. Liverpool's next dilemma is whether or not to appeal against the decision. my advice would be to take it on the chin and move on."

The world never ceases to startle me. Only a couple of days ago, I found myself grateful to Gary Neville for his level-headedness on this debacle. Today, it is the turn of Sam Allardyce to confound my expectations of the universe and shun the opportunity to cheerlead Little England's protest against the foreign devil. Allardyce acknowledged that Suarez will have to take his punishment "on the chin" but he had some kinder words.

"He just has to stop that little fuse that keeps blowing in his head at some stage where he loses his cool," said the West Ham boss. "It's probably why he is so talented and as good as he is but he has got to try and learn from that and cut it out."

This type of talk from the ex-Bolton manager is disconcerting and thankfully, Allardyce also went on to criticise Daniel Sturridge for his reckless challenge and moan about him avoiding a red card. Equilibrium, then, is somewhat restored.

So many opinions from so many sources can leave one understandably bewildered and agitated but ultimately the opinion that mattered was that of the Independent Regulatory Commission, who ended Suarez's involvement in this season and ensured he will not play until around one sixth of the next campaign has elapsed. For what it's worth my own inclination would be to avoid any scenario which might result in that hefty ban being extended. An appeal is a dangerous course of action. Discretion, here, is perhaps the better part of valour.

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