The nation has laughed. The Premier League has done its best to stop the laughter spreading by trying to force YouTube to block every clip. Pete Sixsmith, on the other hand, knows the full story of Jarvis the Sunderland-supporting spaniel. How he gets from there to Suarez would take longer to explain …
Right, here we go with the tale of the dog. I hope I don’t have to pad it out and I trust that I won’t lead you on too much. I haven’t collared the hound yet, but I would be a paw journo if I couldn’t get something out of this.
That’s the excruciating puns out of the way. For those who have no idea of what I am talking about, seek out the You Tube clip of Nicklas Bendtner celebrating the opening goal at Loftus Road. Don’t expect this clip to last, but they keep getting added so you may be lucky …
He goes to his right to wait for the adulation of his team mates and there, in the background, being thrown into the air is a dog. You can’t see its face, but its private parts, those that a dog licks so assiduously before it slobbers all over you, are clearly on display.
The dog is a cocker spaniel called Jarvis (Cocker, get it?) and is owned by a totally dedicated Sunderland and canine fan called Billy Longworth. Originally from West Auckland, Billy traded in the rustic charms of West for the bright lights of Shildon a few years ago.
A knee operation led to him getting the dog as an incentive he needed to get down to the walking needed for the joint to recover. He can be seen walking Jarvis all over the town, presenting a spectacle reminiscent of all the dogs that were walked to death just after the railway works closed and men had no work to go to.
I saw Billy and Jarvis at Kilmarnock, where Jarvis was accommodated among the 300 or so Sunderland fans who had made the trip. That was a quiet summer’s night; this was a boisterous winter’s one. But the intrepid Mr L and Jarvis get where water gets – everywhere.
I bumped into his travelling companion, one Mr Russell Henderson, on a crowded tube platform at Kings Cross. He told me they had driven to Doncaster and picked up a train there and were going back on the 11.30. He then told me that they had brought the dog with them. I asked him to repeat it: he did. The dog was in London and on its way to the match.
And while Russell had gone searching for Good Beer Guide pubs to tick off, Billy had hotfooted it out to Loftus Road to see if it was possible for Jarvis to be admitted to the stadium.
Rangers were very helpful (I have no idea what story that Billy spun them) and said that if he was there by 7.15 with the aforementioned pooch, they would allow both of them to watch the game from the disabled enclosure.
Sobs, of A Love Supreme fame, and I clocked Billy before the game, but did not see Jarvis. Presumably he was sitting under the allocated seat. However, we did see him on TV later, when the dog’s pride and joy was shown to the Match of the Day audience as the cameras honed in on a Great Dane celebrating in front of a spaniel. Great stuff.
I suspect Jarvis may have made a more sensible uttering about the goal than Alan Hanson did when asked about the Suarez affair. To call black players coloured is as crass as it gets and, although not up to the crassness standard of Grey and Keys, suggests that Hanson needs to go on a race awareness course. (different country, but Monsieur Salut would respectfully point out that a black woman he plays badminton with in France refers in conversation to “personnes de couleur”).
The whole Suarez thing has shown Liverpool FC up in a desperately bad light. They have constantly chipped and chivvied away at the FA who, quite rightly, took their time over this in order to do it properly. Instead of keeping quiet, Dalglish showed a lack of dignity and respect and slammed the decision. No apology, no saying that Luis has learned from this and accepts that he has made a mistake and wants to move on. Just everyone else is wrong, the FA Committee (which included Dennis Smith) was biased against us and it is all down to cultural differences.
In the eyes of many fans, Suarez is an objectionable little cheat who revels in other people’s misfortune and is constantly demanding that players be booked or sent off as he falls over their feet. His “cultural differences” excuse does not hold water; he has lived and worked in The Netherlands, where the use of the word “Negro” would be as unpleasant as it is here.
Then the club compounded the situation by warming up in t-shirts bearing his image. No doubt we will see Liverpool fans wearing them at games as a badge of honour.
I wonder if our players will be wearing Titus Bramble shirts if he is acquitted of the charges against him in January. Don’t hold your breath.