Mar 012010

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.

1) Martin Samuel – How can so many broken legs be down to chance

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.

2) Bob Wilson calling on the FA to act

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.

3) Arseblog – The media have blood on their hands and He’s not that kind of player

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.

6) 7am Kickoff – Shawcross breaks Ramsey’s leg and Dear English FA

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.

  9 Responses to “Ramsey fallout – ten recommended reads for your Monday perusal + thoughts”

  1. just a thought on your sliding scale theory for dangerous tackles, was it a 7 or 8 match game that pv4 got for spitting at ruddock? i hear, that almost 10 years later, ruddock is still struggling to come to terms with that horrific injury.

  2. Well researched thanks. As a Gooner I find it hard to be objective, however I cannot believe that in the cut throat business world that is now modern football the , “get stuck in” suggestion from the managers who don’t need to be named is a visceral cry for their own survival. Where else can men like Allardyce, Pulis and McLeish become millionaires other than in crime……

  3. the engerlund media have an anti-arsenal agenda-as we’re perceived as “johnny foreigner”who doesn’t like it up em or in yer face!this is perpetuated by sky tv & motd pundits in particular-why are they not brought into disrepute?the fa turn a blind eye-accept when it comes to punishing arsenal of course!the best way to sicken them all would be to win the prem-they’d choke on it!

  4. People get carried away easily, Ryan Shawcross was so devastated that he cried. That’s big damn bullshit ! He cried for several other reason so why everybody think it was for breaking Ramsey’s leg. He probably felt he let his team down with his sending off and Stoke were down to ten man. He cried because they will possibly lose their unbeaten home record. He could cried because he thought his England spot may not happened after breaking someone’s leg. The press and every TV commentators were actually feeling sorry for him. They almost forgotten the poor guy agonising on the ground. The English media are myopic and lunatic and certainly bias !

  5. The England press conference was a farce with the reporters putting words in the mouths of Rooney and Miliner..Their main focus was on the state of mind of Shawcross and his rehabilitation from his trauma..For God sake give us a break here, Ramsey is the victim not Shawcross, Shawcross has previous. Fuller said before the recent cup game that they would rough Arsenal up… What more needs to be said..?

  6. Thanks Pete!

  7. No problem Tim, cheers for a good read!

    One of the issues is that the English love an underdog, and that’s true of all of us – we all snigger when a big side has their backside handed to them by a hungrier opposition.

    But there are fine lines between working harder, tackling harder and becoming dangerous. And too often when those lines are crossed, the perpetrators are defended because the lines are so blurred in the first place.

  8. People who are fans of Arsenal and support the fairness and integrity that AW tries to bring into our football should REFUSE to buy the Sun and the Mirror. Both have a Sports Editors who act as though they have no love of the beautiful game and seem to think that the way forward for our game is to punish the only club who behaves with quality on and off the pitch. Do the Morons in the media act out of thinly disguised racism or jealousy- who knows- but they will not stop Arsenal from being the dominant club in world football over the next decade. It isn’t Wenger who wants to be put under the microscope- its the morality of some of the Premier league managers. The FA cannot do much about nutters in the media(are you listening Andy) but they can stop those who think it is fair to keep sending out leg-breaking and fouling cheats under the guise of a sport.

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