What’s done is done, but the debate needs to continue.

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It’s four days now since Ramsey’s horror injury, and I’ve been impressed by the powerful, tenacious and heartfelt blogging (and podcasting) on what has been an incredibly emotive issue.

The reaction has been revealing though, hasn’t it? There’s been an incredible polarisation of articles, between those who bow to the ‘it was an accident’ and ‘he’s a good lad’ argument and those who realise that, if it’s brushed off so lightly as it has been this time and in the past, then it’s just going to happen again.

As for those who think the perpetrator has been overly stigmatised – I say go to Ramsey’s hospital bed and take a good look at his leg. Who is the victim here? Get real.

I’d be interested to know what, if anything, is going on behind the scenes – at Arsenal and at the Premier League. I’d be amazed if Arsenal had not registered their protests in some way.

While I don’t want to see the demise of a good tackle, I do think that the forcefulness of some tackles – such as this one, in the middle of the pitch, hardly the most crucial area – could be addressed. There is no way Shawcross needed to go in with such ferocity. Whether it was unintentional and lacking in malice is neither here nor there.

Then there’s the punishment. When players get three and four match bans for slight provocative gestures, or for an accumulation of yellow cards, yet a wild lunge that puts a fellow pro’s career in danger gets just a three match ban, then the authorities, in my opinion, are made to look like chumps. It doesn’t make any sense to me at all.

Will anything be done? I must say I doubt it will, at least not overtly. But at the same time I’d be quite surprised if the sight of another snapped leg – and all referees will have seen it, in all its gory detail – didn’t have some kind of effect. If it means referees move in to defuse and calm situations and players sooner then they would have done in the past, then I guess that would be a small step in the right direction. Maybe I am being too optimistic.

What can also not be denied is how superb, how loyal and how proactive Arsenal fans have been in rallying around. More than 56,000 have already signed Ramsey’s get well book, and there are some superb banners planned to support the young Welshman, such as this one from the Gooner. I believe Arseblog has something cooking on that front too. Fantastic stuff.

As for Saturday, well team news and international crocked-ness will no doubt follow. We’re definitely down Ramsey and Song. We’re probably up Diaby. I feel we are owed the healthy return of all our players. In fact, I demand it.

Whoever makes the starting XI, I do – arch pessimist though I sometimes am – feel that something has changed. Ramsey’s injury led directly to the raw emotion and togetherness of the players at the end of the win at Stoke. That desire and passion to make amends and make something happen will take some shifting. And it’s already being mirrored off the pitch by the fans.

I’ve not looked forward to a home game like this for some time.

I cannot wait.


Arsenal since about 1979. Thick, thin and all that.

This Post Has 24 Comments

  1. Daryl booth

    I am at the game on Saturday and will be hoping to get gooners reaction to the tackle, the fall out and hopefully in the rocket to get to interview some of the guys behind that great banner. I will clearly hope to get so in ground footage and edit it together for Monday evening.

    I will post the resulting mini film on YouTube (darylsblog) and if I may can I ask you link it on your site (as well as arseblogs too if all goes well) just to show how the challenge has galvenised a club and it’s fans.
    Proud to be a Gooner.

  2. John

    I’ve been hoping to see a slow motion close-up clip of this challenge, but unfortunately Sky are not playing. I’ve downloaded a YouTube clip and watched it through as slowly as I can by clicking the start/pause button to advance it as slowly as I can. I have it in front of me now, paused. It is a moment before contact happens; the next point at which it will let me pause is, alas, slightly after impact and unclear. Shawcross is standing on his right foot. The ball is right next to his foot. His left leg is back and he is about to swing his foot at the ball to kick it. I’d say he is quite entitled to kick the ball where it is. Ramsey is heading towards the ball. He is off the ground, and this may well be the problem. He is in mid air and Shawcross has started his kick.

    I don’t know about you, but if I’m taking a good kick at a ball, it’s going to be bloody difficult to abort such a kick once started.

    I assume what happens next is that Ramsey nudges the ball out of the way and Shawcross kicks him instead.

    The impact is made worse not by the “ferocity” of the what Shawcross is doing, but by his strong kick allied to the fact that Ramsey’s entire weight is flying forward at that point. If he’d had one foot on the floor, with his weight on it, as Shawcross had, the kicking leg would have gone backwards with less damage.

    I can send you a still from the footage if you wish so you can have a look.

    But are you really saying that a player has no right to hit a ball that is next to his foot as hard as he likes? It sounds like you are. So let’s transplant the incident and say Shawcross was defending in his own area instead. You say that it’s then acceptable? Or what if Shawcross is about to shoot? Would you have been okay with it in those places? You can’t be saying that defenders can’t make big clearances or strikers can’t crack the ball at the goal, I hope. But you seem to be saying that nobody can make a midfield clearance.

    I’ve seen plenty of articles (including your “wild lunge” reference) that refer to Shawcross “lunging” or “diving” in, but not a single one pointing out that he took a swing at a ball that was exactly in the right position for it and had one foot planted on the floor. And not one mention of the fact that Ramsey was actually in the air immediately before impact.

    I’m trying to look at this in as balanced a way as I can but you seem to be insisting on blame being allocated. Do you allow for such a thing as an accident? I have no emotional connection either way, other than feeling sorry for an injured played and being able to put myself in the place of another player who has somehow been part of an impact that caused a bad injury.

    A number of articles are claiming “Shawcross has previous”. He may well have, but this is exactly why criminal trials do not tell the jurors what previous convictions a defendant has – because it would sway them. Just because someone did something before doesn’t make them guilty this time round.

    It was a horrible injury and I hope Ramsey recovers ASAP and does not lose any pace or skill. And I hope it leaves no psychological mark.

    I can’t see an email address to send this picture to.

  3. Ashburton_Grove

    You’re right. There won’t be changes until people step up and shout that this cannot go on. It seems we’re still not being heard.

    The FA have taken no further action against Shawcross.
    Why is this? Didn’t Taylor get a six match ban?

    The one thing this incident has done, is brought Arsenal and its fans closer together. Galvanised support and we’re now behind our team more so, in my opinion, than we were before.

    Saturday is going to be rocking. I just hope we can continue with the same efforts for the remaining games this season.

    Come on you Gooners!

  4. RotorGoat

    John – some fair points. I guess what I’d be interested to know is whether there’s anything that can be done to prevent a repetition. Maybe there isn’t and it’s wishful thinking. But he did, I think, go in too hard so the question is – did he need to? Could the referee have done anything differently? Would the threat of a heavier ban for inflicting certain injuries – accidental or otherwise – in the future act as a deterrent?

    There may be no solution to hand but it’s worth thinking about.

  5. lettraggad

    //John The priors very much matter … Shawcross is a serial offender .. and has injured players all through his career with reckless or just plain vicious tackles such as the jeffers legbreak.. Adebayors ankle.. (he was initially out three weeeks but he was rushed back and the injury reuccered.. the rest is history). He took some plonker out with a very cynical tackle while He was out on loan for United .. and the are most likely many more incidents that we havent heard of. But thats still not the point being made here .. Media and managers tell their players to “get in our faces” , “get stuck in” interpret it as kick em hard… its not ok but somehow becuase Arsenals players are seen as technically superior everyone accepts that they should be kicked. Shawcross , Smith, taylor and others as Nolan are acting on orders It’s the refs job to protect us but they dont. And its not ok for media to take the role of “radio Rwanda” and encourage violence against our player.

  6. Farnborough Gunner

    John says:

    “A number of articles are claiming “Shawcross has previous”. He may well have, but this is exactly why criminal trials do not tell the jurors what previous convictions a defendant has – because it would sway them. Just because someone did something before doesn’t make them guilty this time round.”

    Correct, but in a court of law, if a defendent is found guilty their previous record is taken into account when sentencing, so serial offenders can be punished more harshly than first-time offenders.

    So, to translate your analogy to Saint Shawcross, the ref gave him a red card, which is fine. But his previous record of injuring opponents is relevent in any debate about the incident and should be reflected in the length of his ban (I doubt of FA rules allow for that, but my point is that they should).

    What really get me though is the number of people saying that the incident was totally out of character for Shawcross, when it quite obvioulsy wasn’t.

    Try to remember who the vitim is here and who should be getting everyone’s support (clue – it’s not Ryan Shawcross).

  7. SolsaGooner

    im going sat aswell cannot wait!! be great seeing that big ramsey flag and not that the lads will need anything more to get them going but im sure that will!! i see Bendtner scored last night for Denmark AGAIN,hes hiting some form at the right time.

  8. Jersey

    Through adversity, the players have come together as one, clearly shown at goal celebrations and end of game huddle last weekend. They were probably looking forward to coming in to training on Monday, but had to bugger off to international friendlies.

    I hope that they can quickly recapture the mood, as they return in dribs and drabs over the next 24 hours.


  9. Mjm

    Just hope it won’t be as subdued on Saturday as it was the game after Eduardo’s injury. Anyone remember that game? It felt like the heart had been ripped out of the side and somehow you knew that we wouldn’t be able to sustain the title challenge. It feels so different today – I still have Clichy’s ‘We’re gonna do it’ ringing in my ears!

  10. Paul

    Great blog, I often read it! John makes some good points there, but I think the media blackout in this instance has not helped anyone understand what actually happened. There’s a us sky sports where they showed it again and compared it to a scythe. They were not impressed at all. I think a lot has been made of this because Shawcross (a) plays for Stoke and (b) has quite a bit of previous. I will be there on Saturday! Get back soon Aaron!

  11. Farnborough Gunner

    It would help if the media recognised that Shawcross has previous while acknowledging that as a young man he can learn and change his ways. He may not be a vicious person (I don’t know) but may be playing as he is because his manager tells him to kick oppenents, “let them know you’re there” etc, and isn’t bright enough to know where to draw the line.

    I really do think that in this case as well as Eduado’s the real villain of the piece is the manager who has fired his team up to play in such an aggresive way. The trouble is that some players are too inexperienced or too thick to know the difference between a physical gameplan and reacklessness, and the law of avergaes says that sooner or later such tactics will cause injuries.

    Does anyone remember Chopper Harris, who played for Chelsea in the early 1970s? He had a dreadful reputation for injuring opponents with “over the top” tackles, punches, whatever it took. When he retired he moaned that he wasn’t that type of person but because he could “take care of himself” managers always asked him to do the dirty work. Of course, he could have refused or asked for a transfer. He was still be person who actually performed the act of deliberately injuring another persoon. I know I couldn’t do it.

  12. Farnborough Gunner

    Please excuse typing errors in my previous posting!

    I do know how to spell (but my fingers don’t always get the message).

  13. Kevin McAleer

    Here’s my tribute to Ryan Shawcross

  14. fredster

    Hi, great blog today as always. Just wondering, where may one find the podcasts on the Ramsey injury that you are referring to in the opening?

  15. marcus

    Shawcross’ challenge wasn’t a “tackle,” it was a SCYTHE, an assault right thru Ramsey — committed in an area of the pitch where the ball was going nowhere, it makes no sense for him to commit that kind of challenge in that area of the pitch. This is the SECOND time he’s shattered an opponent’s leg, and he injured Ade for a month WHEN THE BALL WAS COMPLETELY OUT OF PLAY. The guy’s a thug lowlife scumbag.

    Good point from arseblogger: google “feel sorry for Ryan Shawcross” v. “feel sorry for Aaron Ramsey” — the results tell you everything.

    And if you want sensible commentary from a football pundit on Shawcross’ challenge, check out Bobby McMahon on the Fox Soccer Channel (he’s a Scotsman living in Canada, working for North America’s most-watched football-only TV channel):

    And btw, this thug was allowed to train at our facilities for England’s preparations against Egypt.

  16. Sajit

    Nice post Rotor!

  17. vp

    Mr. John says:

    “A number of articles are claiming “Shawcross has previous”. He may well have, but this is exactly why criminal trials do not tell the jurors what previous convictions a defendant has – because it would sway them. Just because someone did something before doesn’t make them guilty this time round.”

    Were people and the media not trying to implicate Cest on spit-gate scandal by saying that he had a history of spiting on people by bringing up the encounter with Ballack which never was? I couldn’t find your post anywhere as Fabrecas defense attorney?

  18. John

    I’ve looked at the clip, Marcus, thanks for that. It’s not helping me enough, alas; and what the man is saying is just another opinion with further emotive language. I don’t think it ever was a tackle; it’s also the first time Ramsey was nearer the ball than Shawcross. In the clip, the point where it goes to freeze frame in the middle is irritating me – why freeze there without showing the impact? I’m trying to see contact between Shawcross’s left leg and Ramsey’s right leg. I assume it happens, but on the clip above I can’t pause it near enough the impact point on any of the sequences. But I hadn’t previously seen Ramsey roll and attempt to get to his feet.

    I’m trying and failing to square the video clips I’ve seen with this picture: http://www.newsoftheworld.co.uk/multimedia/archive/00096/ramsey_inj_516x350_96122a.jpg
    Judging by the clips, impact appears not to have happened at the instant caught in the photograph. Or is this after impact and with Ramsey’s leg rebounding? There’s just too big a gap between the point of fracture and any part of Shawcross. It’s not making enough sense and, I guess, I’m bothered that Ramsey’s leg might have broken on impact with the ground and not on impact with Shawcross. Anyone able to explain the photo?

    @vp: I’m afraid I wasn’t present at the time CF was alleged to have spat, so I can’t help there, and I apologise for not helping him at the time.

    @Others on the topic of previous form; I’m still trying to decide on guilt.

    Okay, a football scenario from my own past. Nothing comparable in outcome, but just to show that things can happen. I was playing on an outdoor five-a-side court. I was dribbling at full pelt; I was in mid-air, like Ramsey, just about to nudge the ball forwards with my leading leg. One of the other players put his foot at the other side of the ball. The ball stopped dead. As my foot touched it, my foot stopped dead too, and I flew over the top, landing on my hands and knees and taking skin off them. It hurt, but these things happen. The other player apologised, but I told him he had nothing to apologise for. He’d played the ball. I knew that. It wasn’t a foul. He was totally within his rights to stop the ball. It hurt, but as far as I was concerned no wrong had been committed.

    Things happen all over the football pitch hundreds or thousands of times each match, millions of times each season. Just now and then things happen together in the wrong way.

    However, I’m open to looking at new videos.

  19. Gooner4Life


    That image from news of the world is clearly after the impact as shawcross and ramsey both hit the ground.

    While you have made a decent attempt to look at the details, you also need to consider what Shawcross is trying to do there.

    Let’s assume it was a 50-50 ball, as the shawcross apologists claim. What does a player do to win a 50-50 ball? I would say he will try and stretch to nick the ball, he would also try and cut his backlift so he saves time.

    What did shawcross do? He took an almighty swing with a huge backlift. Clearly his intention was not to win a 50-50 but to smash the ball or hit Ramsey so that Ramsey doesn’t go for the next 50-50. This is precisely what thug teams do. They try to bully the technical players. Every once in a while they break legs with this bullying.

    Shawcross could have won the 50-50 ball if he had stretched for it. It was not his intention. There can be no doubt what he was doing.

    And if you think he has a right to swing at the ball so hard, you have to wonder what he was aiming for. Swinging with the left foot, so close to the right touchline, he would have just kicked the ball far and wide for a throw in. A defender or a striker can have clear motive at going for the ball really hard, in this case I can’t see what he was trying to do.

    Bottomline, shawcross is an animal.

  20. FunGunner

    @ John

    Shawcross used excessive force. Excessive force (FIFA’s phrase, not mine) is outlawed because it is dangerous, either to the player or his opponent. It is always a sending-off offence, regardless of whether contact is made or anyone is injured. This is because going in too hard is much more likely to result in injury if the tackle is mistimed. Those are the rules of the game. So no, Shawcross was NOT entitled to kick the ball as hard as he can. If Shawcross had tried to nick the ball, as he should have done, he wouldn’t have come through so high or so hard. That is what makes the tackle a dangerous one – it is a leg-breaker. Note there is no mention of “intent” or “malice” in the relevant FIFA regulations. The only intent necessary is that he intended to do what he did – boot the ball out of play. He was reckless for diving in without considering his own, or Ramsey’s safety. He then connected with Ramsey’s shin, which in itself means his foot was too high. And if he had not thrown himself into it, he would not have broken Ramsey’s leg. In the Bolton game, Gallas stayed on his feet, and connected with Davies’ ankle, but not with his entire body weight. It is not luck that Davies did not suffer a serious injury and Ramsey did, it was in the nature of the respective tackles.
    Obviously Shawcross’s previous IS relevant to claims that “He is not that kind of player,” and that is the context in which it is cited.

  21. John

    I’ve had yet another look and finally been able to stop the video at the point of impact. It’s partly obscured by the screen caption. However, the ball is about a yard away.
    I’ve looked at Shawcross’s run up and the “huge stride” really doesn’t look more than a normal running gait. Where I’ve stopped it, his left foot is at or near the bottom of its arc and Ramsey’s leg appears to have sustained its damage.
    However, I take your point about a block being more effective and will finally agree that he had little hope of actually getting the ball.

    Okay, string him up!

  22. marcus

    Excellent post, Gooner4Life!

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