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Posted by James Whittaker on 05/01/2012

In a game that saw little action for either goalie, it was the hilarious Wenger dance that livened up the crowds. Sadly the ever predictable Fleet Street contingent chose to concentrate on the boos that Ramsey received with lazy one liners on Twitter bereft of any context whatsoever that only sought to incite ignorant public outrage.

Doing the Wenger... ©Action Images

Was Ramsey booed? Yes he was (along with every other Arsenal player) Why was he booed? Because he refused to accept Shawcross' apology, he said the player had gone out to leave his mark, he stood by and watched Ryan's name dragged through the mud knowing a simple acknowledgement would put it bed, that's why he was booed. It's important to point out that he wasn't booed from the start, it was only after the anti Shawcross chants, followed by Ramsey alledgedly putting his thumb up to the crowd in encouragement that they started - did any of the articles mention that? Of course not.

Wenger was quick to condemn the Stoke fans as 'hateful', seemingly oblivious that our behaviour is a product of his own. I find it difficult to believe that 'The Professor' is so stupid he can't see that the treatment he and his team get every time we play them is as a result of his words and actions. He has criticised the club from the first time he lost to us and hasn't shut up since, much like he expects teams to roll over quietly when his side visits, he expects much the same from the crowd. This isn't the Emirates though, we have a voice, and we use it, especially when we're under attack.

It's a shame that he isn't so quick to condemn the anti Shawcross chants, or those directed at Adebayor - 'It should have been you' in response to the tragic Togo shootings, or the homophobic chants towards Ashley Cole - I could go on, but no doubt his selective hearing would kick in.

The responses from the press really disappointed me, we had people on Twitter, well respected people (or they used to be) making idiotic comments who weren't even there, who know the facts of the incident and indeed its aftermath, stirring up negative emotion, the exact thing they were seeking to condemn, the irony was clearly lost on them. One reporter even brought Muamba's heart condition into it to up the ante….there are no words.

So it goes on and on then, and whilst those who should know better peddle their agendas it shows no sign of abating and whether they are deliberately inciteful or simply ignorant, neither are an excuse to wring every last paper sale from an incident that I'm sure both players would like to forget.

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Posted by Paul on 05/01/2012

Stoke are scum end of!

JW - Thank you for your valuable insight Paul, I appreciate the effort and time that must have taken.

Posted by Gerry on 05/01/2012

Wow...Imagine that James Whittaker...Aaron Ramsey had to audacity to have his leg broken by Shawcross on Britania injury that COULD have ended his career as a fotballer.
Do you really blame him that "SHAMEFUL" thumb up sign after being verbally abused by those knuckle-draggin' cretins calling themselves Stoke supporters?!


JW - Gerry, we have played you and Ramsey a couple of times at least since the incident, did you ever hear any booing in those games for him? No, you didn't, it was entirely down to your chants at Shawcross - CHANTS not boos, how are those justified?

Posted by Carl on 05/01/2012

The most annoying thing about this is that it will continue to happen for many more seasons. Its turning into a situation of defamation

JW - It was right from the start Carl and we tried our best to do so but the war of words was kept alive by Wenger

Posted by Dan on 05/01/2012

Oh so its all arsenals fault then and stoke is the best city, football club and fans ever I suppose. Shawcross for England.............NOT

JW - we have played you and Ramsey a couple of times at least since the incident, did you ever hear any booing in those games for him? No, you didn't, it was entirely down to your chants at Shawcross. I never claimed we were the best fans (though we're proven to be the loudest) As for Shawcross and England, absolutely, he was MOTM on Saturday and has had a great season.

Posted by Chris Knowles on 05/01/2012

Agree with you John, I didn't see the Ramsey thumbs up gesture and that just demonstrates how he brought the boos on himself. It's a shame that it all started after the type of tackle we should want to see in football.

JW - I only found this comment by accident Chris as it got junked with the link.. Good points.

Posted by Gooner on 05/01/2012

One thing would stop all this. Just stop booing a kid who had his leg broken. It's quite simple. If he chooses to not accept your oaf of a captains apology that is his decision. And his prerogative having seen his career threatened.

Oh and have you seen the letters that RS sent to AR ? no. Were you listening to the supposed phone calls? No.

Stop booing the kid, and this will stop its quite simple.

JW - we have played you and Ramsey a couple of times at least since the incident, did you ever hear any booing in those games for him? No, you didn't, it was entirely down to your chants at Shawcross. So stop abusing him then? Simple?

Posted by Guy on 05/01/2012

I wonder how quickly you would accept an apology after having your leg broken in half by a reckless challenge that could have ended your career as a 19 year old?

JW - Most footballers accept that as a contact sports accidents happen. Stuart Holden accepted Jonny Evans' apology for a much worse tackle and Ben Arfa also did with de Jong's. In fact our very own manager and player exonerated Elliot's double leg break of Delap on his home debut as 'one of those things'

Posted by Ben on 05/01/2012

Hi James,

As an Arsenal supporter it was interesting to hear your take on the Ramsey "incident". I will take your word on the timing of the boos and Ramsey's role in encouraging anti-Shawcross taunts.

However, I think you may be picking your own argument to pieces when you bring up Cole and Adebayor. In both cases Wenger has explicitly appealed to fans to lay off the chanting. Wenger's stance is fairly consistent – at least on this issue!

I also think that Wenger has been pretty restrained in his comments about Stoke over the last 12 months or so. He was understandably shrill immediately after Ramsey's broken leg but has made a conscious effort to avoid stirring the pot since then.

Stoke fans can rightfully claim that they were protecting one of their own. The question is, how good a reason is that? The reaction from around the country suggests probably not good enough.

PS I am running out of characters, but if you leave a reply I will try to get back to you.

Cheers, Ben

JW - Thanks firstly for sensible comment Ben. I hope Wenger did do that, but if he did it would make his recent comments all the more hypocritical? In terms of Wenger's restraint, I agree, I think it was before last season's game at your place,. It was obvious and very deliberate, especially as two of your players were injured that game.

In fact, in the run up to that game, the Mirror thought it was a good idea to give an anti Shawcross group column inches at a time your manager was trying to move on. Sadly your fans won't forget and as long as Shawcross is booed then rightly or wrongly, so will Ramsey...

Posted by Bill Minshall on 05/01/2012


Posted by Adam on 05/01/2012

You mention agendas? This is one of the most stupid and I'll conceived pieces of nonsense I have ever read. Why should Ramsay accept the apologies of a thug? Once again the Neanderthals of Stoke rear their ugly, sick views. Stop digging, we already know how you feel.

JW - Why is he a thug? Because he came out of a 50/50 unscathed? Great reasoning...

Posted by jolly on 05/01/2012

Buddy, I know you are searching for something to ease the criticism, but it is truly delusional to act like Stoke are the victim here. There is a reason every pundit and neutral sees Stoke fans with contempt. Your club desperately needs a new image, and until your fans start acting with some class and maturity, Stoke will forever be regarded as a trash club.

JW - Every pundit and neutral views our fans with contempt? What a ridiculous and foundless comment. Most pundits love the atmosphere that is generated, I realise this may be a foreign concept attending the Emirates (assuming you attend - which seeing as you're criticising from the USA is unlikely) I'd say Lineker thought we were very amusing on MOTD joining in ridiculing Wenger.

Posted by Merle on 05/01/2012

Interesting article here. First I will say I am a City fan (so I can be termed as a neutral). Secondly, why would you not accept an apology? Basically Shawcross is saying, "Look, I screwed up, sorry" and Ramsey is saying "I dont care". What kind of professional athlete does that?? Even our 2 headaches aka Tevez and Balotelli keep screwing up but act professional and are forgiven. The problem is no longer with Shawcross. He has done all he could to make the problem right (really, what does Ramsey and Arsenal fans want anyway??). The problem is with Ramsey and if he is going to go around encouraging his fans to degrade Ryan then at the least Stoke fans should be justified booing him. De Jong made a very stupid challenge on Xavi Alonso in the WC10 but should that keep him from playing? Of course not. No matter what he does from here on out his reputation will follow him even though he is a very good (and mostly clean) defender. Same goes for Shawcross. Get over it Arsenal!!

Posted by Slimbig on 05/01/2012

As an Arsenal fan, I'm growing weary of this topic.

Yes Shawcross broke Ramsey's leg. Yes it was a bad challenge. Calling it anything else is clearly a biased view, which is expected since you are a Stoke fan, and fair play to you for standing behind your players.

Whatever Ramsey's actions, the boy does not deserve to be booed. The boy nearly had his livelyhood taken away and worse yet, nearly the use of his leg. He can be forgiven for being bitter about the situation.

Ridiculing Wenger was funny (even I had a giggle at it), but ultimately immature.

Your condoning the actions of Shawcross and the fans, shows that this is a biased and bigoted blog. But as I said, Stoke fan, Stoke blog, Stoke opinions.

Posted by Denison92 on 05/01/2012

The 2009-10 was my first season following Stoke so please excuse me in advance. To this day, I have yet to hear a reasonable explanation as to why Shawcross was given a red card for that incident. Perhaps I am just an ignorant American that does not understand football, but to me Ramsey was just as reckless towards Shawcross on that play.

JW - You're not wrong to ask the question, I think the challenge itself was barely a booking but it's the outcome that was judged.

Posted by Guy on 05/01/2012

Arsenal fans. Let it go and do you talking on the pitch. You've played 5 games at the Britannia in the last four seasons and you have won one, lost three, drawn one. I understand that your Barcelonaesque football deserved 5 wins and if it wasn't for bad referring, Stoke's horrible football style, and our nasty fans you would have won every game. The fact you didn't has nothing to do with the fact that your team may not be as good as you think it is. Compare Man U and Chelsea's record against Stoke at the Britannia.

Posted by Noel on 05/01/2012

i'm an arsenal fan, and i have to say i'm verytired of this whole booing thing. first of all, it's 2 years ago, if not more.

while i think it was totally within one's right to refuse to accept an apology (esp given the seriousness of the damage did or could potentially inflict), it could just be because of the heat of the moment. ramsey might have forgiven shawcross in the months passed. they might have somehow made up privately, we don't know. if they have, they don't have to tell the whole world, do they?

with shawcross, judging from his reaction upon the red card (crying as he left the pitch), i have reasons to believe it was an accidental (albeit reckless) tackle, one he would like to have taken back.

that said, i don't see the need to keep booing the opposing players everytime they meet. they might never be the best of friends as i don't think hatem ben arfa and de jong will be but they don't have to be.

it's an old story and let's move on shall we?

Posted by Noel on 05/01/2012

for the taunts directed at wenger the brittania stadium, i found it quite funny as an arsenal fan myself. but to call Arsene Wenger stupid, as good as a coach tony pulis is, can you honestly say, you won't wish to have a manager like Arsene Wenger manage your side, a manager that play with more flair, and a manager that time and time again nurture young players to become superstars?

JW - Interesting last line, how many youngsters has he done that with? There are a hell of a lot that have fallen by the wayside?

Posted by Raza on 05/01/2012

I have nothing against Stoke (Shawcross and all); in fact, I rather appreciate/admire their business-like approach to overachieving. However, for someone who's criticizing others for being ignorant, you're not doing a great job either. How can you blame a player for not accepting an apology after getting his leg broken? He would be quite justified in feeling bitter about it. Your argument about returning Ramsey boos for Shawcross chants is just lame; there is no comparison. Shawcross lost nothing in the process. Your manager was hardly even apologetic about it back then even; it's as if Stoke are the ones feeling victimized for being criticized.

Supporting your side through thick and then is fine, and understandable, but be man enough to accept fault too where it lies. Otherwise its like City fans defending Mad Mario for being insane/violent and Utd fans defending Young for his dives.

Posted by kyle on 05/01/2012

i agree that the stoke chant was hilarious, clever and i also agree that ramsey should let it go now. ryan shawcross is a up and coming great defender however he makes reckless stupid challenges that are unacceptable. not just against arsenal players but against every1. i appreciate the defesnive coordination and workrate it takes to work in the pulis system and i understand why they play that way against arsenal but why all the time? why buy jones and crouch to chase and pressure central defenders all game long and just score off set pieces. is that fun 2 watch for u guys? everton, swansea, norwich, wigan, all clubs with a similar financial level of stoke (or poorer) but instead of opting towards set pieces and shirt tugging in the box they choose to atleast TRY to score and play positively. Just dont understand why they play that way against every team not just arsenal.

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James Whittaker James Whittaker is a football writer and ardent Stoke fan. Having moved to Leeds as a youngster his father refused to take him to his local Championship winning side and instead insisted he chose the Third Division team of his forefathers, Stoke City. Since then there has been no looking back and having been brought up on a diet of Dave Rowson, Kyle Lightbourne and John Gayle, is now embracing the dizzy heights of the top flight for the first time in his life. Fiercely loyal, though always welcoming sensible chat and debate, you can find him on Twitter @ESPN_Stoke

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