Aaron Ramsey’s horrific injury has stirred up emotions everywhere this weekend, and the way it is being reported is dividing the nation. Some are looking into the wider issue of the supposed ‘coincidence’ that the team who opposition are encouraged to ‘get stuck into’ are the ones suffering a series of career-threatening injuries. Then they are those going for publicity with sickeningly controversial stories, defending what is, in my opinion, the indefensible.
I gave my detailed thoughts in the aftermath of the game, and I’m very glad to see that many of the points I was bringing up have been expressed elsewhere. In fact, the driving analogy has cropped up in a number of places. Having read around what everyone has to say, I wanted to bring you my ten recommended reads on the subject – not all share the same opinion, but all are worth your time.
Below that are some bullet points from me – I don’t really have the energy or inclination to write another mammoth post on what is a very draining subject.
Here are the ten. I hope you like them.
It is rare that I link to a Daily Mail article in a positive way, but this piece is one of the best I’ve read from the mainstream media. He makes excellent points on how the media focus on the wrong things, highlighting the day that Chris Morgan punched Van Persie, with all the focus at the end being on the Dutchman’s refusal to shake his hand.
Bob Wilson tends to make a lot of sense when he talks. He makes especially pertinent points about how the FA and Premier League have bowed to public perception that kicking technically superior teams is a valid approach and should not be punished.
Moving on to blogs, and I can’t really add a lot to what is said in these two pieces. If you want poignant and insightful, read both. They highlight all the crucial issues, including the root of the ‘kick them’ attitude, one Sam Allardyce.
4) Arsenal FC Blog – A wonderful discussion about the Ramsey incident
In here you’ll find a link to an excellent discussion from the Sunday Supplement, particularly Patrick Barclay. Andy’s blog is also worth looking at for another post – highlighting the superb way in which Cesc lived up to the captain’s responsibility in getting his team past the incident.
5) Another Arsenal Blog – Losing a grip on reality?
Presenting a different angle, the view here is that while Shawcross has sinned in the past, this was not near the level of the Martin Taylor/Dan Smith incidents. There are also some insightful notes on the type of injury Ramsey has suffered.
One of the things I really like about Tim’s blog is that he presents things in such an entertaining and light-hearted way that when he gets serious, it really hits home. Read them, you won’t regret it.
7) Who Ate All The Pies – This One’s For Aaron
Interestingly, not all the emotive columns came from Arsenal blogs – Ollie’s piece on the club-neutral Who Ate All The Pies has a couple of pinpoint lines in it, particularly when highlighting the nation’s attitude to Johnny Foreigner.
8) Gunnerblog – It’s easy to see why it happens. It’s not so easy to forgive
Another blog going down the rational route – quite often GS’s articles come out a few hours after others, but carry the mark of reflective thought. Another good piece on the favouring of the tough-tackling Englishman over the ‘too quick’ opponent.
9) East Lower – Arsenal take strength from Ramsey’s agony
Whilst recognising that Shawcross is not the worst offender in a long list, mention is made here of the wider issue, and also of how previous victims have struggled to return to their previous heights.
10) Official Site – Send in your messages for Aaron Ramsey
The reason for pointing you at the final link is simple – Arsenal are going to create a book of the messages Ramsey receives, to help him get through the next few months. You can help.
Much has been written, much has been spoken, but I have a few more points to make, in addition to those I made yesterday:
- It is extremely worrying that Peter Walton was reportedly not going to send Shawcross off before he saw the extent of Ramsey’s injury. That says a lot about how certain tackles are accepted.
- Those coming out to defend Shawcross as ‘not that type of player’ should bear in mind that at the ripe old age of 22, he has broken the legs of two players – Jeffers and Ramsey. He also put Adebayor out of action with a terrible tackle last season.
- Columnists who are using this as another excuse to attack Wenger should show a great deal more class. Example – Steven Howard in the Sun writes, in response to Wenger’s belief that the string of serious injuries is not a coincidence:
“Even when he has the sympathy vote, Arsene Wenger still succeeds in alienating people. This was not the time for cock-eyed conspiracy theories.”
Utter drivel. Frankly, if you think there is no link between the ‘get stuck to them’ approach taken against Arsenal, and the resultant injuries, then you are a fool.
- You cannot go down the road of suspending offenders for as long as the victims are out – that would cause ridiculous imbalance, where worse offences would go relatively unpunished because the injured party gets lucky and makes a swift recovery. It sounds an easy solution, but it wouldn’t work.
- However, there must be a sliding scale. I’ve said it before, but giving three match bans for all acts of violent conduct or dangerous play is too simplistic. And I say that in full acceptance that under the regulations I would propose, Shawcross would still only be banned for three games. Dan Smith, on the other hand, would be taking a long break.
It has been stated for a long time that Sky and the written media have a great deal of power in the game. Recently I wrote on that exact subject. So in employing pundits who revel in Sam Allardyce’s teams elbowing, kicking and bullying their way to victory, they are responsible for changing the mindset of the nation. It has become accepted fact that to beat superior teams, you have to kick them. Not to press hard, and outrun them, but to simply kick them. Players come out prior to matches and state this as their intention, clear as day.
So why, when the match starts, do the referees allow it to happen? It has become so ingrained in our nation’s psyche that the smaller sides need this advantage that it has become accepted. But going around kicking players off the ball or deliberately taking them down late is not acceptable, and never should be.
There are those that promote these tactics as legitimate, when they are not. They now have a responsibility to change their attitude, their thoughts, and most importantly, their words. Until then, the list of horrific injuries will continue to grow.