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April 2021

Should Suarez be ordered to play in a muzzle?

What would we be thinking now, if Arsenal had bought Suarez last summer?

By Tony Attwood

It was back in August 2012 that Untold first raised the issue of the Vapour Transfer and the Phantom Transfers – transfers that were never going to happen but were invented by clubs in order to throw agents, other clubs and journalists off the scent of another deal that was going through.

In that article, which included a review of the “The Distraction” as one of the three types of Vapour Transfer, we suggested that the distractions were primarily concerned with unknown youngsters playing in far off countries.

But as later discussions revealed, there is nothing to say that such distractions might not be used to hide a gigantic transfer.  The Ozil transfer looked like one of these, with the idea of Arsenal bidding for Suarez being the phantom.  Arsenal were clearly concerned that Tottenham would interfere in the transfer, through the leverage they had with Bale going to Real Madrid.  And indeed it became clear a few months back that Tottenham had tried to get Real Madrid to agree to a clause that basically said if they bought Bale they would not sell Ozil to Arsenal.

In that scenario the vapour transfer move was a success.   Everyone focussed on Suarez, no one thought about Ozil and Arsenal, and Arsenal were able to persuade Real Madrid not to listen to Tottenham’s request (although it did slow down the Bale transfer by a week or so).

There was indeed a £40m clause in the Suarez contract, although the Liverpool chairman used up a huge amount of time lying about that.  That he eventually admitted that he lied, lied and lied again by saying that there was no £40m buyout clause didn’t exactly cover the man in glory and the energy that Liverpool put into defending Suarez at the time did not make it easier for the club to conduct business from that point on.  Indeed there is international awareness of the chairman’s actions last summer, and it can’t be helping Liverpool’s cause.

I argued consistently that Arsenal didn’t want, didn’t need and shouldn’t buy Suarez, and indeed wrote the article “Let Suarez be the biggest vapour transfer of all time” on 24 July 2013, last year.  It got quite a few comments at the time, and as you can imagine if you read my ramblings occasionally, I was delighted when we did not sign the guy.

Instead, we stayed with Giroud, who continued performing in his second year at the club at the level of Henry over his second year.   Better, Ramey came really good, and up to his injury and that of Theo, the team really looked to be working very well.

So for me, the reaction last night was yet again, “Thank goodness we did not sign Suarez,” and yes, I can well imagine defenders both in the Premier League  and the World Cup thinking it might be a good idea for Suarez to be ordered to play in a muzzle – if he is not banned for a couple of years.

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But what would have happened if I had been completely wrong about Suarez and Arsenal had signed him?  After all there are some Liverpool supporters and even a few journalists who still believe that Arsenal really wanted him last summer.  By and large they tend just to assert that it was a real transfer, deny the existence of vapour transfers, but don’t really give us much evidence.  But still, that seems to be their view.  Arsenal wanted Suarez.

Well, if it had happened, I would still have supported Arsenal, because I’ve done that since the age of seven or so, because my parents and grandparents were all Arsenal, because I was brought up just a couple of miles from Highbury, and…. you know all the boring stuff the long-term old duffers always say about their history.

But I would have been unhappy, and even if Suarez had had for Arsenal the type of season he had for Liverpool, I would have been unhappy and edgy.

And I’m not a guy who believes that old dogs can’t change their spots – not at all.  But I do think that spot-changing needs a lot of help and support – especially when it involves psychological matters.

Of course it is quite possible for a person to change their behaviour and personality – and I say this as a person who studied psychology, although I work now as a writer, not a psychologist.  But if there is a serious problem with the behavioural make-up of an individual, that individual needs a lot of treatment and support to be able to change.  And I mean a lot, a lot, and then a lot more.  The longer the deviant and unwanted behaviour has been going on, the more treatment is required.  For some it can be a lifetime’s struggle.

Now of course I have no proof of what happened to Suarez after each of the two previous biting incidents, in terms of psychological work and support in an attempt to change his behaviour, but just watching him on the field of play makes me think, not much.

And that is not too surprising.  Here is a very wealthy, very famous man, and the rich and famous with deviant behaviour tend not to be very good at obtaining effective long term psychological support.  (Of that there is a mountain of evidence – just read the journals, or think of Paul Gasgoine, George Best, Kurt Cobain, Amy Winehouse, Whitney Houston, River Phoenix… the list is endless – those came just off the top of my head.  Tony Adams is the exception, and more power to him for that.

Suarez’ two previous biting incidents showed a man in desperate need of support, help and guidance, and as I say I saw no sign of change by looking at his body language on and off the pitch.  Nothing changed about the way he played or celebrated – which was why he was such a good footballer last season.  He stayed the same.  But nothing changing means that his fundamental problem was still there – because there are always clear signs of change in behaviour when therapy of one sort or another has an effect on the problem.  That is one way that psychiatrists know if a patient is lying when he/she says that things are changing.  You simply watch the behaviour.

As for Liverpool, the problem that they have with Suarez runs very deep, and indeed anyone listening to the radio station Five Live late last night would have been aware of this.  I praised Brad Friedel yesterday for the way he enlivened Five Live commentaries at the world cup – but when he was on last night just after 11pm and the topic was biting, he went through a metamorphosis.  Out went the eloquent butterfly and in came the crawling caterpillar.

He must have said that Liverpool was a wonderful wonderful club about six times in three consecutive sentences.  He insisted that no one should be debating Suarez at all because the facts weren’t known, and that absolutely no mention should ever be made of Liverpool in this context because it was such a wonderful club.  To say he was incoherent for a couple of minutes is to give incoherence  a bad name.

He did have the grace to admit that not only was he an ex-player of the club but also a lifelong supporter, but the extent of his sudden lack of eloquence and clarity of thought and speech, and his inability to distance his support from his position as a commentator for the Corporation was extraordinary.  When the embarrassed anchor took the subject away from him and back to football, then Friedel instantly went back to his old self.  The sentences were pure, clean and comprehensible.

It was a strange performance, but a reminder of the problem that Liverpool have.  Suarez was such a major part of their team after he returned last season that they can’t want to lose him.  And yet even if Fifa don’t ban him for a couple of years from domestic football and Uefa from Champions League football as a menace to other players, there is now the constant danger that Suarez will bite again.

That in the end is the simple fact.  He has been found guilty of biting on a pitch twice, and now seems to have bitten again a third time.  Indeed one could say that even if it turned out that he had not bitten again, getting himself in that position last night where it looked as if he had bitten, was bloody stupid.

So should Suarez wear a muzzle?  I’d say yes.  Not just for the protection of footballers world wide in case he bites again, but for his own protection.  Because even if he gets away with it this time, having bitten three times it is quite clear that the deep psychological disorder that leads to this behaviour is not being dealt with.

It will, absolutely certainly, lead him to bite in public, probably on a football pitch, again.

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32 comments to Should Suarez be ordered to play in a muzzle?

  • Rantetta

    Ah. you gotta laugh!

    I don’t understand it – I find the whole thing warming, somehow? I couldn’t help being amazed by the plundits commentaries. The sheer outrage – coming from those cheating scumbags.

    Shearer, the guy who kicked someone in the head, was soooooooo disgusted. Well, all plundits were. I found Savage amusing too, once I married up his horrible co-commentary, his vicious and spiteful general being when it comes to ‘anything’ football, really, and there are just too many people who are saying what should happen to Suarez – who I’d like to see locked away.

    Tony, you’d previously touted Chris Waddle as a good egg, but I don’t think you’ve heard any of his rants about Arsenal, so I’ll have to disagree with you on that one.

    Surely summat will be done about our bitey friend – or will it?

    We’re talking Liverpool here.

    That’s the Liverpool who’s season was somehow enhanced once it was clear Manyoo couldn’t succeed – kicking their way around the country, and at home. Gerrad kicked and most of his collegues followed. Sometime they got ye olde ghosty fouls, like the one at Klanfield that contributed to the 1st goal against Arsenal, where not only was there no foul, but the ref (devoid of tinned spray), allowed the “free” kick to be taken some 30 yards further up the pitch, and then the lino happened not to notice the scorer was offside. And so it went on in that game, remember?

    Nah, The scouse gits can do no wrong. Remember, the current England captain can knock your block off if you don’t play the record he wants to hear. It can all be on cctv, and in court it’ll turn out that he didn’t knock your block off, right?

    So don’t get too excited thinking that LS will be punished. He is a Liverpool player, from the Norf West, and they can do no wrong.

    ​Will FIFA’s sanctions have teeth?
    Louis greatest hits

    I’m off for a bite…

  • andy bishop

    As fans we all have an opinion on various transfer rumours and like to believe we “know the truth ” of the matter. Almost all is rubbish just as commentary from ex players about another players cheating activities for fear of being seen as a grass by his peers. The truth is Suarez bit his opponent out of frustration or attempting to gain an unfair advantage. Its his third strike and should be out. It is “complicated” as Suarez says (not the fact he bit someone) because he is worth millions to the teams he plays for. The hypocrisy in the game beggars belief.

  • bjtgooner

    Tony a good article, but what an incredulous repeating story.

    That Suarez needs treatment is now very evident, but everyone else needs protection. We don’t have any evidence regarding his behavior off the football field – what happens then when he loses his cool – it would be interesting to have that information to widen profile knowledge.

    While the psychologists/psychiatrists will rightly identify that Suarez needs support, I take a slightly different view – support on its own is not sufficient – he should not be allowed back on the football field again until the psychologists/psychiatrists confirm there is little risk of a repetition.

    To pick up the point about Liverpool – just imaging how the story would be treated in the media if Suarez had been an Arsenal player!

  • nicky

    In professional football, like some other contact sports, there are individuals who, for their own good (and for the good of others) should be banned from the game.
    Morons like Keane, Shawcross and Barton come readily to mind and now we have a carnivore in Suarez to contend with.
    Fines and suspensions mean nothing to these creeps.
    Assaults of the type we have all seen, should each result in a criminal prosecution under the law of the land.
    And conviction should bear an automatic prison sentence.

  • Really guy Suarez has a big deep-rooted and shrouded problem. if he needs any kind of muzzle, a specially made not-easy-to-remove teeth shield gum should suffice. he has rights to be a player, he bit under provocation(i apologise if u want to rage too), he was not biting every minute every game. he was not breaking bones and lay off players for 18months and still keep playing.

  • Pat

    Personally, I’m a bit disappointed in Untold for jumping on the media band wagon.

    Yes it is a bit odd to have bitten opponents three times. But nobody was badly injured. And there are worse crimes on the football field.

    Nobody made a big fuss the time Jermaine Defoe did it.

    Given the amount of mental stress Suarez has had to endure in England, I wouldn’t be surprised if he did have a few problems. Let’s be a bit more understanding about them, shall we?

  • menace

    The fact that LS has had previous and has reverted to biting again, shows that he is not worthy of playing again. The risk of him biting anyone makes the case of a life ban very easy. We have no knowledge of how many ‘bites’ have not been recorded. My opinion is that for public safety LS must not be allowed to compete in any sport again. What is there to ensure his behaviour might not happen in flight?

    Liverpool could have a liability for not having addressed the issue thoroughly.

  • Gf60

    Time to re-read Herman Wouk’s, The Caine Mutiny, again!

  • Shakabula Gooner

    Talking about vapor transfer and troubled players, we may have another one this season in Mario Balotelli. However, gratefully, Wenger has come out today to firmly say that Mario to Arsenal transfer rumors are completely false.

    As for Suarez, I was one of those who hoped that we bought him last summer. Had we done so, we might possibly have won the domestic double but I would also have been terribly embarrassed by the repeat of his propensity to take his frustration out on the opponent players by biting them.

    Lastly, Pat @ 11:13am. Untold didn’t jump at any media bandwagon. As soon as it happened yesterday, followers of Untold were coming to the blog to leave assorted comments poking fun at the bloke. And, biting in public, by an adult, not once but thrice now is a serious character flaw. It is also a dangerous pastime to indulge. In this day and age where involuntary and unsolicited exchange of bodily fluids is frowned upon and every step is taken to avoid it even in contact sports (due to the fear of HIV infections) it is too simplistic to argue that the football associations should not take it seriously.

  • swing

    Shakabula Gooner

    Did u seriously suggest just say that, are you trying to imply that a bite can give you HIV infections?

  • swing

    Sorry Did u seriously suggest or imply that a bite can give u HIV

  • para


    “he has rights to be a player”?

    But to be a player demands that you don’t bite other players, so those who cannot keep those demands cannot be players.

    Maybe though, this is another “scheme” going on before our eyes, where Saurez will end up at Real and Pool will feel they have escaped a bullet by selling?

    Who knows?

  • bjtgooner


    I am not medical so I can’t debate the point, but please see ref below:-

  • Shakabula Gooner

    Thanks for the link.
    I wouldn’t have known how to Swing’s question as my angle of thought was simply to say that on account the problems with HIV infections and remedies, in the contact sports, the governing bodies had been ultrasensitive about the risk of coming in contact with third parties’ bodily fluids…
    However, I didn’t quite state it that way and Swing’s specific question seeking clarification was justified. As I am not a medical doctor either, I had no clue as to the answer to the question.
    Now, the site Btjgooner referred us to had this to say: “Human bites have been shown to transmit hepatitis B, hepatitis C, herpes simplex virus (HSV), syphilis, tuberculosis, actinomycosis, and tetanus.

    Evidence suggests that it is biologically possible to transmit the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) through human bites, although this is quite unlikely”.

    I think it answers the question very well wrt to HIV risks and identifies other risks that justifies why Suarez’s snacking preference should not be tolerated for a moment longer or taken lightly.

  • GoingGoingGooner


    It is OK to break someone’s leg but not OK to bite someone. At least on this board we condemn both actions but too many in the UK seem to be outraged at Suarez’ actions but not Shawcross’. The distinction seems to be that kicking at someone’s leg when the ball isn’t really going to be there is ‘part of the game’ whereas biting isn’t. People have been foaming about ‘what if you did this on the street?’ Well what if you walked up to someone and broke both their lower legs? From a pure physical health/safety/career/frequency point of view a leg breaker is more dangerous than a bite. I guess one is viewed as manly and the other as childish. I think intellectual inconsistency is also childish.

  • jambug


    I have to agree with you as well as a lot of what Rantetta had to say.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not defending Suarez. He’s a bit of a prat and has to be punished.

    But as already been said on here it’s this utter outrage from all quarters, often as not from people who either condone, or indeed carry out far worse physical assaults.

    As is so often the case, the hypocrisy of the likes of Sheerer, savage and the like is simply mind boggling.

    And regarding Tonys point about Waddle, well he may be a normal dad but he’s also you bog standard Arsenal basher as well.

    Never has a good word to say about us.

  • WalterBroeckx

    I think Untold has been a lonely voice asking to ban people like Shawcross for as long as their victims are out

  • ANDY

    the simple fact is he has done this twice before .
    this appears to have had no effect .
    i dont believe he should have the honour of reprsenting his country ever again .
    i scarcely believe liverpool players would want him to wear the shirt now either .
    i think teams should have the right to bar him from playing at their grounds .
    a muzzel is not enough . he will only do something else .

  • david jenson

    perhaps someone should bit him back .thats what they do with dogs
    he is worse than a dog though as he doesnt even have the guts to say sorry.
    that he tries to play the wounded party is unforgiverball .

  • jacky

    he even looks like a rabid dog . have you seen the look in his eyes .
    there is something seriously wrong there.
    thank god he represents liverpool and not arsenal.
    i know what arsene would do . bet brendan rogers doesnt have the balls though .

  • oldgroover

    That would never work as clubs would manipulate the situation where e.g. a squad player gets injured by a star player from another side, so they would keep their player “injured” for as long as possible to keep the guilty player out of action for an equal amount of time. Imagine if someone like Terry had broken the leg of Bendtner. Wouldn’t it have been to our advantage to keep Bendtner “injured” so that Chelsea were weakened for longer than necessary?

  • Strus

    442oons are better than the real world cup!

  • jambug


    Coincidently Waddle is a pundit on the BBC tonight for the France game.

    Even though neither England, or especially Arsenal, are anywhere near this evenings football I bet he somehow finds a way to have a pop at Arsenal.

    I know it sounds ridiculous but I’ve never heard him go for more than 10 minutes without having a pop.

    His favourite target is Theo so you would think there’s surely no way he can drag him to it, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

    Honest Tony, he hates us.

  • GoingGoingGooner,

    I am going to strongly disagree with you on the comparison between biting and breaking another player’s leg. And yes, I am not oblivious of the more serious of the 2 to the victim.

    I have criticised Shawcross and other leg breakers as much as anybody else but I have always drawn the line at accusing them of DELIBERATELY causing harm to their fellow professionals. Although it makes my blood boil to hear English pundits say this each time one of their boys breaks Arsenal players’ legs, I agree with them that it should at worst be classified as dangerous play.

    The closest to Suarez’s serial biting would be the Cantona kung fu kick or the Zidane head butt. However, as a man, I get those cases. I don’t for a second condone them but I understand them. We’ve all done things in moments of anger that are barbaric and which we regret.

    The problem with biting from an adult is that it is such an unnatural thing to do unless one’s life is in danger. Shawcross was trying to get the ball when he broke Ramsey’s leg and so did Taylor on Eduardo. They were both reckless but we understand what they were trying to achieve. Now, before you chastise those of us who are criticising Suarez, I want you to first try to justify his biting of Chiellini or his previous 2 victims. I hope you can do that because all I’ve got is serious psychiatric problem.

    There is something fundamentally wrong with that guy and the sooner he seeks help the better for him. I also think that all the stick that he has been getting is well justified.

  • Arvind

    Its a clear bite and Suarez should get whatever punishment the rule book says he deserves. He might need counseling and help too – for all I know – and I don’t claim to know if it is deemed necessary. So punish, ban etc etc etc .. all fine.

    But after all that, I am under no illusions that it is overblown by the media. Yet again. There is no way I will agree that a broken leg of Dudu or Ramsey is less than a bite which gets a 24 game ban. I disagree totally. A bite while weird and maybe disgusting… is nothing more than that… a bite. The victim’s career is not at risk here. Those nearly ended careers.

    So sure, fix the problem, try and cure Suarez and all that – but the witchhunt to make him the scapegoat every time and put what he did at the pinnacle of everything wrong in football – NO. I will not agree.

    Maybe I am in a minority here – but I think its all overdone. Just me.

  • AL

    Apologies for pasting a link from that rag,the daily wail, but apparently Suarez attempted to bite Chiellinion the shoulder previously. This was at the confederations cup last year, as these the pictures in the link clearly show. Strange.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Suarez….other players have done worse, despicable tho his actions are.
    Hit Suarez hard, hit the likes of shawcross, Yaya toure, mikel, Gerrard, any Newcastle Stoke Chelsea Napoli Utd or villa player that comes to mind…..hit them even harder.
    Won’t happen of course

  • GoingGoingGooner

    As I understand your point, Shawcross was not deliberately trying to cause harm…maybe.. but as someone who has played a great deal of football and ice hockey I have to say that though perhaps players like Shawcross don’t 100% want to break someone’s leg they do 100% want to intimidate that other player and hey if someone gets hurt…it’s the price you pay. Arguably Suarez is doing the same thing…attacking another player to gain an advantage. Perhaps he didn’t 100% want to break the person’s skin and draw blood but he did want a reaction and guaranteed Chiellini will think again the next time he comes up against Suarez. I suppose the difference is that Suarez has taken the idea of intimidation and attack to ridiculous extreme to the realm of violent fantasy even – to a level that is rejected by many as not manly and culturally unacceptable. I simply think that a reducer is equally beyond the pale. As a mature adult, I am fullly responsible for my actions whether they be my legs or my teeth. Coming in at an opponent at twenty miles per hour is a game of chicken that if you both don’t back down guarantees pain and suffering no less than someone biting another person. A person can be purposely reckless, too. In the end it is just nuances in my opinion. I can put in a tackle that aims at getting the ball or I can tackle and take both legs. People who do are as dangerous as Luis Suarez.

  • This guy won the fans player of the year, leagues player of the year and writers player of the year

    just think of those who voted for him , how they would now know they were so utterly wrong considering all of them have some form of the other of “percept and example” and how all of them considered him as a reformed man in addition to his goal/assist tally and that is why he got the award

  • should’ve read “precept and example”

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Ahh … another fine article with bite that has got the regulars salivating, gnashing , chewing the fat and responding with biting comments and with toothy humour ! Fangs , sorry, thanks for that !
    My take is that its a mental disorder and he should get help before he lays waste to entire populations , a Suarezzilla apocalypse !

    It could be a rare and distorted form of pica .
    What Is Pica? From
    People with the disorder pica compulsively eat items that have no nutritional value.( Not sure if the bitten players would take kindly to being referred as having no nutritional value !)
    An affected person might eat relatively harmless items like ice or potentially dangerous items like flakes of dried paint or pieces of metal. In the latter case, the disorder could lead to serious consequences such as lead poisoning.

    Since Suarez ‘targets’ the upper limbs , could it be that he is ‘incensed’ by certain smells or fragrances emitting from said players such as shower creams and bath soaps ; shampoos ,perfumes , underarm deodorants and other men’s hygiene products which may be a turn on for some , like in this often seen clip on the internet –

    or maybe its just the pheromones ( noun – a chemical substance, secreted externally by certain animals, such as insects, affecting the behaviour or physiology of other animals of the same species ).

    Other causative agents that may be implicated are , Vicks ( rumour has it that Roy Keane used to freak out in the tunnel whenever he stood beside Patrick Viera and smelt it !) , Tiger Balm , linaments , gels and other medicinal creams .
    I would refer this case to Don for further action /advice .

    Hypersensitivity or adverse reaction to badges , logos , advertisements as well as to fibers , dyes and materials in the jerseys . Its akin to waving a red flag in front of a bull !

    Dental causes – could those huge buck teeth be too heavy and be pulling on that portion of the brain that houses the PREFRONTAL CORTEX ? Which is defined as the gray matter of the anterior part of the frontal lobe that is highly developed in humans and plays a role in the regulation of complex cognitive, emotional, and behavioral functioning.
    Some de-fanging may be the treatment .Also consider de-clawing too !

    As for the opposition teams , they will have to be ‘suitably ‘ protected with the use of new lightweight Kevlar jerseys with proper padding and raised and fortified neck collars (brace).
    Referees and linesmen will have to carry Tasers and garlic & pepper sprays , while stakes will be placed in strategic points around the pitch . The forth official will have a gun with silver bullets just in case the unthinkable happens !

  • Arvind & GoingGoingGooner,

    I am not under any illusion about which offence has a bigger significance between biting and dangerous play. A driver who hits a child (causing great bodily harm) is NEVER viewed the same way as a child molester (who might have done no physical harm), so I don’t buy the comparison of Suarez’s serial biting with players whose dangerous play has injured others. The wrongness of offences are not always measured by how much damages they caused.

    Alternatively, whose son would you prefer to be in a school ground, the son of a man who broke another player’s leg on the field of play or that of a serial biter? I know whose son I’d rather be.