It’s fair to say that the nation are gutted that Chris Sutton, along with Stephen Craigan and Darrell Currie, won’t be appearing on the telly giving us their thoughts on Scottish football. BT are the crème de la crème when it comes to Scottish fitba.
A great goalscorer, an excellent pundit, a top-class wind-up merchant. No matter who you support, you’ve got to love Chris Sutton. He’s an avid admirer of the Scottish game even if he does get his fishing rod out from time to time.
Sutton’s career is an impressive one, regardless of what Robbie Savage says. A physical player at 6ft 3in tall, he boasts an England cap to his name and over 150 league goals in over 400 appearances. A Premier League Golden Boot winner in ’97-98 with 18 goals in 35 matches. A Norwich City Hall of Fame inductee.
At the Canaries, he was a part of the team which eliminated Bayern Munich from European competition in the UEFA Cup. Moving onto Blackburn for an English football record fee of £5 million in 1994 and winning the league in his first season as part of that legendary ‘SAS’ partnership with Alan Shearer. Rovers’ first league title in over 80 years became apparent as the two netted 49 goals between them.
Yes, his spell at Chelsea was disappointing but it could be argued Celtic got the best of him. Henrik Larsson proving as equally as emphatic a partner as Alan Shearer was in a very good team under the stewardship of Martin O’Neill – three league titles, three Scottish Cups, a League Cup and a UEFA Cup final place all whilst playing in the east end of Glasgow.
And that’s where his love affair for Scottish football began.
Some of his quotes are frankly hilarious. Prior to Celtic meeting Rangers in the 2015 League Cup semi-final, Sutton attracted a whole host of criticism after saying that the game would be so one-sided that Celtic could win it blindfolded. The Hoops went on to win 2-0.
A live debate after a 3-1 Rangers victory in Dingwall over Ross County with the-then Rangers boss Pedro Caixinha was the least of his worries, following the Portuguese manager’s claims that he had ‘the best squad in the league’.
His tussles with Robbie Savage are apparent, often claiming that Savage had offered to play for Rangers in the Scottish lower leagues for free but that the Light Blues had turned him down. Savage claims Sutton is Rangers obsessed but you and I both know that’s not true.
“Would Liam Boyce get into the Celtic team?”
Michael Stewart is another he disagrees with on a regular basis. Their best argument coming when Stewart opted to choose Liam Boyce, top scorer in the league with Ross County at the time, in his team of the season for BT.
“Is that a yes or a no?” was Sutton’s hilarious response when asking Stewart as to whether the Northern Irishman could squeeze into the Celtic side. Stewart was explaining as to why Boyce had been selected in his team before it was made clear that Sutton had selected nine Celtic players in his 11, much to the bemusement of everyone else in the studio.
Only Joe Lewis of Aberdeen in goal and Lee Wallace at left back were non-Celtic in the team. “Joe Lewis has been the outstanding goalkeeper for me, Tierney’s been injured” were his objections as to why he didn’t just name the starting Celtic eleven.
He may have been naïve then but he’ll stick up for the Scottish game more than anyone and he’s English and for that he has my utmost respect. We sure are hoping to see him talking about Scottish football from 2020 onwards, regardless of the channel, because he’s top drawer.