Wenger hits back as disgraceful Stoke fans hit new low with Ramsey chant

Ramsey Stoke

Stoke fans taunted Ramsey continually during last night’s match


There is a warm-hearted community character to football. The minute’s silence for a recently deceased favourite or the alternative – the energetic applause. Both work and both represent a coming together of fans in numbers to display affection and remembrance and solidarity. But football is capable of the opposite and at Stoke we saw and heard the nasty side of football. It was not just jeering, it was inhuman and a reversal of everything football stands for. We may not always like our opponents but we respect them and on occasions applaud them. Remember the Portsmouth fans clapping off Thierry Henry when he was subbed after a great FA Cup performance at Fratton Park or the respect AFC earned from the Liverpool fans when winning the title in 1989. But Stoke and their club and their city and all people associated with the Club plummeted to a new low. As Wenger says in today’s Sun “when people get together sometimes they forget their individual responsibility”. Those Stoke fans who disapproved of the sick chant have to stand up. They have to find a vehicle, an outlet to distance themselves from the Stoke Chanters. They can go on 606 or write into fanzines or use any number of the blogs but do it and end this sorry chapter that soils the reputation of football.

Ramsey abused constantly

Ramsey abused constantly

At the same time let me question Wenger’s words after the game when he said that the match was “an old fashioned Stoke battle as they made the game very physical”. Did they? Were Stoke dishing it out as of old? There was not one yellow card and from a referee who scored a 9 from Steven Howard. Yes there was tension and commitment and tackles but it was far from being “nasty” as we understand the term. There was no Chopper Harris, no Peter Storey, no Cyril Knowles so why does Wenger use words which are an echo of the past. No one knows better the importance of words and Wenger gets them right more than most and that is why I am critical of him this morning. It is true that Stoke played balls into our back four – not from their own back four but chips from their midfield and why not – after the Benteke header that led to the Allan goal Stoke were spot on in testing our defence. But they played down the wings as well and through the middle. As Hughes says “We approached it in the right manner, got the ball down, and passed and moved and mixed things up” I agree.

One last point about Stoke and Shawcross – Ferguson was the real villain. He went public and lauded Shawcross for a quality tackle. Ferguson had his own agenda at the time – he was in a battle with Wenger and lined up with Allardyce and others who condemned the moans of Wenger. It was an horrific tackle and today it would be a straight red. That is how wrong Ferguson was to support it and how right Wenger was to condemn it.


An incredible selection of authentic Arsenal shirts at amazing prices!

An incredible selection of authentic Arsenal shirts at amazing prices!

OK we have to move on – we do not want Wenger’s comments to stir up further resentment against Stoke especially when Hughes deserves credit for dispensing with the Pulis approach and playing football. The best thing is that there is a public handshake of reconciliation between Shawcross and Ramsey at the start of their next match at AFC. Clear and deliberate. Do that it will stop the Stoke fans from stirring the resentment and it will stop the Arsenal fans from baiting Shawcross. We all have to move on.

Jeff and Prof

The Jeff and Le Prof

Wenger is nursing Reine-Adeleide into the squad and into the team. He won’t rush it. The chance will come and we will be able to see if he is a real star in the making. Sometimes if they are good enough they are old enough. I have seen only a little of him but it was exciting. However a flowering talent faces so many challenges. I am saying the obvious – the pace is quicker, the tackles are heavier, the gamesmanship of a different dimension. Everyone will try to blow the new boy off course and Wenger will be watching to see how he copes – whether has inner mental strength or whether he will buckle as opponents go at him.

A young Charlie George

A young Charlie George

Charlie George had it the first time he played and I remember when, early in his career we were down to ten men against Leeds at Highbury (Eddie Kelly was sent off for landing a punch on a Leeds player – Giles maybe?) and Charlie took on Bremner and beat him. You knew Charlie was going to make it. He had the ability and the confidence and the impudence to settle in without a long apprenticeship. Thereafter things went wrong. He was headstrong – there was a clash of generations with Bertie Mee and he slipped away with just one cap for England. It is so good to see him at the Emirates. His goal at Wembley is remembered by all but his couple at Maine Road in the 5th Round of the FA Cup were top drawer. And the explosive half volley at home to Newcastle after fisticuffs with Keith Dyson. Great moments. Thank you Charlie

I have asked the question recently – how good would England be without Cook, Root, Stokes and Broad? How good can Arsenal be without Wilshere, Cazorla, Sanchez and Coquelin? Answers on a post card to Horace Batchelor.

My day starts with an early morning chat with Steve who has a newspaper stall at Stanmore Tube Station. 6.30 am and we are exchanging views about the weekend. He has read most of the papers and has an ear for Talk Sport. Fans of other clubs come along for their paper – he knows them all and has a friendly dig at all of them. He creates a great atmosphere and football does as well. Sets us all up for the day. This morning we both felt good. Three clean sheets in succession. Looking solid. Still at the top and with star players to return and maybe Elneny to have a chance as well. Glass is half full not half empty. Thanks Steve.


Iwobi comes on for Walcott against Stoke

I like the look of Iwobi – he is strong, keeps the ball close and makes surging runs. You never know where a new addition is going to settle but these first few minutes are so important to settle the nerves and allow you to realise that you have earned the right to play. By the same token Theo looked very unhappy when he was subbed. Since the City goal he has not shined and his confidence may be falling away. Also there was no Ozil and no Sanchez to set him up. The Ox is another one who is trying his best without quite hitting it right. He gets more of the ball in midfield but the head drops quite quickly. He needs more arrogance in his play though who am I to say that?. All I do is watch the game. But it is a great game.

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19 Responses to Wenger hits back as disgraceful Stoke fans hit new low with Ramsey chant

  1. Victor Thompson January 18, 2016 at 12:25 pm #

    Good morning Graham,

    Such a lot to enjoy about this article. I envy you your memory which enables you to recall long past incidents of our favourite players. I have to say that I read your comparison between Arteta and Sammels but unfortunately, I did not understand that one.

    I agree wholeheartedly with your well scripted condemnation of the Stoke neanderthals ( not fans ) who only defamed their club and their manager. I agree with you regarding the difference Sparky has made to the football Stoke play.

    The infamous tackle which Shawcross committed on Ramsey, nearly ended his career and cost him a full season out of the game just at a time when he was the best performing mid-fielder in Europe. At any other venue, a person inflicting that assault ( it could not be dignified by calling it a tackle ) would have been charged with GBH. I would like to think that if any of our players did that, he would not have had the support of our fans afterwards and I am absolutely certain that Arsene would never have supported him, never mind a player from another club. I have already said in a previous comment that Alex ferguson had no redeeming features to qualify him as a person to like. The difference between a corner boy and a gentleman like Arsene may well be the reason why Ferguson attacked him so often.

    In these circumstances, I cannot agree that Aaron should publicly shake hands with Shawcross. He conducted himself admirably in the face of the abuse and in the end the abusers were the losers. If Shawcross is genuinely contrite about his actions. then he should make it public that the abusers are not doing it on his behalf. I hope he is man enough to do that. In the eyes of decent people, their memory of Shawcross will be forever tarnished by the injury he inflicted on a fellow professional, a young man at the height of his game.

  2. craig January 18, 2016 at 12:39 pm #

    I’m not sure condeming everone assocaited with the city of stoke is entirley fair. As a Stoke fan, I disagree with the chants aimed at Ramsey, I think they took it a little too far. However, Arsenal fans need to understand that there are 2 sides to this and each set of fans will always back their own team. The boos for Ramsey are not in response to him getting his leg broken (as most Arsenal forums seem to suggest), it is the refusal of Ramsey and Wenger to accept Shawcross’s appology and the comments Wenger decided to make after the game which stick in the throat. Yes it was a horific injury but it wasn’t a horific tackle – the two things aren’t the same. It is only Arsenal fans who think there was any intent in the challenge. I don’t know if you were there on the day but Ramsey rightly got a standing ovation as he was carried off the pitch and ironically it was only Glenn Whelan who seemed to have any concern for Ramseys welfare on the pitch.

    I think the rivalry between Stoke and Arsenal is healthy on the whole and it really is just banter, but I think both sets of fans need to move on from the Shawcross/Ramsey incident.

    I also agree with your assessment of the physicality of the game. I personally was staggered by Wenger’s comments and the reaction on other Asenal forums as there wasn’t a bad tackle in the game.

    • Dave Seager January 18, 2016 at 12:45 pm #

      It was a good English combative game although I don;t agree with the assessment entirely as the amount of times Peters went through the back of Campbell was staggering but only him.

      I don’t writ the blogs and am just the editor but I am very impressed with Hughes’s Stoke although I am not sure Shawcross did apologise at the time or when Ramsey was in hospital. Who knows

  3. StokeFan January 18, 2016 at 1:28 pm #

    As a Stoke fan, I’m not here for an argument, but I will give a little bit of a response.

    It would be great if this Ramsey Shawcross thing was brought to an end. I don’t like the booing Ramsey gets, I think it’s unnecessary. At the same time, I get equally annoyed by the media coverage, or lack thereof, regarding Arsenal fans and their abuse of Shawcross. It’s not just booing Ryan as he gets the ball. For years, Arsenal fans have chanted “Ryan Shawcross, We wish you were dead” to the tune of Sloop John B. That is equally unacceptable. They wish a father, a husband, a son, dead, because of an honest error of judgement?

    The problem is, Ryan receives stick then Stoke fans reply. Ramsey receives stick and then Arsenal fans reply. It’s a perpetual state of abuse directed at each other. The difference is, Arsenal have a huge media footprint, and writing how ‘awful’ Stoke fans are is excellent clickbait for the Arsenal fanbase.

    I would love to see Ryan and Aaron shake hands and move on. To the moron Victor above, suggesting that Ramsey acted admirably is perhaps over egging the pudding only slightly. He did, publicly, refuse to accept Shawcross’ apology which I’m not sure is an admirable quality. It is partly because of that, this shit has festered and turned into full blown hatred.

    As for expecting Ryan to come out and ‘condemn’ all those chanting about Ramsey, surely the opposite has to be true as well? Chanting about a daddy of two and a family man being dead is no way to behave at a football match. So I’m sorry, but people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

    Cheers, and good luck.

    • Batmandela January 18, 2016 at 2:51 pm #

      You’re dead right. There’s plenty of blame to go all round. It’s a cognitive dissonance that most footie fans have: we only see/hear what we want to see/hear. The only people who could put an end to it are Ryan and Aaron. And – as you say – there was no intention of malice in the original tackle – however the nature of your football under Pulis did you no favours – the condemnation was born just as much out of the fact that it was an accident waiting to happen when playing that team in those days at Britannia. Full-contact. No holds barred. At times, perhaps, reckless…

      Thanks for the comment.

      • StokeFan January 18, 2016 at 3:28 pm #

        Hard to disagree with that. The football under Pulis was tough, but it was all we could really play with the resources we had. You have to understand, newly promoted clubs usually go down if they try and match teams like yourself toe-to-toe. We’re a different breed now. We play better football.

        Yesterday was the softest Stoke vs Arsenal game since our promotion. That isn’t a bad thing.

        • Batmandela January 19, 2016 at 7:17 am #

          The transformation of Stoke is possibly the story of a highly entertaining and unpredictable season.

          I’m not surprised really, though – because I think Mark Hughes was responsible for Man City’s transformation too. He doesn’t get enough credit for that.

          I think it was 2009/10 – City under him were playing a really exciting, pulsating style. Close triangles. Thrilling.

          Thanks for the comments.

          • StokeFan January 20, 2016 at 10:33 am #

            Missed this comment. Hughes was unlucky at Man City, but their loss (despite their success) is our gain. I’ve spotted a few in the media say maybe Hughes couldn’t make it at a big club, but he was never given a fair chance. He took over before the Sheikh’s turned up and was on borrowed time when they did. I still remember the Manchester Derby that they were robbed in (I think Owen scored the winner), there was only one team playing good football that day and there was only one team who really deserved to win, and it wasn’t the team in red. That’s the Ferguson effect I guess.

  4. Stone Road Stokie January 18, 2016 at 1:44 pm #

    Good balanced view of the issues raised in the game.

    However, what you did forget to mention was the constant abuse the Arsenal fans gave to Shawcross during the warmup as he left the pitch and at many different times during the game. This set the tone straight away. If this had not had happened I’m sure the Ramsey chant would never have taken place.

    I was at the match when the “Ramsey” tackle took place. I was on the front row on the half way line directly by the incident. Both Ramsey and Shawcross went into this tackle full blooded and at full speed. Neither of them backed off. There was not intent by Shawcross. Another day, if Shawcross had his leg planted it could have been him with the serous injury.

    You must understand that Shawcross is a very decent young man, he is a quiet family man and he will do anything to keep himself low profile and under the radar. I don’t know him personally but am told by people who do, that this incident affected his metal well being for a long period of time. The abuse that he receives from the Arsenal fans and the constant re hashing of this story by the press does not help to heal the wounds for both of the players.

    Arsenal fans seem to have a problem with understanding the mentality of Stokies, we are passionate we love our football. The supporters are local and have followed the club through thick and thin. The club has a working class background, the season ticket prices still allow the normal working man to go to the game every week. It is an outlet for our frustrations as after all as your fans always remind us, “Stoke is a shit hole”. I’m always confused by this as I’m sitting in my four bedroomed house with garage, two parking spaces, a south facing conservatory with views over two miles of open countryside including a stream, cows, geese sheep and in the summer even some hay bails. I’ve worked in North London quite frequently and I’ve got to say it looks like a bit of a slum to me. But I suppose everyone’s taste is different.

    • Batmandela January 18, 2016 at 2:46 pm #

      Great comment. Point(s) well-taken. Thanks.

  5. kev January 18, 2016 at 2:15 pm #

    you arsenal fans seem to forget the vile chanting you do when playing spurs……..making hissing noises in reference to gas chambers,singing about jews being murdered in ww2……..not very clever that is,or singing about wishing adebayor was killed when the togo team had their bus shot at………so think on when you critizise stoke fans about singing about ramsey………all players get stick,some of their own making,so its upto aaron ramsey or ryan shawcross to try and put an end to it all now

    • Batmandela January 18, 2016 at 2:45 pm #

      Fair comment, despite the fact that it is a logical fallacy. Both sets of fans are to be equally condemned – the one wrong doesn’t justify the other. This was an article about a recent event – not a general comment on all the faults of football fans globally. Thanks for the comment.

  6. kev January 18, 2016 at 4:17 pm #

    No problem and thanks for the time to reply…was just merely pointing out that all clubs have an idiot element,look at man utd..give it out but soon as you mention munich its a different story…..good luck for the rest of your season and hopefully next season stoke v arsenal can be played in the right manner

    • Batmandela January 19, 2016 at 7:14 am #

      Yes. Absolutely. A wayward fringe needs a good trim. 🙂

  7. Victor Thompson January 18, 2016 at 4:36 pm #

    Contrary to what has been said above/ I do not condone any of the alleged chants referred to above by “Kev” or “Stoke Fan” but I do have clear recollection of the Shawcross tackle. He came in from the side and caught Ramsey on the side of his standing leg. It was inevitable that serious damage would occur. He may have misjudged the challenge but either way it was reckless and typical of the Stoke physicality of that era.

    I give credit to the fact that they play decent football now and their reputation for being hard to play against is based on an entirely different proposition than Pulis teams provided.

    I stand by my statement that Aaron behaved admirably in response to the booing. Do Kev and Co. suggest
    anything else? There is no point in trying to disguise the intent. To an Arsenal fan whatever the reason suggested for it, the horror of the Shawcross tackle will forever colour Arsenal fans perception of Stoke. I have no doubt that Pulis instilled the aggression in their play. That is something your club will have to live with.

    You Stoke supporters are correct that last nights game was not dirty but that only makes it all the more reprehensible for the booing. Look at the photographs in todays papers and look at the hatred in the faces of some of the chanters. Ramsey was the victim not the perpetrator of the originating incident.

  8. craig January 18, 2016 at 4:46 pm #

    I’m curious as to why Arsenal fans see the Shawcross challenge as so much worse than the Eduardo leg break by a Birmingham player (can’t quite remember who it was now). That was a far worse tackle but as far as I am aware it didn’t create the same reaction as the Shawcross challenge. Is all this just a way of Arsenal trying to justify their poor record at Stoke? Just a thought. As a previous post says, it would be great if Ramsey and Shawcross could publically put this to bed. I’m not sure it will ever happen and so the saga will probably continue until both players are sold to other clubs.

  9. John Hurley January 18, 2016 at 10:00 pm #

    First Bendtner had pulled Ryan Shawcross back slowing him down and photo evidence proved that Ramsey had already broken his leg before the challenge/clearance was made.
    Arsenal supporters refuse to see the whole picture of this incident , how none of their players went immediately to see how their injured player was ( only Whelan of Stoke did ) is beyond belief ?
    In fact the worst foul in that game was by Fabregas on Danny Pugh near the end !
    For a team who have had the likes of Peter Storey and Mr. Red Card himself Patrick Viera ! Oh and Martin Keown Emanuel Petit and the 100 + red cards under the fair play man himself Arsene (I didn’t see that ) Wenger !!
    I suspect he conveniently doesn’t remember all off that though. The London press and many deluded fans may believe in all things Wenger but a look at his history tells another story altogether.

    • Batmandela January 19, 2016 at 7:20 am #

      I’d be interested to see the photographic evidence you refer to. Do you have a link?

      Thanks for the comment.

      Just to reiterate – a “he said, she said” response to an article like this is fruitless. We’ll be Israel and Palestine – going back forever and never moving forward.

      Write an article about Wenger and his cohort of demolition men and I’ll come and comment on that! 😉

    • StokeFan January 20, 2016 at 11:34 am #

      John, as a Stoke fan, I cringe when people try and say Ramsey’s leg was already broken. Look up ‘perspective distortion’, Wikipedia will do. Photographs can be very misleading, especially when taken at certain angles. Long zoom wide angle photographs where the image becomes very ‘flat’ can result in an object seemingly having an equal or greater distance to another, where in reality, they don’t. It’s just a trick of the light (and lens perhaps).

      I’ve seen the photo that you talk about, and it does look as if Ramsey’s leg is already broken (Ramsey’s broken leg ‘appears’ to be further away than Ryan). Watch it from ANY other angle, and you’ll quite clearly see that it isn’t already broken and unfortunately, it is our Ryan who causes the damage. Ryan is clearly ‘post-challenge’ in the photograph that you speak of, hence the grimace in his face and the fact the ball is behind Ryan, is a clear indicator that the photo is deceptive. Freeze frame any YouTube video, and I’m sure you’ll see that the snap does occur after the challenge.

      Rather than trying to defend him by making up a whole load of nonsense, it makes more sense to look at genuine mitigating factors. Firstly, Ryan was still a very young inexperienced defender when he made the tackle. People forget that, yes, Ramsey was 19, but Ryan had only just turned 22 himself. He was a young, inexperienced defender (only 2 seasons of regular football under his belt) playing top league football against one of the best teams in the league. It was a clumsy inexperienced tackle from a player who was still learning his trade and must come as no surprise that as a long time ST holder, I can say without a shadow of a doubt that Ryan has not put in a similar challenge since. He misjudged it and he got it horribly wrong.

      Secondly, the only other mitigating factor for me, is that in the photo immediately prior to the tackle, Ramsey’s studs are very clearly planted deep within the turf. I genuinely believe that on another day, those studs aren’t planted as deep and Ryan sends him 7 foot in the air and Ramsey wakes up with a bit of a bruise and jogs down the local 7/11 to buy some 50p ice. Unfortunately, it was the combination of these factors, Ramsey’s studs planted, Ryan coming through like an absolute train and the fact Ramsey’s leg simply took the entire force of Shawcross coming through him.

      The Bendtner tug is insignificant imo. You can see that Ryan does appear to slow as he breaks away from the pull, but is only slightly. There are fine margins in football and you can argue forever on whether Shawcross maybe wins the ball without that tug, but the reality is, Ryan still made the challenge when he probably had enough time to pull out.

      Regarding the Fabregas tackle on Pugh, it was a bad tackle, a red card tackle? Probably. In fact, it was very similar to the Gary O’Neill tackle recently on Ibrahim Afellay, but bringing this up is a bit like muddying the water. Fabregas tackle on Pugh has no real bearing on the Shawcross tackle on Ramsey, so it’s a non starter.


      Leg was already broken: http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2010/03/02/article-1254454-087F71F3000005DC-222_468x327.jpg

      No it wasn’t (studs are planted though): https://runningphysio.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/wpid-photo-1-may-2012-17591.jpg

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