GIVING his verdict after watching the bad-tempered 1-1 Premier League match between Chelsea and Spurs on Sunday, Graeme Souness said on Sky Sports: ‘It’s a man’s game all of a sudden again.’
‘Souness, tough-tackling star of Sensible United, wins the ball off the lethargic Woke Wanderers and starts powering downfield …’
The 69-year-old former Liverpool player turned pundit added: ‘I think we’ve got our football back, as I would enjoy football – men at it, blow-for-blow, and the referee letting them get on with it.’
‘Oh, what a fantastic move! Souness dummies effortlessly to see off a Woke defender …’
Ex-England women’s international Karen Carney, now also a pundit, was sitting alongside Souness in the studio. So Sky presenter Dave Jones hastily added: ‘It’s also a woman’s game as well.’
‘Another Woke player tries to tackle Souness, but he skips round him with imperious ease …’
Later, of course, came the obligatory Twitter storm. Chelsea forward Beth England, part of the England women’s team which won the Euro tournament, wrote: ‘What a disgraceful thing to say after the summer this country has just seen.’
Another former England player, Eni Aluko, said: ‘Graeme Souness talking about “it’s a man’s game again” sat next to an England centurion Karen Carney, two weeks after @Lionesses end a 56-year-wait and win European Championships. Come on. It’s not okay.’
But speaking to TalkSPORT on Monday, the Scot said he regretted ‘not a word’ of what he had said in Sunday’s broadcast.
‘Souness ignores the jeers of the Woke supporters and brushes aside more opponents as he jinks and weaves down the wing …’
‘Let me explain,’ he added. ‘I’ve been advocating for years that the referees have such a major part to play in the success of the Premier League. We’ve got to be careful what we say today and I’ve not been very good at that, but we were becoming like other leagues.
‘The refs were blowing the whistle all the time, the game didn’t flow and it just wasn’t a very good watch. Our game has always been unique, always been more meaty, more in our face, more intense and we’ve got away from that.
‘Yesterday in my comments I said we’ve got our game back. That’s the kind of football I remember playing. Our league will be better for it – we are back.’
This is brilliant stuff! Souness is making one of the best solo runs we’ve ever seen for Sensible United. Surely nothing is going to stop him now – he’s going all the way to a glorious goal …’
But Souness then went and spoiled it all. Later on Monday, in a statement released through Sky, he said: ‘To clarify my comments from yesterday, I was referring to the two Premier League matches I watched live on Sunday afternoon, rather than the sport of football. Football is a game for everyone to enjoy.’
Ah … a ‘clarification’. It sounds like it was made through gritted teeth. What could have prompted that, Graeme? Surely not pressure from Sky, terrified of offending the footie feminists who are now jarringly shoehorned into every broadcast of men’s soccer? Well, your wimpish ‘clarification’ left me sick as a parrot.
‘Unbelievable! Souness inexplicably does a U-turn and trips over his bootlaces! He’s lost the ball, tumbled head over heels, and landed on his backside in a patch of mud. The Woke fans are ecstatic, the Sensible supporters are stunned. Oh, Souey lad, they shout – you’ve nobbled yourself!’