October 9, 2012 by Hamilton Fan
Tony Pulis is on a one-man crusade to clean up football. Over the past couple of weeks he has made it his mission to inform the Football Association of what exactly they should be doing to eradicate the evil that is diving from the game. Firstly he accused Chelsea’s Brazilian teenage starlet Oscar and defender Branislav Ivanovic of diving in Stoke’s 1-0 defeat to the European Champions on 22nd September, branding their actions as “laughable”. Just over two weeks later Pulis was at it again, saying that Luis Suarez should be banned for three games after the striker went down, untouched, in the penalty area during the second half of their 0-0 draw at Anfield. He has a point. Diving is wrong. It is cheating, plain and simple. Is retrospective punishment the answer for serial offenders? It is up for debate, but it might be worth considering from the FA’s point of view.
Pulis’ words on diving are hard to disagree with. However, should Pulis not look at his own sides behaviour before playing the victim card? The Stoke City manager neglected to mention the horrendous stamp that his defender Robert Huth inflicted on Luis Suarez five minutes in to the match at Anfield on Sunday. Stoke are known for their physical approach and excessive (but legal) force is expected from Pulis’ side. However, this was beyond that. Huth’s stamp was violent and far beyond what should be seen on a football pitch. His remarks after Stoke’s 1-1 draw at home to Manchester City back in September after Peter Crouch handled the ball in the build-up to Stoke’s goal makes Pulis, who has took the moral highground on the diving issue, look slightly hypocritical. Pulis declared it was “brilliant” that Crouch had seemingly mananged to get away with handling the ball. If Peter Crouch deliberately handled the ball, then what is the difference between his actions and what Luis Suarez, Oscar and Branislav Ivanovic did? Cheating is cheating, whatever form it comes in.
Suarez’s actions in the second half were not acceptable. Pulis is right to call it “an embarrassment” as that is what it is. It is inexcusable. But before he calls for an opposition player to be banned, maybe he should consider the actions of his own players first. It is not like this is the first time one of his players has been accused of taking their physical approach too far. Pulis’ hypocrisy will not win him, nor Stoke City, any sympathy when it comes to getting his point across on diving. It is time for Pulis to look closer to home before playing the moral crusader.