Celtic Was Lucky To Have Sutton. Scottish Football Still Is.

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Of all the ex-players making a living commenting on the Scottish game there is one who stands out a mile for being articulate, intelligent and relatively unbiased. He slags Celtic when they deserve it. He slags the Ibrox club when few others will. He will take on refs, he will shoot back at the SFA, he criticises VAR and he will not suffer fools.

I loved Chris Sutton as a player. When I was picking my Best XI for a recent piece, I was loathe not to include him or Hartson in it, and only because Kyogo signed a new deal and is fast closing in on 100 goals did I give him the nod ahead of them.

When forced to pick one or the other I would probably go for Hartson for his goals … but Sutton brought so much more than just goals. He made players around him better.

He was the reason Shearer was such a colossus at Blackburn. He helped make Henrik Larsson into the most lethal finisher in Europe.

But you know what? I’m starting to respect Sutton The Pundit just as much. Because he’s really good at what he does and he deserves a better class of “colleague” in the Sky box than The Village Idiot who is nowhere near him in terms of his professionalism and class.

It’s more than just that though. We are lucky to have had him as a player and as such a passionate advocate for the club in the aftermath. But Scottish football should increasingly be coming to the conclusion that he is one of its best advocates as well. His comments at the weekend, when talking to The Daily Mail’s Ian Ladyman for his column in the aftermath of the Atletico game in midweek was absolutely superb. And he did more than defend Celtic.

Sutton defended Scottish football. Robustly. Brilliantly.

In a week when other commentators up here have torched our game and slandered every aspect of it, an Englishman with no responsibility to talk our game up, with a loyalty to only one team here, and under no obligation whatsoever to promote it far less defend it, has done what none of the rest have been willing to do and that is something every single one of us, regardless of what clubs we follow, should be grateful for.

It is exceptional that this man has such regard for our game here when so many of those who are paid to cover it do not. It is phenomenal that he defends it when they scorn it. His comments should be recorded here in full. They are exceptional.

“It was interesting in a European week that you chose to have a pop at Celtic. I saw your article and it was a pop at Celtic and a pop at Scottish football,” he told Ladyman. “In a week when Manchester United, who have spent over £400million, lose to the minnows of Copenhagen, you chose not to mention that. Newcastle United have spent a fortune and are bottom of their Champions League group, but you just went all in on Celtic and Scottish football.

“But the bottom line is Brendan Rodgers. You said something about him spending his most valuable years in Scotland. But how can you judge what Brendan’s goals are with him taking on a particular job? That’s not for you to judge. You can change your opinion on a certain job role and if Brendan is doing that, and has gone back into a difficult situation, then he’s entitled to do that. That’s not for you to judge. And your whole ‘mediocre poverty’ line on Scottish football, is it all about commercialism? Is it all about elitism?

“You’re telling me, in your opinion, the Scottish league is poor. But this is where Scottish people get sick and tired of the likes of yourself. It’s a misguided judgement. Scottish football, in terms of attendances, is the best supported league in Europe. So, you can have your opinion on the standard of football, but the biggest and best barometer is that Scottish people don’t care what you think because they go to the games week in, week out and they love their football.”

I think that’s fantastic of him, to stand up for the game here in that fashion. He could easily have joined in with the sneering halfwits and pig ignorant shock-jocks of English football in sniggering over Celtic’s travails and the wider slagging of the Scottish game, but not only does he refuse to but he stands up for both. When did you last hear that from the likes of Tom English or any of those other guys who’ve spent their careers whipping our game instead?

Scottish football is not perfect. It’s far from it. But our game is being sucked dry by an influx of money to England, and the bloat of that league is obvious when you consider the salaries being paid down there to mediocre footballers who wouldn’t get in our team … and they are all over that league, some of them earning six figures a week.

Sutton is our best advocate. He shames those pygmies who are more interested in the sounds of their own voice and looking good to their colleagues down south as they roll their eyes and talk our sport down. Sutton has no reason to do this other than that he cares, that he gives a damn, and that’s more than any of these others do.

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  • John L says:

    I love his honesty and his unbiased opinion, if a Celtic player took the dive that Mc,Causland took, he would have said straight away, and I hope you, me and most honest Celtic Supporters never forget this. I’ve seen and heard him stop Robbie Savage ( sevco sympathiser ) right in his tracks about all things Celtic and Scottish. We should be delighted that such a stand out is fighting our Scottish corner .

  • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

    Yep – Agree entirely even though I hear what he has to say through blogs like this very fine one…

    Compare and contrast to that half-wit Mark Wilson who was too scared to say that the brutal assault on Kyogo just merited a yellow –

    I know in his Celtic supporter brain that he knows it was a red – but mustn’t upset the BBC Scotland team Mark – Eh ?

    Sutton probably never grew up looking out for Celtic results on a Saturday but than goodness we have him given the way you report his opinions to me on here…

    Clyde Superscoreboard should be interesting tonight – normally I’d only listen in after a Sevco defeat but I want to see what defending they will wriggle into the guy that committed serious assault on Kyogo and what defending that they will wriggle into the Sevco player that cheated for the penalty –

    Because they WILL find a way to defend the indefensible if it’s anti Celtic and pro Sevco !

  • Johnno says:

    There isn’t to many times i will subject my eyes and ears to the amount of horseshite that it has to overcome when a scum match is on.
    Yet hopefully Chris Sutton is in attendance for when the scum have to play the sheep.
    Worth viewing in just to see Sutton put that sneering Hun eejit in his place regardless of the result.
    A result for the sheep and our Chris will have an absolute field day with that thick fat dope, and he won’t be able to control himself either with his fury.
    Even a win for the scum, and our Chris won’t sit by and listen to the amount of turd polishing that will want to be put on show either.
    Chris Sutton has and always will remain the biggest thorn in the side of all the scum cheerleaders within SKY and the Scottish media in general and long may that trend continues?
    Would say that the thick fat gormless eejit will be having nightmares at the prospect of facing Chris Sutton upon SKY?
    But then again could remain so thick to even notice what a fat thick gormless eejit he likes to remain within SKY?

  • SSMPM says:

    That’s a very good and well constructed article. It’s a very difficult one to argue with and so I won’t fella. What Sutton benefits from, idiots like Boyd lack and that’s subjectivity coupled with very good analytic skills.
    Boyd could score goals certainly in the SPL and I’d say with a raw talent but not at a CL or international level. That required more than rugged raw talent. Sutton had nous and could play clever football, intelligent football and at a level way above Boyd.
    Boyd’s unable to hide his anger as a presenter at his favoured club’s failures and at that Scottish/Irish Celtic ‘Catholic’ club’s successes and that’s because fundamentally he’s a bigot hun. Sutton simply is a better person, a better character, a better individual and as a result fundamentally a better presenter.
    To deviate slightly what the hell’s going on with Mark Wilson, now there’s a guy that’s being promoted above and beyond his ability. Already I’m sick of his conciliatory hun approach to exist in the Scottish punditry world. Now he could learn a thing or two from Sutton. HH

  • Michael M says:

    Brilliant article and I agree with every word big Sutton says as I’ve been saying the same for years, that the Scottish league is far better than the shit mouthed BRITISH media give it, and against fellow Tims at that.

    So kudos to big Chris for saying and kudos to you too for the same Best XI dilemma!

    Chris & John are true Celtic legends but the wee man’s something else again, without a doubt our best since Henrik himself, so brilliant I could almost cry about how this club of ours keeps giving us guys like these despite the terrible European transfer policy.


  • Del says:

    Well done Chris , always knew he loved it up here and has always talked our game up out of all the pundits .As you say All of Scottish football should say thanks and be grateful SOMEONE is..

  • Mark b says:

    I didn’t see the article when you picked your best XI and not sure which era. But if it was say “last 30 years” it must include Larsson and Sutton. Hartson got goals but Sutton’s contribution to changing the balance of power from 23 years ago was immense. Even Henrik claimed he was a dream to play with and named him as his best ever partner. He’d probably make my all time Celtic squad although that’s a tough ask with the likes of McNeil McGrory Larsson Dalglish Johnstone Lennox McGrain Gemmil Murdoch Connelly. Van Dyk might get in as well.

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