Why Stoke type thuggery is not allowed in Spain and Italy

J’accuse! by Walter Broeckx

The EPL is maybe the best league in the World for now.

The FA and the PL organization can be proud of that. The best footballers of the world come to England to play games at maybe the highest level in the world. Week in week out you can see teams, like Arsenal, playing breathtaking football and giving shows that all over the world attracts large audiences.

TV money comes in from all over the world. The teams profit from that money to attract the best players. You could say that your bread is baked for a long time.

BUT, it won’t last my dear friends of the FA and the EPL. No, it will stop in a few years time. And the reason is that no one wants to see what we saw again yesterday. Another violent attack, this time on a  19 year old young player who was considered one of the greatest talents of the EPL and Welsh football for the next 10 years.

People all over the world hate the sight of such incidents. People who like watching the EPL all over the world like to see it because of the good football that is played by the better teams. And when we see such an incident we go to the bathroom to throw up our meal and when we come back we switch channels and go to the Spanish La Liga or even the boring Italian league. You know why ?

Because in those leagues you have refs that act like refs. You have refs who punish thugs who come on the field with the purpose to kick other players off the field. I think it was at the beginning of the previous season when coaches from teams that had to play Barcelona instructed their players to get stuck in with Messi and kick him around as ‘he didn’t like it’.

And the Spanish Liga told their refs to act and to look at it and punish those players who tried to kick the best players off the field. And with success. Messi felt protected and could show his skills to the world much to the delight of the audiences all over the world.  If I can I always look at the games he plays in just because he is such a great player.

And what does the FA do after the 3rd player in 5 years being kicked to pieces from Arsenal? Have they ever spoken loud about the coaches that openly say they going to kick the players or Arsenal because they don’t like it? Have they said to the refs : you must try to protect the technical players and send those thugs out of the field?

Even in Belgium, and the Belgium FA is a total mess, they did the only thing that can be done and gave one player a 15 games ban after such an incident this season. And what will the FA do? Just like Martin Taylor give him a 3 games ban? That is just 1 game more than Song will get for a laughable yellow card in that same game. If it wouldn’t be sad I would have a laugh with it, but it is to sad to laugh.

Even worse, what do the FA do hours after the incident? They call that same player who just might have ended a promising career and give him the 3 lions shirt for the first time. Has the FA any decency left?

Even in Germany they have an unwritten rule that when a players gets a red card in the Bundesliga and they have an international game they don’t call him up to let the players know they do not tolerate it and to give the player a punishment for bringing disgrace to the German football.

I can only with great sadness say that the moral standards in Germany are higher than in England. And I feel very sorry to say this because I really love England and the English people.

I also would like to say that is the FA that is responsible for the refs. And if the refs fail in protecting the players and this is one of the main tasks you have as a ref: protect the players from injury. The refs can’t do this properly as we just have seen once again. I know accidents happen sometimes but not 3 times in 5 years. And certainly not with always the same team as victims.

So not only the ref who is guilty but also the FA and the EPL organization is guilty for not being able to stop this violent conduct on the field towards a skilful team.

It maybe Shawcross who broke Ramsey’s leg but he is only the instrument from managers that instruct players to kick the Arsenal players out off the field without the FA doing something about it.

So I accuse not only Shawcross but also the managers who are proud of their approach of The Arsenal, but also the FA for not doing anything about it.

You will lose audience and people will go and see to the Spanish league or the Bundesliga or the Italian league. Money will stop coming in and you will end up with a league full of Shawcrosses and Martin Taylors and no one outside England will look after it.

Why do you think England hasn’t won anything in international football for 40 years? Just look at what you are allowing to happen on your fields and you will see the answer.

I accuse you – the FA – of being culpable of the breaking of Ramsey’s leg.



The only thing more dangerous than stupid people are partially-educated people (with internet connections).

Submitted by Tim, when speaking about Le Grove



“Arsène Wenger can never say that I wanted to leave,” Adebayor told the French television channel Canal Plus. “It was because Arsène didn’t want me any more.  “The most annoying thing about the whole story is when people say I wanted to leave for the money.  If I had really wanted to, I would have left two years ago for the money and gone to Milan or Barcelona.

“I read that it was me who was the troublemaker in the changing room. That’s unbelievable. If one player can say that I, Emmanuel Adebayor, spoke badly to anyone in the changing rooms then I’d honestly like to know who it is. It has never happened in my life.”

Mr Adebayor said of his activities last September when he ran half the pitch to taunt the Arsenal fans in a match in Manchester:  “I shouldn’t have done that but we are all human.”

He declined to comment on the situation in which he was found guilty of violent conduct attacking and assaulting Robin van Persie.

Elsewhere, and at other times…

The media’s encouragement of lesser players to kick more skillful players – a historical review.

The days when football journalists could write, entertain and make us laugh (a true newspaper report about Arsenal in the 1930s)

Predictions for the rest of the season: see how we are doing so far as we approach the start of the new golden era.

The Untold commentary immediately after the end of the Stoke game

“Making the Arsenal” – the novel.  The story and the writings of a football journalist covering Arsenal in 1910.  Available from Amazon.co.uk and from the publishers direct.
Why did Arsenal move to Highbury, and not somewhere else?
Almunia: are we being unfair. By ex-keeper now referee, Walter Broeckx

EPL owes more money than the rest of Euro football combined.

57 Replies to “Why Stoke type thuggery is not allowed in Spain and Italy”

  1. I agree that the refereeing in England is wrong. It does, though include ridiculous whistling for 50:50 shoulder-to-shoulder challenges, which is neither dangerous nor does it stop skill. It includes ridiculous protection of goalkeepers who possess the ability to use hands, heads and feet yet are not required to be subjected to legitimate aerial challenge from forwards. And it includes ridiculous amounts of theatrics from players trying to buy fouls.

    I am also afraid to tell you that there is no way on earth that Shawcross ‘went out to injure Ramsey’. He did not. And if you continue to say that he did, I am going to need to call you a liar. And a liar who has an agenda. I am as horrified as you by the outcome, but I will not accept that Shawcross had any malice or intent. That does not make me any less of an Arsenal fan, it makes me someone prepared to analyse the facts presented.

    The BBC analysed this tackle and showed that his laces, not his studs, connected with Ramsey. He was going 100% for the ball and was unfortunately slightly late. There is a discussion to be had about the effects of that. But there is not a discussion to be had about intent.

    Now there is a legitimate debate to be had about the intensity of the English game and its potential consequences.

    There is also a legitimate debate to be had about the size of Italian crowds and the influence of the mafia on match fixing. If we wish to laud Serie A as the greatest football on earth………

    This is an emotional piece, which is to be understood in the circumstances.

    But if you persist in saying that Stoke City ‘went out to injure an Arsenal player’ then you are going to need to face court action.

    Because I am 100% confident that that is neither the case and nor do you possess the right to say so.

    That, my friend, is the judgement of Arsenal FC lawyers to Arsene Wenger after the Eduardo incident.

    Learn from it.

  2. Rhys Jaggar,

    I, for one, am not saying that stoke players went out to hurt Arsenal players.

    Shawcross had no intentions to break Ramsey’s leg, no.

    But teams have been playing HARD into Arsenal for a long time, and the results show.

    And intend or not, it doesn’t negate the fact that Shawcross went it recklessly, stupidly, unnecessary hard on Ramsey and as a result forced him out for over a year with doubts hanging all over as for how will he recover. Does that mean Shawcross get away with it because he did not intend? He’s NOT THAT TYPE OF PLAYER? I’m not that type of player either but I’ll show you how I can break someone’s leg without intentions to do so easily.

    I stand by my captain as he said 3 major incidents in 4 years is NO COINCIDENCE.

    Arsenal FC is again at war with everyone…..we are best when we are though.

  3. Rhys – shall we just forget all about it then? Teams are encouraged by managers and the broadcasters to kick us out of the game and we should stand up to this.
    Whatever you do today, fellow gooners, don’t buy The Sun.
    Their coverage: Steven Howard has as snidey attack on Wenger for his comments.
    Rob Beasley just sympathises with the real victim in all this – poor Shawcross.
    Quote from Howard: “There are even suggestions Ramsey was going over on his ankle before Shawcross connected.” So what, Ramsey broke his own leg? Should he have been booked for play-acting?
    Nasty and irresponsible reporting that is just inexcusable.

  4. Walter, great article. You rightly point out that it’s the “culture of thuggery” that persists in England that is the problem (I think these are Mark’s words, from another post). This will only harm English football (as if English football needs any more damage; the EPL is a house of cards with too many jokers already).

    Tony, thanks for the shout-out. Glad you liked it.

  5. Please cut down on the anti-English comments.

    We can criticise the rubbish that’s been promoted in the name of physicality and commitment in football, but we’re all skating on the line.

  6. Another (but less important) example of how badly the Sun reports the game. If you add up the marks out of ten for each player, it turns out that Stoke were the better team. Of course they were. Perhaps they gave Shawcross a bonus point for his committed tackling.

  7. The truth is – if you try to ‘roughen up Arsenal’ enough times and for many years, legs will break.

    Shawcross did not mean to break Aaron’s leg, but he was trying to intimidate Arsenal. It was not a 50-50, Shawcross had no chance of getting the ball. Even if he had gotten the ball, the result would have been a GK to arsenal.

  8. Fallowing your footsteps I ll tell my little story about what happens on Saturday evening.
    My old father is Arsenal supporter too, (I infected him, but he is kind of, you know those who “prefer” some team over others. And I like to watch games with him, so I did Saturday evening. Often we talk about which of our players would suit best to Arsenal and we fallowing Edin Dzeko saga, hoping he will end in Arsenal believing he can give more sharpens to our attack.

    So we prepared beer and, game started. After Aaron get murdered, dad just left room and went outside to smoke. He didn’t came back till end of game. Later that night he told me to not call him again to watch games together. He said he couldn’t sleep for a days after Dudu’s leg was broken and he didn’t need to see it again. On the end of conversation he said, “You know, for his parents, for Bosnian National Team, I really really hope, Dzeko or any Bosnian player will sign for Arsenal or any other EPL club”

  9. I’ve seen the tackle several times now, and I have to agree that whilst it was badly mistimed, and poorly executed, it was not an intentional attempt to hurt Aaron Ramsey. I’m also extremely happy that the surgeon who worked on him this weekend has now commented that he should make a full 100% recovery, so I wish the lad all the best and look forward to seeing him back as quick as he can.
    What still angers me though is the continued tactic of over physical play by many teams in the EPL, especially by Stoke City. The tactic is clear to see and it’s about time Tony Pulis got his comeuppance for the way he constantly sets out his teams to play. Why play Fuller and Sidibe up front – when there are 3 players in Kitson, Beattie and Tunchay in your squad who are more skillful and possess much more goal threat, unless it is specifically because you know that Fuller and Sidibe are the more dirty players and likely to foul and hurt your opponents. Ricardo Fuller is an animal, and it is only a matter of time before one of his stray elbows does some serious damage. Tony Pulis has been a manager for a long time now, and I have never seen a team of his play with any skill or imagination on the ball. He’s an utter disgrace to football, just by the style he gets his teams to adopt all the time, and the sooner he is out of the game the better IMO. He is always taking digs at Arsene Wenger, yet we all know it is borne out of complete jealousy because he could never get a team of his to play 4 passes on the trot if his life depended on it. (most of the snide comments AW gets are from English managers who simply don’t have the ability or knowledge or nous to produce teams anywhere near what our great man does – its utter envy in its snidest form)
    At least we have the comfort of knowing that this Stoke team is on its way out. Its 3 best players will be off at the end of the season due to lack of playing time, Rory Delap can only be carried for so long – what does the man contribute football wise apart from his throw??? Who really wants to join them who can play football? After this season, they will definitely be relegation fodder IMO, so here’s to that day coming soon.

  10. AGS,

    Nobody says it was intentional. It is irrelevant if it was intentional.

    The kind of force that would break a man’s tibia and fibula should never be put into a tackle.

    At best it’s recklesssness.

    I’m sick of the “he meant no malice” argument.

  11. Best wishes to Aaron for a speedy recovery, at least he’s in good hands.
    We can blame the Shawcrosses of the world all we like, the thing is though, they’ve always been there. We need to focus our attention on the second rate coaches and managers who employ them. Managers like Tony Pulis who can’t be bothered or aren’t smart enough to create a team of players to play the game with pace and skill and instead, always resort to the tried and tested ‘we play the English way, hard and tough and in the mud of deepest winter, blah blah blah. These neandtherthals look with horror at anybody with the skill, imagination and flair of Arsene Wenger’s teams. Rather than compete, they see it far better to simply kick and destroy. Allerdyce promoted the same rubbish at Bolton and tried to make it a “North of England versus the poncey foreigners” battle. He’s still peddling his stoneage crap at Blackburn. The English media don’t help when they get off on their jingoistic, nationalist ‘The foreigners are all soft and don’t like British steel up ‘em” rubbish. This elevates the Shawcrosses of the world to the level of competent footballers who feel they deserve to be on the same pitch as the likes of Aaron Ramsey, Theo Walcott et al.
    British players can be as skilful and are as talented as anybody in the world, the two I’ve just mentioned prove the point, a certain Mr. Rooney will no doubt be the star of South Africa this Summer, they just need the right guidance from the start. Sadly the likes of Pulis and Allerdyce and a few more will ensure that the lowest standards possible will suffice and there will always be a job for the Shawcrosses of the world. As it happens, Ryan Shawcrosse isn’t the worst example of the stereotypical hatchetman, he might even have an ounce of talent if only it were nurtured by a coach that understands the game. He won’t find that at Stoke City.

    30 points ? Yes we can!!!!

  12. I agree Ole.
    Suppose someone gets in their car now, starts driving the car too fast and suddenly a kid walks out onto the road and they knock the kid over. They didn’t “mean any malice” to the kid but it doesn’t change the fact that the kid is in hospital or worse. If the driver hadn’t been driving recklessly the kid would be fine.
    It is the driver’s fault – whether he wanted to hurt the child or not.

  13. Re: Ian Trevett’s comment on the Sun’s player scores. When Martin Taylor broke Eduardo’s leg, one of the tabloids and I think it was the Sun, gave Taylor a score of 6/10. The game was less than 4 minutes in when Taylor launched himself at Eduardo then got sent off. I’m not even sure if Taylor had actually touched the ball before this happened. Even if Eduardo had survived unscathed, how could anyone justify a score of 6/10 for this four minute display? These stats are compiled by computer but published by morons.

  14. To Tony and Co. and whom else it may concern.

    Please continue with your writing.

    I am an Arsenalfan, who found this blog and it just confirmed all my thoughts of FA, EPL and all its clubs and so on.

    I felt that, this time, With the Ramsey injury, How can anyone now deny us our thoughts and feelings. How can anyone now NOT belive in a “conspiracy” of making Arsenal FC into villains.

    I felt that the wind was picking up behind us, and for once, maybe we will be treating rightfully.

    I was so wrong.

    I live in Kenya, and the corruption here is clear. Money going to different places and nobody is talking about it.

    The corruption in english football is more complex. There is really no evidence of it, except very very good analysis of different occurings.

    It deeply deeply upsets me that it is only Arsenal supporters and people within Arsenal that actually notice what is going on.

    Oliver Kay of The Times wrote this article:


    How can a sports “writer” see things so shallow? How can he NOT analyze the facts around him and then write an article?

    He writes as if Wenger was ONLY angry and frutrated about This particular tackle/injury. But that is not the fact.

    Fact is still that Arsenal is being blamed as villains in Media, EVEN though we are the victims.

    How can people not see this as clearly as we do ?
    Ofcourse I am being very objective about all this, But it still makes me think.

    I love Arsenal. I love our football theory, our moral views, and our Manager.

    I support Arsenal at all times.

    And personally, I would not like to trade any trophy in order to change who we are as a Fottball club.

    thank you to crew of Untold Arsenal, for not being Blinded by the media light, and keep on fighting for a pure football.

    If only all was as good as you.

    I don’t know if I am making any sense, It is mostly the passion speeking.


  15. A great article in favour of us from Bob Wilson on BBC:


    Quotes that echoes our thoughts:

    “The game has moved forward but the Football Association and the Premier League are content to have a brutal side to the game,” he told BBC Wales.
    Wilson also suggests British national sides will pay the price for such injuries, adding: “Ultimately [England, Scotland and Wales] will not win major competitions in that way.”

    “In my opinion this is born out of most managers and coaches facing Arsenal, plus media pundits and even ex-players, instructing their players to get in their faces.
    Arsenal are a relatively small team. Opposing players are told to shake them up, get in their faces, tackle hard, bully them. I would defy coaches and managers to deny that is the case.
    The tackle by Ryan Shawcross was at best mistimed, at worst reckless and desperate.”

  16. I don’t know Walter.

    These incidents, certainly the consequences, are fortunately rare & most games are played in a reasonable spirit, amongst the players anyway.

    The most violent games I have seen recently were the Liverpool & Milan derbies, with the latter much the worse of the two.

  17. Tobias – Why would you question yourself? The evidence may be circumstantial but it is very compelling. It walks like a duck, talks like a duck and looks like a duck. Why are Arsenal supporters so defensive about a culture of thuggery and anti-football still rife in the English game. We all contribute to the success of the EPL by our support of Arsenal FC and other clubs. Let us not be intimidated by the English press and their self-righteousness as if they are the eternal guardians of the beautiful game. There are other Leagues that do not perpetuate intimidation and violence against the more skillful teams and players (e.g. La Liga). Why shouldn’t I demand from my satellite provider more Spanish football if the FA and its match officials refuse to put an end to this brand of anti-football?

  18. Never really supported the England football team. They have the undeserved feeling of superiority that’s sustained by a biased media. Hope they get dumped out of the world cup quick and early. Get well soon Ramsey.Hope Arsenal go on to win the league despite having our backs to the wall with everyone against us.

  19. There are teams in england and all the english so call expert commentators comments about being rough and tough and physical when you play against arsenal. Because that is the only way to beat them on the football field.

    Well their is not intent to break players legs but coaches have intent to tell their team and setup up to bang hard when they play arsenal.

    So thats the result. 3 injuries in 5 years. But you know what? These three injuries are against team that dont play football. Have lesser talents. It wasnt against Man U, or the higher ranked team ???????

    And why was gallas crucified by the english press when he mis-timed a challenge and when Ryan broke another persons legs and he shed a few tears get so much sympathy??

  20. Ole Gunner,
    If you have read many of the comments all over the web, then you will see there are plenty who are implying that there was intent. (otheriwse why would people keep refering to the Adebayor challenge and the one he made on Jeffers??) But you are also contradicting yourself when you say in one sentence that this kind of force should not be put into a tackle, then saying on the next line that you think it was reckless at best, and that you are sick of the “he meant no malice” argument. Whats your point??

  21. Rhys,

    A point of contention.

    First, Just as you have placed your Judgement on behalf of Shawcross so We have placed our judgement.

    Second, A court room for what or for whom?

    Third, is this not a place to let it all hang out? I feel as though you are feeling insecure about being a Gunner supporter in this forum…. Just yesterday I creditted you for being “A Voice”. This is a place where we come to write and think bar none.

    Lastly, I felt you were sending out a message of those of us who believe he intended to harm Ramsay.

    Here is my thought. A person can intend to hurt someone else regardless of lace positioning. I also feel that Shawcross never intended to comitt that degree of an injury on purpose. But, a case can be made that given all we know about his tackles made in the past, Wenger’s knowledge of that and articles written publicly confronting him that it is a lot more than accidental.

    The point of this piece by Walter is not about Shawcross per se. It is about English fans confronting the worst about English football and then moving on.

    It seems to me there are even some Arsenal fans here that are not on board. So be it. But, then deal with the results that could happen if English football doesn’t get its shit together.

  22. Rhys Jaggar is a stupid fool, if he knew anything about football he would know shewcross is a thug, do some research and see how dirty he really is and if he is not dirty, he mush be a really S**T player coz if you see the amount of tackles he does which end up hurting someone you will see he is a thug. anyone that comes out to defend shewcross is a D**K and a C**T, if you send a team out to play rough and dirty this is what will happen, i hope, NO, wish a supper league will happen and then we wont have thugs like these playing as the level will be to high for them also if one manages to play they will be punished, only in EPL you can get away with being a thug and breaking bones. watch when all the good players leave coz it will happen if this carries on, all the best players are gonna look at this and think that if they play in EPL they will not be protected by the thugs of the games. after this i wont even feel bad if Fab leaves coz for hios career sake it will be good, and you know what ill just start watching the Spanish league where they dont break your legs if you are a good player.

  23. As a private person and not a football club-if I had suffered the injury that Aaron did-I would sue Shawcross and charge him for loss of earning, the cost of my medical rehab and the distress caused by his reckless tackle.

  24. Shawcross is either a dirty thug or a very slow, stupid, and clumsy footballer.

    Guys, check out this video of Shawcross on Adebayor from 2008. Then judge for yourselves.


    (link from Arseblog, which has another passionate article on Shawcross today. They have been doing their homework with some excellent investigative work).

  25. And you know what Tim, the ref didn’t make anything of it that day.

    And this is what I really am trying to say to you: the best players will leave this league of violence. Hleb made his mind up 2 years ago after the Eduardo incident.
    Who will be next ?
    And the FA en EPL do nothing about it. They are responsible for this even more than Shawcross who just did what he was told to do.

  26. CS1
    Bang out of order mate. You cannot call someone, like you have done, for just giving their thoughts and opinions. Those opinions are just as valid as yours, even if you don’t like it. Go somewhere else if you cannot add anything useful to the discussions.
    You do make a valid point in your post when you say that “if you send a team out to play rough and dirty then this is what will happen”, because this is the crux of the matter. Ryan Shawcross and the other Stoke players are playing 100% to the instructions of Tony Pulis, and if anyone needs vilifying, then it is this excuse for a top level manager, who wouldn’t know a decent game of football if it clouted him round the face. Why you can’t just stick to this point.

  27. @ AGS and Rhys Jaggar

    The point of the article is that excessive physicality is tolerated and encouraged in English football – Patrick Barclay called it “wildness” – and that this very wildness is sowing the seeds of the demise of the PL as the world’s pre-eminent league.
    Walter has not accused Shawcross of setting out to break Aaron Ramsey’s leg, and I challenge either of you to produce a quote from any Arsenal blog writer which says that.

    The fact is that on at least three occasions that we know of, Shawcross has been reckless – that is to say, gone in to win the ball without due regard for the safety of his opponent. In all cases he has dived in too fast and too hard and out of control. The reason that sort of tackle is outlawed is because it is dangerous. It makes serious injuries far more likely than a controlled tackle – like Gallas’s attempt to get the ball in the Bolton game. Shawcross’s stupidity was compounded by the fact that the tackle or lunge was unnecessary, given where Ramsey and the ball were on the pitch. There was no danger.
    Where the general culture is at fault is that (among other things) a) refs are discouraged from enforcing the rules which are there to protect technical players, b) it is accepted that lower-placed teams can adopt an overly aggressive and physical approach to playing Arsenal and c) the football establishment don’t recognise any fault in any other case than a deliberate assault.
    Firstly, how can anyone deny that an over-physical approach is bound to lead to more accidents and injuries? A car accident is an accident, but that does not mean a speeding driver is never at fault.
    The concept of reckless wrongdoing as distinct from deliberate wrongdoing is not sufficiently recognised. You don’t have to be a psychopath to be guilty of reckless driving. Arsene Wenger did not accuse Shawcross of being an evil thug, but of technical deficiencies and bad judgement. He called the TACKLE “horrendous” and “unacceptable”, not Shawcross himself. Footballers should be properly trained to execute tackles, and to know when tackling is unnecessary.

  28. Of course its Arsene fault. He is buying players with tiniest bones which get broken when ever someone play “male” football. And its probably Jesus mistake, if he just waited few centuries for world to be ready he would not be crucified and if Towers weren’t high airplanes wouldn’t struck them …

  29. i suppose being a gunners fan im gonna be suspicious minded. but the facts are. shitcross broke a leg then got a call up. maybe he was cryin cos the deal daint sound so bad verbally but put in practice was a different kettle o fish?.. oh yeah thats right…hes got previous! maybe hes a crocodile then.

  30. if he had no intent why did he kick so hard?he did have intent ,not to smash his leg to bits but to hurt and intimidate YES he did.if you punch someone because you are sick of them and they die ,but you only intended to burst their nose ,is that ok,just unfortunate?no its manslaughter and you go to jail.As should Shawcross and Pulis if you ask me

  31. Listen AGS, first time it happened, i was angry but got over it, second time, i felt sick at the sight of edu’s broken leg and was even more pissed but a thrid time and in five years, i dont care if he ment it or not, you can not defend a player that goes out to play the way shawcross did and if you do you are not a true Arsenal Fan, i have had enough of seeing our players getting injured by these thugs, look at shewcross history and see how many dirty tackles and injuries he has caused and if you defend him you are a fool to and go support another team. like i said only in EPL you can get away with braking another players legs.

  32. Quite frankly, that Shawcross tackle on Adebayor is brutally disgusting, and the reaction of Shawcross after the tackle says everything you need to know about the guy, and unfortunately the response of the commentator after the tackle (“he is no respecter of reputations” ha, ha, ha the commentator giggles snidely) confirms everything that Walter is talking about in this article.

    In the 80’s Spanish Football suffered because players like Maradona were kicked out of the League. They sorted it out and made it a safe place for talent to suffer. In the early 90’s my favorite player ever, Marco Van Basten, was kicked out of the Italian League. They started to do something about it (although others are compeletely right that Italian Football has much bigger problems).

    England is still in the time warp that the Hungarians found us in 1953. There is still the idea that “English Football” (i.e. the whole ethos, morals, and philosophy) is superior somehow even though it is only the inclusion of foreign players since the advent of the PL that has lifted English Football from the cesspit in which it found itself after Heysel and Hillsborough.

    Soon the foreign players will simply stop coming here. Why should they come here if talent isnt protected and rough play is not only accepted, but condoned and positively celebrated?

    That is what this all comes down to. Shawcross may or may not have gone in to intentionally harm Ramsey. We will never know. But what we do know is that his is the type of tackle that is accepted as being “part of the game” in England, and players that do that kind of tackle are held up as “committed” and “whole hearted” rather that “mindless thugs” and “brainless idiots”. Instead clubs like Stoke are celebrated for their “attitude” more than clubs like Burnley, ones that actually try to play their way up the League (under Owen Coyle that is).

    And then, to add insult to injury, players like Shawcross, who would surely cost England the game where he ever to play in a high pressure game with his recklessness and idiocy, are called up to play for England on the day they perpetrate a crime.

    As others have said, how many drunk drivers intend to cause harm to others? I would say very few. But they do, and they are held responsible for their crimes. Intent is meaningless. If you are reckless and put a colleagues health at risk you should be held accountable. And if you were acting on the orders of your manager then your club should be held accountable.

    If that attitude meant that William Gallas was banned for 20 games for his challenge on Mark Davies earlier this season then so be it. Somehow I have a feeling that we are far more sinned against than sinners.

  33. I don’t think I’ve read such a crock of ill-informed and hypocritical whinging in my life.

    1 Anyone who’s ever played football at any level, will know that it’s perfectly possible to break someone’s leg with a legitimate tackle. If you don’t tackle hard you are more likely to get hurt.

    2 Shawcross went in watching the ball and with only one foot: not only was there no intent, but it’s actually conceivable that it wasn’t a red card. The lack of replays (due to the nastiness of the injury) has made it difficult to tell.

    3 Arsenal have had many players over the years (including Bob Wilson, who ended someone’s career by breaking his leg) who made much worse tackles than that, and still do (Gallas a while back – should he have had a season long ban? Fabregas kick from behind on Pugh – not even booked.) How about Van Persie’s red card for poleaxing Stoke’s goalie last year?

    4 EPL (bleugh) ratings are high as much because of commitment and the pace of the game as the quality of passing. Wenger himself has in the past stated how the physicality of play here is actually a bonus. I remember being so excited when Serie A started to be broadcast in the UK. What a let-down…zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    5 Arsenal play great football but their players, officials and fans need to get over themselves, I am personally now persuaded not to lend my ‘which of the top three should win the title’ support to them. So they probably will 🙂

    6 The argument about the England team is interesting – being comfortable with possession IS a problem, and perhaps overemphasis on commitment and passion plays its part. Bleating about everyone being out to get poor little Arsenal is a sure way to reduce the debate’s importance (see hypocrisy mentioned in part 3).

    That’s all folks!

  34. “Rhys Jaggar”-
    To know that Shawcross had no intention of breaking someone’s leg, you must be capable of reading minds!
    So by your analogy, if I drive a car and hit/killed a pedestrian, I have a legal defence of no intent to commit murder/manslaughter?

  35. heres how ithink i went down. FA cu*t1- dammit, roman’s team jus f**ked up again, arsenal can win it again.FA cu*t2- wat was the point in us fixing the fixtures then? ok who av they got next. FA C1-stoke..FAC2- ok erm…we’ve got crossy over ther, tell him if he wants a call up then were gonna need to stop arsenal winning cos if they do then were fu*ked. arsenal as champions will bring to the attention of everyone the way a club should be. an we’ll hav to either cut our ties with man u an pool etc… or resign. jus tell him any player will do but if he can get fabs then he’ll captain england one day. FAC1- wat if he refuses? FAC2-lol! your funny. FAC1-yeah i know, i do try.

    After the tackle.

    FAC1- C2 hes crying. FAC2- yeah? well i guess he blew it daint he. could of captained eng. now he never will? A draw aint bad tho.good man. PENALTY!!!???? YOU SON OF A MUTHAF*CKING HANDBALL SH*TFACE.

  36. AGS
    March 1st, 2010 at 11:47 am

    Again, intent is irrelevant. I don’t care if he intended to do it or not. The consequence is the same.

    My comment is very consistent. The reason I say he’s reckless is that he’s not moderated himself. The tackle was not even necessary.

    I hope you understand that there’s a long way between doing something to hurt, and doing something without due care.

    And I say it’s bad enough to not do something without showing due care.

  37. Again Ole Gunner, I just don’t get the point of what you are saying. I simply commented (like many others across the blogsphere) that after seeing the tackle several times, that I agreed with the point of view that there was no deliberate attempt by Shawcross to hurt Aaron Ramsey, but that the tackle was extremely mistimed and very poorly executed. I then went onto to place an opinion that it is the rough physical style of play that is demanded by managers like Tony Pulis, that needs to be vilified. I don’t understand why you had to pick out what I had said as particularly wrong. I am assuming that you fully believe Shawcross intended to hurt Aaron Ramsey, hence your comment about being sick of the “no malice” argument, which is fine by me if that is your opinion – I understand why you may think that and in which case intent is very relevant to your point despite you saying it isn’t. And what do you mean by saying you “hope I understand that there’s a long way between doing something to hurt and doing something without due care”?? How did you conclude that I don’t understand this from the comments of my original post? I really think you misunderstood what I wrote completely.

  38. Brady:

    1. “it’s perfectly possible to break someone’s leg with a legitimate tackle” – yes it is, of course it is. Relevance? Shawcross’s tackle wasnt legitimate. He caught Ramsey. He broke his leg. What relevance whatsoever do legitimate tackles have to do with this discussion?

    2. That was a typical shocking challenge that gets condoned in England all the time (and yes, Arsenal players do it as well). The player lost possession clearly and instead of trying to use skill to win the ball back simply goes in as strong as he possibly can into a challenge, feet first. That was clumsy, reckless and very, very dangerous.

    3. It was the pace of Shawcross’s challenge that made it dangerous. Those are the tackles that break legs, when players go in at full pace. And Shawcross has a history of doing that. Gallas’s tackle was bad, and above I said that I would be happy to see him banned 20 games for it so long a challenges like Shawcross got far harsher penalties. But Gallas was standing still and just came down on a leg. I have NEVER seen a leg broken by a challenge like that. But tackles like Shawcross’s result in broken legs.

    4. Wenger himself said he doesnt want the physicality of the PL removed. There is a massive difference between physical, committed play and dangerous play and if you cannot see the difference then there is something wrong with you.

    In the immediate aftermath of the tackle there were probably some over-emotional responses but in the cold light of day (and having just googled and watched the tackle again about 20 times) it was a terrible challenge by a player who had lost the ball and wanted to get a challenge in to intimidate the opponent, knowing he’d lost the ball and that Ramsey was going to easily win possession and be past him in a flash. Shawcross’ reaction showed everything to me. If it was a genuine, clean attempt to win the ball he would have objected to the red card just a little bit and reacted stronger towards Ramsey, knowing he’d caught him badly. Instead he simply tried to do the “oh, I’m hurt as well” leaning over act and stayed well away from Ramsey, even though everyone knew it was a bad challenge. Then he wasnt surprised at all by the red card. He knew he’d been caught out. Watching Shawcross throughout the incident tells you everything you need to know about it. Only after the red card was shown did he make any attempt to see how Ramsey was.

  39. The Arseblogger post today is very good.

    The sentiments about English refereeing standards, of unacceptable levels of violence is a favourite stick which people from outside English Football use to castigate & mock the standards and skill levels here.

    The German p(l)undit Rafa Honigstein was one example I heard, condescendingly explain sometime last season to his fellow p(l)undits that as long as they allow standards that are unacceptable elsewhere, England will never win a WC. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have contact etc.

    I can’t see the future, who knows, but he is probably correct to say so.
    That’s not an anti-English observation, but the the opposite.

    It’s also not anti-English to suggest the obvious, that if anyone attempted to play like Shawcross has been allowed to over a prolonged period upon Hackney Marshes in London, that they wouldn’t last ‘in the game’ very long.

    Even if you slightly mistime a challenge, you’ll be asked to ‘explain yourself’. Most people who play football there have jobs and can’t afford to pick up life threatening injuries on a Saturday afternoon. Any excuse of no intent or no malice will receive short thrift, I can assure you.

    Why does Shawcross need so many ‘defenders’ in the media?

  40. Must clarify: I’m not saying there’s an endemic problem, but I have had too many conversations with football fans who think, for example, that for example, Taylor’s tackle was not dangerous. This raises some basic and fundamental questions about their understanding of physical contact & sport.

    The Shawcross challenge was a little like a Taekwondo kick, kicks that are designed to break limbs. But Taekwondo is a full contact martial art, football isn’t.

    Who needs to talk about intent?

  41. can anything be done??? epl bodies are dictators i don’t think anything can be done to change it. so, i guess this is the real reason that arsenal hasn’t won anything in past years…lower teams are too physical and no play.

  42. No one’s written anything about reasons for not winning things ‘critic’.

    What I have heard, is Arsenal fans say is that the way the team responded on Saturday may have ‘spiritually’ helped purge the squad of the memories of the Birmingham game.
    If Gallas had played, perhaps this time he may not have been able to restrain himself from retaliation by wandering off up the pitch.

    A good thing he wasn’t there!


  43. the whole hullabaloo about ‘but there wasnt malicious intent’ makes my blood boil. if you are playing reckless and out of control, if your greatest attribute is the (much to highly valued) ‘getting stuck in’ then it amounts to the same thing.
    the FA needs to assess how they referee, how to combat teams that play anti-football and employ rotational fouling. and assess the way the handle disciplinary action. at the moment i cant help but think they are rewarding less talented players and hurting the more gifted ones. which seems backwards to the whole concept of sport!!!!

    it was not malicious in intent but it was still wrong. It was reckless and that is the point. I think he ought to get more than three games. if he does not, it will just encourage more of those kind of reckless type tackles and late tackles! The English press and public is a bit blood thirsty and so they like those kind of players. It goes deep in there culture of football.

    I do think that lots of teams do play Arsenal with an emphasis on physical challenges and that referees do not do enough to protect them players. But that is not going to change unless the FA tells the referees to call more fouls.

    I think there is some room for tactical fouls and some teams are very good at using those fouls to break up attacks. I do think some kind of collective penalty might be good so that those are used more sparingly than they are now.

    I think that some of the negative attitude toward Arsenal is that they are NOT ENGLISH enough. There is jealousy of the skills that the non-English had and resentment that they are better than the local guys.

    But the local guys who are good are also big jerks like Terry! If he was not a football player he would be working a nasty labor job because he has nothing else to offer but his physical ability. Most of the English players are just like him. Can you name one who could finish Uni or who does anything for other people?

    It was good that they could pull the game out. They hand ball was a bit soft but Ramsey should have had a penalty earlier – don’t know how the referee could see the hand ball but not see the foul on Ramsey in the box!!!

  44. For those who think they know the rules I will try to explain the rules on tackles and on dangerous tackels if I get the time over the next days.
    There are some people who really don’t know the rules as they stand NOW. And not how they were 50 years ago.

    Fifa has made it clear to all (who wants to hear that is) that skilful players are to be protected by refs and that players who use to much force should be red carded. Never mind if they break other peoples legs. Contact is allowed but NO CONTACT IS ALLOWED THAT COULD BRING DANGER TO THE HEALTH OF ANOTHER PLAYER!!!!

    They are all professionals and know what they are doing so they know very well when they are crossing the borderline.

    But I will do it in full later on and maybe some could read and try to understand what the rules say.

  45. Rhys, in the cold light of day, not many people would agree that shawcross intended to damage our player. i fully accept that. but also in the cold light of day we can see that shawcross isnt the tidies tackler in the world. what he lacks in skill he makes up with brute force. no one is lying here, and none of us have to go to court. why put £s in the lawyers pockets?

    brady, a stoke fan i presume, if you had read ony of the last few months blogs, you will realise that this site is an oasis of calm and thoughtful chat which is to my mind very well informed. as fo the red not being given, it is the least penalty available. and in order to stamp out such tackles ( we all agree it was a bad tackle don’t we?) then a red card is the minimum he should get.

    in a fair world, any player that gets sent off for such a challenge should not be able to play until the injured party comes back. also he should not be paid for this period and the offending club shopuld pay the wages of the injured party while he is out injured. if the rules were so, this kind of incident would never happen.

    the simple facts are that stoke is a shit team whose only chanmce against a team such as ours is to play hard.

  46. Brady, just one word on legitimate tackle.

    From the fifa rule book and guideline to referees (as myself):

    Using excessive force” means that the player has far exceeded the necessary use of force and is in danger of injuring his opponent.
    • A player who uses excessive force must be sent off.

    As far as I can understand English this simply is saying that no tackel can be legitimate if you it brings danger to an opponent.

    It could be that my English is not completely up to the standard of others but the way I say it to you is the way the rules are explained to the refs of any country that is member of Fifa. And as far as I know the EPL is being played under fifa rules.

  47. 2 things that FA and Prem League must outlawed immediately.

    a) Jumping into a tackle and 2-foot lunge.
    b) And sliding tackle at speed directly at a player, calculated to get ball and man.

    Most of you all missed that dnagerous sliding tackle by Faye aimed directly at CLichy and ball.
    If Clichy had not jumped and not awared of Faye’s presence (as he was driving along the left flank), he will be kicked out of the game.

    And if you all had watched Liverpool vs Everton game, you will notice the brutality executed by both sides with 2 footed lunges and jumping into the tackle.

    If this clear guideline on 2-foot lunge, jumping into the tackle (against Eduardo) and slide tackle at speed (against Diaby and Ramsey) are all automatic red-card offences, perhaps our 3 players may not have suffered leg breaks…or Felliani (Everton) out for the season.

    EXCESSIVE FORCE is the key word.

    And I thought that many years back, a guidelienw a sin palce that any players thata re red-craded are not called up for internationals?

    Has the moral standards of FA dropped that much that winning is everything and “RESPECT” campaign is abandoned because there is no profit in it?

  48. You are veri right Merlin on the 2 footed tackle. But now these days when the player who is attacked manages to jump up the refs don’t even give the foul. And the instructions are clear on this: hit him or not it is always a foul because it is always dangerous.

  49. Armin, please send some of your story’s to Tony. Don’t be affraid for your English. I think Tony will have no problem with that. And if you are not sure how to put, even write it in other languages that you know (German ? or so ? ) I could help Tony on that if necessary.

    I really enjoy the things you tell us. I really do.

  50. Some managers and the so call pundits does not like AW and they can do anything to destroy the Man and his work. They were all intimidated by his achievement.It is unfortunate that England is the mother of football and thesame time they are the people that are trying to destroy the game.No where in the world you will see a career destroyer getting a support apart from England.If Rooney were the vicitum, will Alex give support to Show.?

  51. If you watched that Holland vs Italy where Van Persie got injured by Chelliani, it is an open verdict as to whether it is a malicious tackle or 50:50 ball.

    Van Persie was running at speed and CHelliani slided in with a one-foot lunge – got ball and man simulataneously.

    Now, watch it in slow motion, and you can see Chelliani cocked his leg, i.e. pull it back slightly, and then lunged his foot forward.

    If you are standing, and performed this kind of action, it is called stumping, i.e. in martial art, drive your knee with full force downwards.

    What Shawcross did is in a horizontal position, scything his leg forward, and like in martial art, a roundhouse kick committed with the full body force, plus momentum generated by a speeding 200-lb body, leg accelerating, and the impact force is great..maybe as much as 500-lb force (as calculated in History Channel “Human Weapon” for kicks by expert), the point of contact on any part of Ramsey’s leg will result in massive damage.

    Imagine Shawcross’ shin-pad applying 500 lb force onto Ramsey’s leg.

    Even if there is no intention to hurt, but by going in with such great force in a 50:50 ball situation, I can safely conclude that the real intention is physical intimidation, to get the lick in first. I will of course not same the actual word as it may lead to a litigation suit.

    LIke Chelliani’s tackle on Van Persie, of course, there is no malice in it, just a man game, accident does happen, it is regrettably, and one Arsenal and two ex-Arsenal players crippled by the same player is just a coincidence.

  52. Go away Adebayor ,you made your choice and sold yourself for a few extra pieces of Arab silver so when Man.City don,t finish in 4th place with no silverware to show for their huge outlay, dream about your days at Arsenal ,they,re gone forever?

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