Former Norwich City striker Iwan Roberts disgusted by Liverpool’s ‘cowardly’ Luis Suarez
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Former Norwich City favourite Iwan Roberts has condemned Liverpool striker Luis Suarez for his bite on Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic, calling it a 'cowardly act'.
The Evening News columnist revealed he was bitten twice in a playing career that spanned more than two decades, which included a game for the Canaries against Watford during his successful seven-year stint at Carrow Road.
The controversial Uruguayan international has until 6pm today to respond to an FA charge of violent conduct after the governing body released a statement last night stating the standard three-match punishment is deemed 'insufficient'. Suarez had already been fined by his club following the unprovoked attack on Ivanovic during Sunday's 2-2 Premier League draw at Anfield.
Merseyside police have confirmed Suarez will not face any action after Ivanovic told local officers on Sunday evening he did not wish to pursue the matter. Suarez did make a personal apology to the Serbian hours after the match, but Roberts insisted he deserves to be heavily punished following his latest high-profile misdemeanour.
He said: 'It is a physical game but within football there is a code of conduct in this country that you don't spit and you don't bite players. I think it is a cowardly act. Dogs bite and you might see that with a small child who doesn't know any better in the playground. There is no place for it. I am a massive Suarez fan. I think he is a fantastic player with so much ability but he spoils it with this dark side to his character which no-one can explain.
'It is not the first time this has happened. He got sent off for biting in his last Ajax game so he obviously hasn't learned. There is something deep inside him where he seems to react in totally the wrong way. It is indefensible. Liverpool have been proactive and that is good to see. It is a club I have supported since I was a young lad. It is a great football club and not one player is bigger than Liverpool, but Luis Suarez has tarnished the image of that great club by his actions.'
Roberts' admitted the prolific 23-goal striker's weekend assault brought back painful memories from his own playing days.
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He said: 'I was shocked when it happened to me. It was a centre forward who used to play for Watford and a centre half who played for Swansea when I was at Cambridge United and I had to show unbelievable control. I wanted to abuse them verbally, but I had to pinch myself and bite my lip because any action I had taken personally would probably have come back to haunt me in the future. I showed the referee the teeth marks on both occasions.
'One was at the top of my shoulder, one was on my arm and as much as he would have liked to send the player off there was nothing he could do because he hadn't seen the incident. It is the worst thing that ever happened to me on the pitch in 22 years. I was never spat at and if I had been I would have probably lost my cool. I really haven't seen it in the game in all my time.
'People have been talking to me about an incident involving Jermain Defoe a number of years ago, but I don't remember it.'
Roberts has urged the striker to accept the Professional Footballers' Association's (PFA) offer to attend anger management counselling.
He said: 'I think he should take them up on their offer. You never see any bad press about him off the field. He is a family man but once he crosses that white line he will do anything to win. Liverpool have come out and fined him but that doesn't really hurt a footballer these days. The way to hurt them is taking away what they love doing the most and that is playing football. I do think the FA will suspend them as much as they can. Whether or not this sort of thing happens on the continent more often I don't know, but the number of incidents in this country you can count on one hand.'
Suarez confirmed on his personal Twitter account yesterday he will donate his club fine to the Hillsborough Family Support Group. Liverpool's managing director Ian Ayre has insisted the Reds' star striker will not be sold in the summer in the wake of his latest controversial episode.
'It affects his future in the sense that we have to work with him on his discipline – but Luis is a very important player to the club,' Ayre told his club's official site. 'As we keep saying, he signed a new four-year contract last summer and we'd all love to see him here throughout that contract. He's a fantastic player, top scorer and everything we'd want in a striker, so there's no change there. This is more about getting him back on the right track and it's largely down to Brendan (Rodgers) now to work with him on that side of his character.'
Suarez was fined by the Dutch FA and hit with a seven-match ban in November 2010 after being found guilty of biting PSV Eindhoven midfielder Otman Bakkal.