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June 2021

St George and The Suarez: The Dragon who came to represent everything ‘Un-English’

St George and The Suarez: The Dragon who came to represent everything ‘Un-English’

By Dominic Sanchez-Cabello

A week has passed since St George’s Day came and left with the understated swiftness we’ve come to expect of it. No fuss, no celebrations with funny hats,no increase in the consumption of Boddingtons and I expect no one has manufactured an English Grandfather to join the festivities with peace of mind.

Yet despite the lack of patriotic fervour, the English public has been united in one thing, its condemnation of Luis Suarez.

I saw a picture the other day that depicted St George slaying a Dragon, the Dragon had Suarez’s face. I enjoyed it, I’m sure many others did, but only recently it occurred to me that Suarez is not actually a dragon, nor is he the proverbial threat to English life that he is often made out to be.

Thankfully he doesn’t demand a tribute of sheep or children to keep him docile.   In much the same way the FA is not a majestic steed, nor is the Media a chivalrous knight. But the picture is accurate in one symbolic way. It shows Suarez being dispatched by the St George of English football: the Media that rides the FA against a foreign infidel.

Suarez transferred from Ajax in the winter of 2011 and controversy has followed him like a faithful bodyguard ever since. The faithful bodyguard has seen to it that he has become one of the best strikers in the league, but it has also seen that he has come to be the embodiment of everything that is ‘un-English’ in football.

Suarez does whatever he feels is necessary to win, he dives to win penalties, he handles on his goal line to save a certain goal, and before he trudges off down the tunnel, he has no qualms in celebrating in front of everyone. He may even bite an opponent… or two, but he’ll also exhibit moments of audacious skill and technique.  Some of these things are dishonourable, some reprehensible and others are downright strange, but all of them are distinctly Un-English.

In Football, the English way is different, generally above-board and conventional but does that make it better?  Chris Morgan did the honest thing and elbowed Iain Hume in the face, leaving him with a fractured skull and life-threating injuries. Morgan played on with a yellow card and Hume was released from hospital a week later. The FA did nothing.

Shawcross did the standard English thing, snapping an opponent’s leg to receive the standard three game ban. Rooney elbowed James McCarthy in the face; everyone saw it and the FA still did nothing. Bale and Young dive most weeks, but the back pages will never tell you about it. Nor will they tell you about how Jermaine Defoe bit Mascherano back in 2006.

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A quick Google search will though, it will also tell you how Martin Jol, Tottenham manager at the time, referred to it as a “comical nibble”, presumably the FA agreed.

Comparing it with the previous list of offences, Jol’s assessment seems reasonable.No sane person would be more offended by a bite than a fractured skull would they? Surely when real injuries happen frequently and careers are threatened by thuggery, no natural response  would be to condemn it with the emotional severity of Graeme Souness or Jamie Redknapp… would it?And surely no responsible media organization would seek to court controversy at every moment in the hope of selling subscriptions and papers, would they?

Whichever way I look at the incident, the only strong feelings I have are for its comedic appeal. I saw it live and it was hilarious, probably the funniest thing I’ve seen on a football pitch this year, but I understand that doesn’t make it defensible.  It was wrong, of course it was, but more then anything it was surreal and however responsibly I try to judge it – it never outrages me.

People were always going to be outraged though; it was inevitable and symptomatic of a time where outrage and offence have become a fashionable pastime. When public opinion is mobilised into outrage, the press is normally the one to prompt it and it often comes at the strangest moments. Instead of being appalled by the collapse of a building in Dhaka, where over 300 people died, or in Syria where a Government was happy enough to use chemical weapons on its own people, people felt most strongly about a footballer being bitten.

From all angles this sanctimonious drivel came. Concerns were expressed, people’s minds torn, profoundly, by the task of explaining to their children why Suarez bit Ivanovic. And where such an event was going to lead the youth of tomorrow. In a week where the British economy dodged a triple-dip recession by the skin of its teeth, Davey Cameron was able to dodge all productive questioning by the exploits of Suarez’s teeth. His interjection on BBC radio was meant to show the shock of a father whose 7-year-old son simply loved footers. And no doubt it impressed some voters.

But if the infinitely more appalling actions of gladiators in Roman times had little effect on their ability to administer and hold one of the greatest Empires the world had ever seen for over 500 years, then why does the Prime Minister of our time feel the need to concern himself with such trifles? Would Cicero have taken to the Forum of Rome to broadcast his paternal anxieties on Spartacus biting an opponent in the Coliseum? I think not. But If Cicero were to appear from the pages of history and to judge this week through his Roman nose, he’d probably deduce that the degradation of Western Society was at hand. Not because of a bite, but because citizens who should have been concerning themselves with the important questions, were busied by the idiocy of a mere gladiator.

Dominic Sanchez-Cabello

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61 comments to St George and The Suarez: The Dragon who came to represent everything ‘Un-English’

  • RedRoyLFC

    Thank you. This is the best article I have read on “Suarez-gate”‘ and you have perfectly summarised the whole event.
    If the English media drive Suarez out of the premier league, they’ll be the first one to write stories about how we miss the floored genius.

  • liverpool fan

    brilliant article and sums this country up to perfection.
    This is only highlighted further by the disjointed hypocrisy of the PFA this last week.
    after all their posturing on what is morally right or wrong over the past 12 months, their hiring of reginald hunter has shown them up for the sham they really are. they simply couldnt decide what was socially acceptable and tied themselves in so many knots, i fear they will never untangle themselves.
    On the one hand, it isnt acceptable for a foreign player to come in and plead ignorance to our ways, customs, language, yet what the PFA displayed in one evening, was that even their own nationals are lost on what is socially acceptable. Whilst the majority of us can determine between right and wrong, they have spent so long taking the moral high ground that they lost themselves.

  • liverpool fan

    and to clarify, there was nothing wrong with RD Hunters set. He is a comedian. It is about context, which is lost on roberts et al

  • James

    A very good read, great article it’s nice to read a bit of common sense for a change.

  • Bill

    What utter crap. I’m sick and tired of reading yet another persons view of the affair. It would now appear the people who where keeping quiet are now putting their heads above the parapet and having a go at the sanctimonious prats at the FA and Der Führer Cameron, who was the man who left his baby sone behind in his local pub and went home for an after booze kip. The man who is a 5th cousin to Her Majesty The Queen Elizabeth II, unfortunately for the self appointed champion of marriage it was down an illegitimate line. Different rules for plebs.

  • nicky

    What a sad wouldbe anarchist you must be, to drag in an incident involving the PM’s daughter (not his sone(sic)).
    And in future, when reading a blog, try seeing the wood AND the trees.

  • Ray from Norfolk, Virginia

    Dear Sir,
    I really like your article. It is always the “foreigners” who are bad. But I must point out a significant mistake in your post: in Syria, the chemical weapons have been used serially by the so-called “Syria Free Army” and their terrorist fundamentalist allies, and then all of it is attributed to the Syrian authorities. This is not new, it started when the people were peacefully demonstrating (with payments per person and per day of 10 USD to 40 USD) while snipers paid by foreign hands shot and killed randomly, with the media accusing the regular Army and its allies. This is of course ignored by the Western media who keep repeating the same lies ad nauseum and ad vomitum. More comically, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a group funded by the Muslim Brotherhood, starts all the lies that the Western secret services come up on a daily basis. The Syrian authorities have very few allies: the Iranian theocracy and Putin, so they keep losing the Public Relations battle, no matter what. Yet, in Syria, but for sectarian reasons, the authorities have remained committed to providing as much protection as possible to the many people (a majority of the Christians and Muslims in my home city of Aleppo, among others) who do not want to be considered traitors to the nation.
    One last thing: My father left Syria many years ago as he opposed the Baath Party, but opposing the current authorities is a quite different endeavor compared to joining the current “opposition” that consists of venal for-hire-at-any-price traitors and their terrorist fundamentalist allies.

  • Shard

    Ray from Norfolk

    FINALLY!!! Someone gets what is happening and how the Western media manipulates public opinion! Thank you for giving me some hope.

  • Zigzag

    Brilliant stuff as you would expect from Untold. Nice to have an intelligent perspective on Suarez affair. Thanks for sharing.

  • Tasos

    Suarez is a footballing genius and like most exceptionally talented human beings he has flaws in his character.

    In this instance I would argue perhaps his biggest flaw is not being English. If only.

    Off topic.

    Sport becomes more and more seedier everyday;

  • Sav from Australia

    A very nice article. Well done Dominic and Untold!

    @Ray from Norfolk, Virginia
    Well said, Ray!

  • Shard

    Off topic!!

    And I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’d recommend reading today’s LeGrove. Not for his potshots etc but Pedro apparently had a meeting with Gazidis yesterday and his article contains some facts (such as they are) which might be of some interest.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Wow this is getting too much in one article.

    A great Untold view on the Suarez incident. I also would like to see more sever punishments for violent attacks where people are injured for months, years or lose their careers. Biting is bad but at least it doesn’t threaten some other player his career.

    Ray from Norfolk: blimey. An interesting point of view. My stomach feeling said things are not that simple as presented by the media. Maybe my in-build feelings towards all what the media is saying as taking it not at face value?

  • ARSENAL 13

    Its the same story world over………Double standards.

  • Hi chaps, thanks a lot for the comments. A big welcome to our Scouse friends as well.

    Ray, regarding the Syrian War, I’ll freely admit my knowledge of it is very limited… extremely limited even, and what knowledge there is, is often relayed through the western press.

    What I would say though is: if you’re convinced of your argument you should be voicing it to the world, not just an Arsenal Blog. Nothing is as horrendous as a Civil War and I expect nothing could instil political/moral conviction quite like it. Give me some sources, I’m always happy to read.

  • AL

    Brilliant article. Again, its easy to blame it all on johhny foreigner.

  • bob

    Bravo. For one addition: being a very good child of the septic aisle means this: not seeing any link between (1) the administrator/abettor of the Old Toilet crime scene that derailed AFC’s unbeaten brilliance, (2) the elevation of this administrator to the top of the PGMOL, and (3) the impending elevation of Sir Fungus, via the administrator/ abettor’s minions and policies return gift of the Rednose XX, to the pinnacle as Lord Football. No, that is just “how it is” – the meritocracy that is emblematic of all that is good in this green and pleasant land. And the media keyboredists and lenscrafters are, in the beginning and end, the keeper’s of the hamster cage that poses as a playpen for the toddler youth of all ages.

  • bob

    I’ll get there after I retrieve my fallen jaw: but, omg,
    how does LeGrovel get a meeting with Gazidis in the first place?

  • Shard


    It seems Gazidis invited him. But actually, the club does make an effort to be open to bloggers. I remember when they opened the new medical centre, they invited a lot of bloggers to take a tour. Arseblog today said he called Arsenal to find out about the ‘get-out’ clause in Wenger’s contract. Granted the last isn’t quite the same thing as a meeting with the CEO but the club isn’t as distant as we seem to think.

  • bob

    Just read it. Yikes, it does ring true. Lots in fact to consider there and it does – at this early stage – seem that our commerce is becoming more expansive and, so, more likely to make a difference on pitch quality (notwithstanding Swiss Rambling, or Stuart’s reading thereof).

  • Excellent text, one of the best I’ve read recently!

    I’d like to add something regarding the worst of all Orcs Ryan Shawcross. In our home match against Stoke in February Shawcross made a horrible tackle on Koscielny. If he was more precise with his studs, Koscielny would be neutered. Of course, he received just a yellow card.

    Whole depiction of Suarez as a monster (let’s put things straight: biting someone is an act of stupidity; furthermore, ever since AIDS became a global killer, biting has had another dimension of danger) and 10-match-ban from the very same FA that has selective way of dealing with racism (cases of John Terry, British, and Luis Suarez, Uruguayan) shouldn’t surprise anyone.

    After all, remind me what was the length of the ban of the one Sir Alex Ferguson, British, for his statement filled with racism that foreign players are more likely to dive than the British ones?

  • bob

    As you well know, Lord Football is the gold standard of this realm. How many unpunished and media-applauded breeches of the rules has this man and his minions achieved? People might consider specific compilations of these transgressions over the last decade (starting with the stopping of our unbeaten streak at Old Cesspool). This year, there should be a “Got Away With It, Din’ I,” lifetime achievement award for ‘im. And surely he’s a magnet for those like RVP who’d rather join ’em than fight ’em. And for that they’ll walk down the Septic Aisle together into British Football History. As a national pastime commits Funguscide. Kerching.

  • Mickey Finn

    Am starting to be seriously fed up with English football, the FA and the Premier League. Bundesliga is beginning to look real interesting. Better referees, better football culture…

  • bob

    Mickey Finn,
    Judging by the CL, they’ve clearly been playing great football. Do you know whether their football media play the same non-stop pulverize-the-ability-to-think games on the fan-dumb?

  • j75j

    Most probably Max Clifford at work (publicist) to keep the press away from his door and all the other BRITISH CELEBRITIES being arrested and charged for every evil going!!!!

  • Yassin

    no sirs what ray is saying isnt right, i dont want to go into politics in a football blog, but to.not br manipulated by what the media ray hear, chemicals have been used, we even got some poisonous cases here in lebanon near syria, please that man is the biggest dictator ever seen nowadays, am not talking media , i am talking through what i see, so please dont support him on an Arsenal best blog.
    as for the media well the chemicals been used since long time, but now when they need something out of it, they publish it.
    syrian people who stayed alive came to lebanon through the border and yoi can see what a bad life they are living.

    for humanity purpose, those who take the killing, raping, and enjoy the suffering of human through tortchering them shall not be tolerated….

  • Pat

    Untold does it again.

    A fantastic article by Dominic on Suarez, and a fantastic contribution from Ray on Syria!

    Thank you so much!

  • Pat

    Yassin, the reason most refugees have left Syria is because for two years there has been a brutal civil war with the insurgents secretly supported by the West. War destroys people’s lives.

    Before that Syria was, from most accounts, one of the most peaceful and tolerant countries in the Middle East.

  • Pat

    I also read an interview with some refugees who have landed up in such horrible circumstances that they say they wish they had never left Syria. I wonder who encouraged them to go?

  • Shard


    What is happening in Syria is only a geopolitical game. The Syrian government has nothing to gain by escalating a war, and a lot to lose. While others have a lot to gain by creating a war-like situation and forcing it on them, and then moving in to save the day. We’ve seen it all before. Most recently in Libya, whose resources, like Iraq’s before them, have been plundered. The hundreds of thousands that die or suffer are of no consequence to all the active participants.

    Note that I am not saying you are wrong. You would know somethings that you have seen. And if that is happening it is just wrong. But how to combat it and stop it from becoming worse is not so simple.

    Anyway. I couldn’t resist it, but you are of course right that this is not the forum to discuss this, and I shall leave it at that.

  • Yassin

    i live in lebanon sir, and i assure you that it wasbt calm sir, thier government interfere on lebanon too, they were having their army in lebanon until 2005.
    sir, the whole thing started when little boys playing ( 10 – 12 years) wrote on the walls ” the system must fall” from what was said in all other arab countries having the arab spring, they were taken by the gov. and tortured as they always do…

    these order take a family as an example, sits down the parent, put their kids in front of them, torture them real bad, u cant believe how much, rape them, them take their headsof, then they do it to the mother in front of the father, before killing him, and they video it, that is what the media dont show, sir.

    am not talking media talks, these are known stuff in all the middle east, it just doesnt reach you sir



  • Rupert Cook

    @Yassin, well said. Assad is a murderous dictator who’d rather sacrifice as many lives as possible to stay in power. If you actually explore some of the more intelligent media you can discover how shocking and brutal this man is. I’m not talking about the Daily Mail or The Sun, should these papers even cover this issue.

    Of course the west, or perhaps we should replace west with big business, moves in and exploits these situations, as long as a country has some vital product like oil. Let’s not forget that Gaddafi was another murderous thug, possibly clinically insane. I’m not sure many Libyans would want that thug governing them any more than many Syrians want Assad’s tyranny.

    Whilst I agree with many about the cynicism rampant in the press one also has to consider that not everything the paper’s write is partial, just occasionally balance can be reached.

  • Rupert Cook

    @Shard, did you read some of the comments on LG? This is Pedro’s response to some of the reaction:

    Johnny5, it was pretty heated… he absolutely knows what the fans think and he hates it… and I fired back on a lot of what he was saying. It was a debate about why we’re not happy… he had some good points… he had some flawed points as well.Like I said before, what is apparent is he has no control over whether Arsenal spend… he said there’s no reason to hoard cash. 1% interest means fuck all in the grand scheme of things. They trust Arsene on the team.Rock and a hard place for him.


  • Rupert Cook

    And if you read on it’s hinted that Arsenal have a substantial warchest but Wenger doesn’t like to spend. And again that the club aren’t happy with performance and Wenger’s position would be in jeopardy but for the fact that he gets fourth spot.

    It’s quite possible that they’d like him gone and may well be quite prepared to not extend his contract if he doesn’t spend this summer.

    Of course Gazidis could be saying all this to deflect criticism away from himself. Never praise the chef until you taste the food, as my old grannie said.

  • Rupert Cook

    @Walter, what’s this Wilfried Bony like? He plays for Vitesse and is rumoured to be the new Drogba, if that means anything.

  • bjtgooner


    You guys have had a really horrible time out there, I hope things improve very soon.

  • Shard

    Rupert Cook

    Or it could be Pedro carrying his own bias into his analysis.

    “what is apparent is he has no control over whether Arsenal spend…”

    Apparent to whom? To Pedro. Who’s been peddling that line for years and probably believes it as the truth and just sought confirmation of it.

    But if he (or Gazidis) meant that Arsene has ultimate control over who to buy for the team, isn’t that how it should be? That’s how I’d want it.

    “He said there’s no reason to hoard cash.”
    So did Arsene in his press conference.

  • Shard


    As for the they’d like him gone if he doesn’t spend this summer bit. That is another Le Grove line, which basically contradicts his earlier line of how they love Wenger for making them loads and loads of profits and they couldn’t care less about spending (no ambition you see)

    Now, because it appears that Arsenal will spend, the need to think up a new line to still discredit Wenger and prove how he’s holding us back. So now he’s only going to sanction spending because he likes his cushy job and loves power and that’s the only way he’ll get a new contract. Arsenal’s spending will have nothing to do with the assured line of income that is going to accrue to them of course.

  • Rupert Cook

    @Shard, well I guess it’s pointless believing anything anyone says. I’d love to have been at this meeting to make my own mind up.

    As none of us know any of these people involved it’s hard to draw any conclusions.

  • Tasos

    Interesting stance from Pedro and Le Grove.

    It would appear Arsenal FC have been very ambitious behind the scenes. Building a secure financial structure, planning for the future, looking beyond the here and now.

    The clubs potential remains huge. I mean what other club in world football could fill a 60,000 stadium, charging London prices whilst going 8 years without a trophy.

    Just imagine if the club started winning trophies again. The snowball effect could be immense.

  • Shard


    I agree, but it’s all about what makes sense. In my view, it doesn’t make sense that Wenger is against spending. The only time period in his tenure with us that he hasn’t spent big, is when we’ve moved into our new stadium. He said that we need to make 15m pounds every year before we can even think of spending. (Swiss Ramble puts this figure close to 19m..Interest payments) We know (to a reasonable level of acceptability) that Wenger sanctioned a 20m signing of Reina all those years ago (Which I thought even then would be a mistake), and that we offered the same amount to Blackburn (16-17m), and more money to Jones than ManU, but that he chose to go there. He spent 12-15m on the Ox.

    He’s not averse to spending, as long as he knows he’s getting value for it. And this isn’t arbitrary. It’s also based on how much money he has. If he had 200m, I don’t think he’d care about 2 or 3 million here or there. But because he’s had a lot less, he’s had to be extra cautious. The funds have been restricted.

    And when he has sanctioned spending, the money hasn’t proven enough to get those targets because the player/club didn’t want the deal to go ahead.
    etc etc etc..

    The point is, Wenger has spent big before. Arsenal have spent big before. I think it would be too much of coincidence if Wenger’s philosophy changed for good just when the stadium came into being, without there being a direct correlation.

    I’ve said for years we will spend once we have the funds and we have our commercial deals sorted. I think 3 or 4 years ago I put 2014 as the time we will spend again. If anything, we look to be starting a year early (because we have money saved up as well) In any case, how does it matter anymore as to why Wenger or Arsenal will spend, as long as the team is improved. That’s what we all want isn’t it?

  • Ray from Norfolk, Virginia

    Greetings to all!
    I was elated that FC Bayern Munchen got rid of FC Barcelona and their stupid Qatar Foundation shirt; my cousins in the Middle East have seen the Qatar Foundation in action, but hey, when you (as absolute monarchs) have direct access to her Majesty the Queen (a constitutional monarch if there is one), we commoners can only complain; after all, we did not work hard enough to amass the infinite amount of money that the Qatari princes have in their accounts.
    But I am digressing: I was sad for Cesc, playing for Tito Villanova when he wanted to play for Josep Guardiola; Cesc is so good that he can single-handedly (or single-footedly, lets us allow double-footedly, it is the brain that links the limbs that also matters) unlock very organized defenses, but he is best when associated with Messi. This summer, Cesc may become available (10% chance for that) and AFC, the smartest and most ethical club in the UK and beyond, may be able to get him back, but I will only give this about 9%, or 90% overall if he exits Barca.
    Barca is often a one-man club, and is very non-diversified in its approach to football; this reminds me, despite all the bad press, that our Alsacian genius can diversify our approach according to various factors, and that is why he deserves his wages. By the way, the idiots (I mean pundits) that have associated him with Paris Saint-Germain do not understand the first thing about building a team, an infrastructure, etc… all sorts of things that are associated with Monsieur Wenger leading, and the AFC board cheerleading. A few years back, before the change in ownership, he stated that Paris Saint-Germain had a lot of potential, but the legacy and tradition he has built at Arsenal make him an unlikely coach anywhere else, unless he finds that he cannot continue at Arsenal. Incidentally, my opinion is that the Marseille supporters have more passion than the PSG fans about the game; I never supported either, as my favorite French team is St-Etienne, and St-Etienne is impressive this season despite a much smaller budget than PSG, OL, or OM.
    PS: Thank you for the many comments about my previous post; Shard has it right: the events in my country of origin involve geopolitical interests, and I am neutral in that regard; what is unacceptable is that some parties (yes, you know who you are) have escalated the whole issue into a bloody and brutal war; all for a few bucks… Well, OK, for quite a few bucks, tons of them. When civilians are killed by car bombs by the hundreds, nuns are raped, and bishops are abducted, and people say that it is because of freedom or liberty, I would like to ask them to go seek freedom or liberty somewhere else. It is convenient to accuse someone of being a dictator, especially when your own leaders are a bunch of absolutist monarchs with an excellent track record of freedom and liberty in your own fiefdom. Down with the Baath Party, but only after every single fundamentalist terrorist has met his fate.

  • Shard

    Ray from Norfolk

    “It is convenient to accuse someone of being a dictator, especially when your own leaders are a bunch of absolutist monarchs with an excellent track record of freedom and liberty in your own fiefdom”

    Couldn’t have put it better myself. Dictators are only ‘cruel’ when our interests are best served by deposing him. Otherwise, they are our friends and allies who enjoy popular support within a different culture that we should respect.

  • Ray from Norfolk, Virginia

    Some people are equally inept at football and international politics.
    I never post about politics in the UK, as my knowledge is only external, and not intimate enough to express any opinion.
    I leave that to experts.
    People like Le Grove and Pedro are very professorial in their approach to Wenger and Gazidis. Except.. they are clueless and malevolent.

  • Ray from Norfolk, Virginia

    I see you detected the sarcasm.
    BTW why are you wasting time corresponding with Piers Morgan, under whatever nom-de-plume he is using?

  • Rupert Cook

    @Shard, we want the team improved of course.

    Of course we differ on whether Wenger is the right man so I’d be worried about on whom he intends to spend the money on should he have a substantial amount to invest. I really hope we’re not going to buy Sanogo, a second division French player unless he’s just there for back up. Having said that he might turn out to be a fabulous striker. Having not seen him I shan’t prejudge his ability; it’s just that I’ve been a little disappointed with Wenger’s recent purchases bar Cazorla. Monreal looks promising but perhaps too early to judge.

    Perhaps we would be more successful if we had as many great ex footballers working at our club as Bayern who have Breitner as chief scout, Rumminigge as chairman, Hoeness as
    president and Sammer as sporting director. Ajax have a similar set up, not that they’ve shone in Europe for a while.

    Whatever I hope Wenger can get back to bringing even more success to Arsenal and if he doesn’t I’m certain someone will, hopefully in my life time!

  • Shard

    Haha..Naah.. He’s ok once he understands that we’re not all deluded in our support of Arsenal and Wenger and that we see things to improve on at Arsenal as much as he does 🙂

  • Ray from Norfolk, Virginia


    You have surpassed me, and that is unacceptable.

    That was funny!

  • Shard


    “Perhaps we would be more successful if we had as many great ex footballers working at our club as Bayern who have Breitner as chief scout, Rumminigge as chairman, Hoeness as
    president and Sammer as sporting director. Ajax have a similar set up, not that they’ve shone in Europe for a while.”

    Yes perhaps. Yet I’ve not seen such a set up in England. I don’t even know how many of our ex-players would be qualified to do such strategic thinking. If the level of punditry in the UK is anything to go by, I’d venture that it would be counter-productive to hire them.

    In theory, I like the idea of having ex-footballers liaising with the business heads at the club. In practice, I’m not sure we can do that at the moment.

  • Shard

    You flatter me Ray.. There’s no way I can surpass you.

    *I’m not worthy!*


  • Rupert Cook

    @Ray, a dictator is a dictator. If I had my way they’d all be got rid of from North Korea to Syria.

    Assad runs a brutal regime. As far as I’m aware our Queen doesn’t. And no I’m no monarchist and I certainly don’t believe my country is perfect.

    Freedom, liberty, these are things all people should strive for and there’s precious little of that in Syria. Or Egypt or many other middle eastern countries.

    Of course much of this poison comes from religion which on the whole seems to bring nothing but misery to the world.

  • Rupert Cook

    @Shard, I think City have a few decent ex players involved. I think this might be a good way to go but as you say judging on the punditry in England we might have to look abroad. Although I think Lee Dixon’s ok, maybe I’m biased though.

  • Shard


    Agree about religion, though I am happy enough to accept it’s role in a person’s life. In social life is when it causes problems.

    And while I agree that freedom should be sought after, I disagree that it is lacking only in the middle east, and not in the west, or south asia for that matter (even if it takes different forms) and I absolutely disagree that this process of change should be enforced from the outside, where , just as an example, arms count as humanitarian aid. If they did that/attempted to do that to our countries, we’d call them terrorists too, and rightly so.

    What if someone had given weapons to people in the Tottenham riots. It was obviously an internal disillusionment with the way things are. If someone from abroad armed them and a battle broke out, would you accept their right to ‘freedom’? I wouldn’t. It’s pretty similar in concept, if not in scale.

    What people need to remember is that democracy is not the be all and end all. It is simply a means to an end of having a better quality of life. (and that’s leaving aside that democracy is not one thing. It works in different ways and the devil is in the details) As Gandhi said, what does it matter to the millions of innocents whether they were killed in the name of freedom or tyranny. (or words to that effect)

    The bringing of democracy does not justify what was done to Iraq, it does not justify what is being done to Libya, and it won’t justify what is happening in Syria. A dictator is a dictator. But war is war. And in these cases, this was not a war that the dictators sought. Only democracies.

  • Ray from Norfolk, Virginia

    Absolute monarchs are dictators.
    We have seen some pretty dictatorial chiefs of state…the Iron lady.
    In the movie “game change” Woody Harrelson (as the head of McCain’s presidential campain) had this amazing exchange with Julianne Moore (as Sarah Palin); this is not exactly what they said, but close:
    -Woody: so, what would you say if a British journalist asks you about how your relation with the UK will be as the head of the state is facing opposition to the war in Iraq in England?
    -JM/SP: I would answer that, as President, McCain will have an exemplary relation with the Queen.
    -Woody: But, in the UK, the Queen is not the head of the state!
    -JM/SP: Really? Who is?
    -Woody: The Prime Minister.

    Rupert: I am not Sarah Palin; I know who is your head of state. But I am a monarchist, and I regret that our King of Syria, crowned thanks to some obscure guy called T. E. Lawrence, was let go by the British because the French interfered.

  • Rupert Cook

    @Shard, I didn’t mean to focus only on the middle east. North Korea, Burma, wherever in the world.

    If people wish to live under brutal dictators that is there choice. Or is it? I hardly think that if people in North Korea where given the option they’d pick their regime over a liberal one.

    Gandhi may have said those words but then do you think that if Germany had carried on killing Jews, gypsies, homosexuals etc. no country should intervene? (I know for years the “free world” did close its eyes to it and only reacted when Germany started invading other countries).

    War is utterly abhorrent, I agree. And I also realise that for some it’s a money-making machine. But then would you rather have a maniac like Gadaffi running your country than having a war to depose him? Thousands die either way.

    What is happening in Syria and what happened in Libya was a direct result of people rising up in other Arab states demanding rights that had been denied them. It was not engineered by the west. The west may have unpleasant influences but to think it could engineer a whole uprising in Libya or Egypt is logistically impossible. There was fertile ground for change and once that process had begun the west then chose to side with those against dictatorial governments. Hypocrisy I agree as the “free west” had worked in harmony with these repressive regimes in the past.

    If my country is under the brutal heel of a dictator I would hope that outside forces came to free me. If for instance the government decreed all Arsenal supporters should be gassed what would you do?

    There are universal rights which I believe every human being should have access to whether they supersede cultural identity or no. These rights are, in simplistic terms, that every man and woman has the right to say and think whatever they wish and to live how they choose as long as this is not injurious to others.

  • Rupert Cook

    @Ray, God, if such a being exists, help us all if Sarah Palin ever became president though I think the American people are not that dumb to vote her in.

    Thatcher may have been dictatorial but she was subject to the vagaries of democracy. No matter how much power she wielded it wasn’t limitless because she can be voted out. As it was her own party toppled her.

    We have a monarchy that has little power. Should the Queen wish to declare war on France I think our parliament would probably have her consider her position.

    All I want is peace and equal rights for all. Something I know that humanity is incapable of, at least in my lifetime. Failing that I’d like Arsenal to win a few trophies.

  • Shard


    You disappoint me if you really believe that the west intervened in order to protect those people.

    I’m not supporting Assad or Gaddafi. I’m saying what has been done to those countries in the name of deposing ‘murderers’ (which they never were considered before) is abhorrent and much worse. Do you think Iraq is truly free, or even on the path to freedom?

    “If my country is under the brutal heel of a dictator I would hope that outside forces came to free me”
    Who decides that it is brutal? Who decides who should intervene in what manner? (and then who gets their fingers in what pie) and who decides what freedom means? What if some other people are happy under the present regime and feel they are free, and that you should work to integrate yourself more?

    Such as in Ireland and UK, with the native american/black/muslim community in the US, the aborigines in Australia, Kashmir in India etc etc. Should we just go in, give them arms and say fight for your freedom and depose the government there? Why not? Only because it is democratic? Even if those people feel disenfranchised?

    Not so easy is it?

    As far as I know, the regimes of Saddam, Gaddafi or Assad weren’t/aren’t really known for being geared towards genocide. That part only comes out when the leading lights of world politics decide they would like to get their hands on the resources of these countries, and that it suits them geopolitically. That is propaganda.

  • Shard


    I’m not going to discuss this more. There’s no point, especially because there is no one absolute truth when it comes to this. I just do not accept the right of a few to determine what is good and what is bad, and while in theory it is not a few exercising that right, but the collective (UN), in practice, that is not how it turns out. Here we have the irony of a so called democratic process, actually working dictatorially, condemning dictators when it suits, politically and economically.

  • Ray from Norfolk, Virginia

    Bale has won another one.
    No mention of Cazorla anywhere.
    The supporters of the unbeautiful game strike again.

  • Rupert Cook

    @Shard, your points are exceptional but they are more philosophical. I cannot disagree with you because what you say is valid but very difficult to apply to humanity because much of humanity does not follow a rational path.

    I’m not saying the west intervened to protect those people, I’m saying the west sided with the most likely victors. Regarding Iraq, that was an illegal war that the US seemed determined to proceed with. Is that country any stabler? No. But one also has to remember that Saddam murdered thousands of Kurds. So yes he did commit genocide. This is not propaganda but a fact.

    Do you really think western governments weren’t aware of these tyrants’ murderous regimes? Of course they were but could they care less? Not really, as long as they could sell weapons and buy oil from these countries. Look at North Korea. The west is well aware of the genocide the leaders of that country exact on their own people should they dare to question the regime. Does the west do anything?

    Who decides what is brutal? Philosophical questions. But I put it to you that if my wife was sent to prison for having political views that didn’t suit the government then that would be tantamount to being brutal especially if she had no recourse to justice.

    Or how about a real example. Pinochet, that delightful murderous thug Thatcher welcomed to our country, had thousands executed after his coup, aided by US military intelligence. There was a famous singer/guitarist who was a champion of freedom, Victor Jara. Pinochet had his hands broken and then murdered him.

    I think we both know what a brutal regime is.

    Gaddafi treated his people with little regard. Assad is doing the same. It’s not just the western press that acknowledge that, many Arab countries agree. These tyrants had power and they had no wish to concede it.

    And I certainly don’t agree with the way minorities are treated in any country. The aborigines in Australia have had their land poached and many an injustice has been visited upon them. There is still racism in the US and England. But there has not been coordinated terror unleashed on these people by tyrannical rulers.

    But in Australia, England, USA etc. there is still a free press, there are still courts, there is access to justice and though this is not perfect I grant you there is still a chance for the voice of dissent to be heard. In many countries with dictators in charge this is not the case.