Credit: Musa Göncüo?lu

Football fans can be mightily sensitive given their reputation for boisterous irreverence.

Case in point: the recent debate here about the changing face of Stoke City, inspired by Pete Sixsmith’s whimsical article about wishing he could wake up as a supporter of that club and not the one he’s followed for half a century.

Some Stoke supporters thought it a good read and said so.

Others were quick to trash it, as exemplified by “cousindupree” at the Stoke fan site Oatcake: ”a rather baffling mixture of delusion, faint praise and lack of respect to certain players that served them well and of course the usual total misinformed view of the Ramsey saga…so all in all the usual crock of s*** from the wasteland that is the North East.”

For others, the main grievance had less to do with Sixer’s piece than my own introduction, in which I described the booing of Aaron Ramsey’s every touch in Stoke v Arsenal games as “neanderthal hounding”. That remains my view.

I may be a deluded product of the County Durham wasteland, but honestly fail to see where a defence of such behaviour could possibly begin (and nor do I have any time for a Sunderland supporter willing to chant about Adam Johnson being able to “sh– who he wants” – not something I ever heard, though that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen).

But I decided to extend an invitation to one Stoke supporter who believed me to be completely in the wrong in asserting that Ryan Shawcross’s career-threatening challenge on Ramsey was grossly reckless even if, as I have long accepted though others have not, that there was no malice. The YouTube clip is one of the more neutral ones available and was chosen for that reason.

Richard Wright
responded with these thoughts:

I don’t condone the booing of Aaron Ramsey by Stoke fans. It is unjustified, as is the booing of Ryan Shawcross by Arsenal fans.

To boo a player who left the field in tears after the Ramsey injury is in very bad taste.

The tackle was at worst mistimed, and was not made with any malicious intention. A foul was made by Bendtner, who pulled Shawcross back as he made the tackle which resulted in a slight delay, and subsequent injury.

The referee said he only decided to send the player off when he saw the injury and Tony Pullis stated they would not appeal out of respect for Aaron Ramsey and Arsenal football club. This respect has never been reciprocated by Arsenal and in my opinion Stoke did Shawcross no favours by not appealing the sending off.

Arsene Wengers comments were inflammatory, and didn’t help the situation,and a mutual dislike has now arisen, with both sides feeling aggrieved.

I would just like to add that the worst tackle made that day was by Cesc Fabregas on Danny Pugh, a tackle that was intended to hurt a fellow professional, and didn’t even receive a caution.

I do not agree with all of that by any means, but reproduce Richard’s words without further comment since I have already had my say.

And to Mark Eltringham, another Stoke supporter who has been furious with this site for five years despite our olive branches: I will review the comments that appeared after your earlier appearances here and delete any that self-evidently stretch beyond banter and robust difference of opinion to the personal abuse you detected.

The issue back then arose over discussion over the style of play adopted by Stoke under Tony Pulis.

Mark may have forgotten that I wrote this at the time: “… the controversy with Mark came after the match, when Sunderland and Stoke fans disagreed on the nature of Stoke City’s – how shall we put it? – combative style of play. Mark, in particular, took exception to the charge of thuggishness levelled at Mr Pulis’s team of misunderstood artists.

“We think he was over-sensitive, but it is true that the discussion did become uncharacteristically aggressive. And the fact remains that Mark’s original answers to our questions presented an excellent read and for that reason alone, though M Salut also admired his dogged defence of his team, he gets our Who are You? feature’s equivalent of the manager-of-the-month award.”

M Salut, drawn by Matt, colouring by Jake

M Salut, drawn by Matt, colouring by Jake

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Salut! Sunderland is written, illustrated and edited by - and principally for - supporters of Sunderland AFC. The site aims to be sufficiently literate and entertaining to appeal to people who do not follow SAFC but enjoy good football writing.

14 Responses to “Stoke’s Shawcross, Arsenal’s Ramsey and a debate that won’t go away” Subscribe

  1. SImonT March 7, 2016 at 5:28 pm #

    Some facts and untruths need to be stated about the Ramsey/Shawcross debate.

    The absolute myth is that Shawcross ‘left the field in tears!’ Absolute rubbish. He didn’t! He didn’t at any point go over to Ramsey to console him or see how he was – but protested the decision to give a free kick!

    Myth No.2 is that Ramsey refused Shawcross’s apology. The truth about that is while Ramsey was rushed to a Stoke hospital with his leg hanging off and only held on by his sock – Shawcross DID NOT go to the hospital to see how the man who he jeopardised his entire career was, but instead telephoned the hospital ONCE. Sorry Ryan, Aaron was a little busy to take your call, he was in abject pain with the fear of losing his leg and career!

    Wenger had witnessed Ramsey’s leg snapped off, just like he had witnessed Eduardo’s leg snapped off and just as he had witnessed Diaby’s leg snapped off – the latter two never being the same again and Diaby’s case, barely ever playing again. No other team has EVER had 3 players suffer clean breaks like this with the leg hanging off by the bone. So whatever Wenger’s comments were immediately after Stoke – they are JUSTIFIED – because it was no coincidence, opposition players were sent out to ‘rough Arsenal up’ and Tony Pulis is the master of the anti-football thuggery. So for Pulis after the game to be told Wenger was angry about the challenge and for Pulis to say “I don’t give a damn what Wenger has to say” is utterly repellent! He doesn’t give a damn what the manager of a club who your player has shattered the leg of one of his players has to say is exactly what Stoke City represent – a reprehensible set of morals and ethics.

    So for any Stoke fan to say its not right for Arsenal to boo Shawcross is insane and he will always be seen as a villain for a horror tackle. But for Stoke fans to boo Ramsey for having his leg shattered – or their repugnant reason that he didnt accept an apology (Whyshould he?!) makes every Stoke fan repugnant, ignorant [it doesn’t, Simon – it impacts only on those doing the booing – Ed]. Their singing this season of ‘He Walks With a Limp’ is all you need to know about this neanderthal bunch of lowlifes who as fans are hated by everyone – not just Arsenal.

    Pity really, because Mark Hughes has made them a great team, removing the negative football and making them attractive to watch.

    • Spuddy March 8, 2016 at 3:51 pm #

      He did leave the field in tears, was there and witnessed it and are you saying the TV lied? As for not consoling him, the only player who did was Glenn Whelan as the Arsenal players were more interested in chasing the ref. If you think that was a myth as well then watch the footage

  2. kj March 7, 2016 at 5:59 pm #

    Absolute garbage Shawcross left the field in floods of tears FACT he then played for England on the Monday in a terrible state of mind and was rubbish.

    He tried to apologise to Ramsey on several occasions but was told NO .Fact

    Not one Arsenal player went to Ramseys aid, too busy shouting for a sending off. Whelan consoled him.

    Shawcross was asked to play for Wales by Coleman if it was ok with Ramsey ,Why whose in charge there? Fact

    Ramsey to this day winds up the Stoke fans purposely that’s why they boo him.

    If your going to comments get your facts correct./

    • Jax March 7, 2016 at 6:54 pm #

      Ramsey winds up Stoke’s fans??????
      Hilarious! This is why Stoke fans are morons!

      PS ALL your facts are wrong!
      To say Shawcross was crap for England because of this is beyond delusion – and he didn’t play for England on the Monday – what are you talking about?!?! England didn’t have a game on Monday!!!! Ridiculous.

      He did not make repeated attempts to apologise – any DECENT person would have travelled to the hospital to see how the player was, not make the empty gesture of a phone call knowing there’s no one someone in an operation was going to answer.

    • DB10 March 7, 2016 at 6:58 pm #

      so…..what you’re saying is Shawcross played for England two days later – and then somehow Coleman (who wasn’t even manager of Wales at the time!) asked Shawcross to play for Wales…..?

      Wow! There is stupid – and then there is Stoke.

  3. vic March 7, 2016 at 7:52 pm #

    Ricardo Fuller, before the match, said Stoke were going to rough up Arsenal players. Pulis’ behaviour after the match was belligerent and inhumane. A player with a leg snapped in two and Pulis continuing to be aggressive.

    Fergie started roughing up Arsenal as Man U could not cope, Allardyce his mate copied with Bolton and then another mate Pulis.

    Shawcross got suckered in.

  4. david miller March 7, 2016 at 7:54 pm #

    I have the misfortune to work in Hanley, for those of you who dont know, Stoke-on Trent comprises 6 towns, Burslem, Longton, Fenton, etc. Thats how it got city status. Stoke itself is the size of Grindon Mill’s car park, and Bentilee makes Pennywell look like Monaco.

    I really wouldnt worry about this debate, I work with Stokees every day and they are very well balanced people, they have a chip on each shoulder.

  5. Adam March 7, 2016 at 10:16 pm #

    Come on everybody knows Ramsey dived. Get the hell over it!

  6. Ian March 7, 2016 at 10:31 pm #

    Rory Delap suffered a potentially career ending injury i a tackle in a match against Sunderland. Neither he, our club or our supporters blamed the player who tackled Rory. Football’s a contact sport and this stuff happens.
    Simon T’s comments about other Arsenal players getting injured in tackles are very revealing, he says “No other team has EVER had 3 players suffer clean breaks like this with the leg hanging off by the bone.”
    Really? No other team? There are horrific injuries suffered by players from all teams. But no other team insists, as Arsenal’s fans do that their team suffers more than others because, again I quote Simon, teams set out to “rough them up”.
    I do not condone the “walks with a limp” chant and frankly have given a right stare to anyone I saw stupid enough to join in with it. Its not funny, but since when were football supporters arbiters of good taste.
    There’s no point in discussing what happened five years ago with those who don’t want to listen. Clearly some people were so upset on the day, they will not get over it, unless Arsenal win the league in which case I predict it will suddenly seem less important.
    For Stoke fans, Shawcross is an icon. He’s hard working, essentially honest, a family man. Basically a decent bloke.
    Arsenal fans – we understand you didn’t like one tackle five years ago. We don’t understand why you still want to talk about it.
    No laws were broken. No-one was murdered.
    In fact the footage was seen by the then England manager, reviewed and then he decided to play Ryan Shawcross. Need I say more?

  7. salutsunderland March 8, 2016 at 8:11 am #

    There has been an overnight delay in moderating some of the comments. I had better thing to do last night than struggle with the anger and abuse this debate still generates. I have made small cuts to eliminate the worst examples and may make more. No complaints – I made my bed, by inviting a Stoke view, and must lie on it, but would ask people to rise above knee-jerk insults.

  8. malcolm March 8, 2016 at 9:03 am #

    All of this has deflected attention away from the main thrust of Pete’s article which was bemoaning the fact that our club has been badly run compared to one like Stoke City who have consolidated their position in the Premiership. That’s a shame.

    Another summer signing Adam Matthews, going out on loan to join Coates and Vergini shows how pathetic our transfer strategy has been in recent times. No wonder Dick was disillusioned.

    Having been asked to share his views on why he made the comparison between two teams who play in red and white stripes I’d be disillusioned too if I was Pete.

    • salutsunderland March 8, 2016 at 9:09 am #

      But there’s no need for Pete to feel disillusioned, Malcolm. His piece attracted thousands of readers for what it was, not for the passing reference in my introduction to Shawcross/Ramsey, of which there was no mention in the headline (the headline being what drives traffic).

      Even the hostile comment at the Stoke fan site Oatcake dealt to a large degree with his premise, though it is true that it is difficult to compare and contrast the Stoke of today with the Stoke of just a few years ago without, at some stage, considering those two players and the legacy of the incident.

  9. malcolm March 8, 2016 at 9:19 am #

    You of course are entitled to your views M Salut and to air them and defend them robustly.

    Personally, I feel we should be more concerned with the way our club is being run and should be focussing our energy on that. Events up the road are taking the heat off the Board at SAFC and Sam Allardyce would appear to be imposing his views on transfer policy.

    But for all the money that Ellis Short has put into the club we are still in grave danger of going down when we should be a comfortable mid-table club at least.

    I have made my feelings on the way things have gone since he took over clear. We have a Chairman and Chief Executive who appear to know very little about football and a lot about how to attract negative publicity concerning off the field activities.

    I’d rather have Ellis Short than Mike Ashley but both I fear put non-footballing concerns at the top of their respective agenda.

  10. Spuddy March 8, 2016 at 3:46 pm #

    Firstly I wouldn’t pay attention to The Oatcake. Is basically a joke amongst decent Stoke fans, the same few spouting the same rubbish day in day out and you could count on one hand their combined IQ. The last meeting v Arsenal, one individual had obviously trawled the net to find an Arsenal fan remembering the incident before a multi page thread re how Arsenal won’t let the incident die, sums them up. Stoke fans in general are no saints but Arsenal are quick to condemn the chanting yet brush under the carpet their sick anti jew songs from the weekend or the abuse they gave Cole and Adebayor .

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