Wenger Fighting A Pointless Fight

May 03, 2010 - Blackburn, Lancashire, England, UK - epa02141461 Arsenal FC manager Arsene Wenger during the English Barclays Premier League soccer match between Blackburn Rovers FC and Arsenal FC, at the Ewood Park Stadium, Blackburn, Britain, 03 May 2010.

Stoke City defender Ryan Shawcross has today hit back at Arsene Wenger’s claims that Stoke players act like “rugby” players. The 23-year-old defender was left fuming after Wenger’s allegations saying: “He’s obviously got something against me. It’s just weird

“He seems to have a problem with Stoke, our manager and certain players. Criticism doesn’t bother me, unless it’s a false accusation like this one”

Shawcross has every right to be annoyed by Wenger’s comments. Yes Stoke are a team full of 6 foot plus monsters but to compare their game to rugby is absurd and Wenger, still hurting by old wounds,  is taking every opportunity he can to take a pop at Shawcross and Stoke.

It seems as if Wenger is still very bitter about the incidents that took place at the Britannia Stadium back in February. The Arsenal boss was adamant back then that Shawcross’ challenge on Aaron Ramsey wads malicious and it appears that even with seven months of reflection he hasn’t changed his mind.

Wenger has been known to hold grudges, and of course we can understand the frustrations of the Frenchman after losing a very talented youngster to an horrific injury. But Shawcross meant no harm with that challenge; he simply isn’t that type of player.

I don’t see what Wenger is trying to gain by criticising a Stoke player. If it was a title rival then maybe I could understand it, but Stoke won’t be competing with Arsenal in terms of league position this season. If Wenger is trying to play some early mind games before the always tricky meetings with Stoke this season then this ploy won’t work. Commenting on Stokes nature will only motivate Stokes intimidating fans further making the games even harder.

Wenger has always had an outspoken nature, however sometimes it has come back to haunt him, I can’t help but feel his comments about Stoke may come back to haunt again in time.

110 thoughts on “Wenger Fighting A Pointless Fight”

  1. I respectfully disagree. If you watch the video clips of the Stoke-Spurs game closely, you will see that Shawcross kicked Gomes and Huth punched him in the goal. I’m not sure which team you support but if your team’s keeper gets that treatment, you wouldn’t be singing the praises of the offenders, whoever they may be.

    Wenger mostly comments on things in context and he was about to face Blackburn and Fat Sam who are known try to “rough up” Arsenal as a means to expose the perceived softness. He was asked about their style of play and he brought up the “rugby” tactics and gave a recent example of what he does not feel is acceptable as football. Nothing more, nothing less.

    Don’t get so easily sucked into media “hype.” Wenger has more class than you think!

    1. Christ on a bike, what a vivid imagination you have.

      Ryan didn’t kick Gomes at all.

      Anyone who even attempts to say otherwise is dealing in pure fiction.

  2. Wenger is well-known for complaining about the weather, humidity, the pitch, the mosquitoes, etc., but in the case of Shawcross (and a number of other Premier League defenders), he has a point.

    Shawcross is a potential murderer and every time he steps on the field, he presents a legitimate danger to the health of other footballers. Players like him should only be allowed to play in the Sunday league. To think that the only real footballer in Stoke, Tuncay, is struggling for playing time, and footballing criminals like Shawcross are playing game in and game out, it is quite sad. B/c of players like Shawcross and Rory Delap, I cheer against Stoke game in and game out and I look forward to them being relegated…

    1. Ivan,

      You are a disgrace to real football fans.

      What an hysterical girl you are, I can’t believe the utter, utter tripe you have written.

    2. Ivan, the suggestion of potential murderer as a description of any person is quite strong. To say anyone is capable of ending anothers life is a pretty hefty accusation, let alone to say that a footballer is capable of this on a football pitch. In 60 premiership apps into his 3rd season there has been only one case where Ryan has caused serious injury. Everyone at Stoke from fans, players and manager have wished Aaron Ramsey the speediest recovery possible especially Ryan Shawcross. Now I’m pretty sure that his remorse (shown by several personal apologies) is proof alone that “potential murderer” is way over the top. Stoke City have put this unfortunate incident behind them, just as they did when Rory Delap suffered the exact same injury on his home debut. If Arsenal, Arsene Wenger and the army “passionate” supporters cannot do the same then this is your issue, but accusing someone of being capable of murder is completely out of order.

      If it is the case that you are foriegn and the phrase “potential murderer” somehow has less gravitas where you hail from then I do apologise duck, I also appologise for using big words and a sensible arguement and the fact that you will never actually be present in a stadium for one of your beloved EPL match ups. Much love.

      1. The fact that Shawcross was visibly upset after the tackle tells you everything. He is a good, honest lad who had absolutely no intention of hurting Ramsey. Wenger is only making a mountain out of a molehill & is attempting to derail Shawcross and Stokes’ thoughts when they next meet in the Premier League. It is pathetic from Wenger as he should know better. Don’t you think Shawcross has had enough savage treatment and just wants to get on with playing the game he loves. He’s one of the good guys.

    3. What a load of utter drivel

      Ivan, how many times have youi actually seen Stoke play?

      If you take your head out of the sensationalist media for 5 minutes and find out the realities of what you are talking about.

      Shawcross is one of the most talented young centre backs in the country. As for “a potential murderer” grow up – did you not see the state he was in after the Aaron Ramsey injury, he was so devastated that Tony Pulis had to take him off.

  3. Wenger wants to play 5ft nothing skillful players and have no one touch them, sorry wenger, there’s more than one way to skin a cat and I for one don’t object to stoke’s tough tackling, they are just playing to their strength the same way Arsenal are playing to theirs

  4. “But Shawcross meant no harm with that challenge; he simply isn’t that type of player”.

    But he IS that type of player. At least 3 broken legs to his name already and many other terrible challenges. The most generous possible interpretation of the tackle on Ramsey is “reckless” – but, in all fairness, “malicious” is a better term.

    Ramsey, an outstanding talent, is still some way from fitness.

    1. What a load of utter tripe, Peter, At least 3 broken legs? You sure? Ramsey (unintentional) and apparently Jeffers – did we hear Sheffield Wednesday pipe up after his injury? Did we heck! They know it’s football and this sort of thing happens! Malicious? That comment is Malicious – I recommend you watch a non-league game Peter, you may vomit a little.

      1. How many “that sort of thing happens” passes does a player get? Certainly three injured players from tackles in four years must put Shawcross near the top of the list for injuries inflicted in Europe. What happens if he breaks another leg this year? What if he breaks two more this year? How many need to be broken until “this sort of thing happens” is no longer an acceptable excuse?

        1. The answer to your question Paul is only 1. Wayne Rooney’s. While I wish him no ill-will, the second a player like Shawcross (malicious or not) separates that man’s ankle, everyone on this site screaming about “real football fans” or “getting stuck in” will be howling for punishment.

    1. Shawcross – a damned fine player who Arsenal would be lucky to have – complained about Wengers LIES about Stoke – There was no kick on Gomes. Stoke City always carry themselves with decorum when we get Wenger (and his wannabees) moaning about us – we only pipe up when downright false statements come out, such is the case here.

  5. I agree with Peter, Shawcross is 23 has broken, 2 – 3 legs already, I also remember a terrible tackle he put in on Adebayor like 2 yards out of bounds 2 years ago. The only reason he is not that type of player is cause he is english, just a good english lad getting stuck in…
    Well i guarantee, if he was french or something and had broken Rooney’s leg he would villified and driven out of the prem, by the media and fans.

    1. How can it be 2-3 legs? It’s 2 or 3, he can’t break half a leg.

      Actually, its 1 broken leg. Ramsey. No others. Not Jeffers. Not some random in Belgium. Not Adebayor, Walcott or Bob Wilson.

      It’s not true just because some bloke on the internet said it. It’s one broken leg.

      1. Bill, he did break Ramsey’s leg in half 😉
        Also i was going to put 2 Ramsey and Jeffers but someone above put 3, so i put 2-3. Jeffers had his ankel broken.

  6. Ryan Shawcross is a thug and Tony Pulis is a warload who breeds and encourages thuggery…………………It’s a pity Stoke City are in the Premier League. It’s a pain to watch them play as you feel anything can happen on the pitch when Tony Pulis let’s the dogs out……..Shawcross should be arrested by the police for hius violent behaviour on the pitch. To hell with Stoke City and everything you stand for

    1. “It’s a pity that Stoke City are in the Premier League.” Mmm, that anything to do with the fact that you don’t like being beaten by them – once in the league and once in the FA Cup? I wonder.
      Regarding Shawcross – Fabio Capello saw the video of the Ramsey tackle and Ryan was called up to the England squad. Do you really think you know more about someone’s tackling than a manager of his experience? I doubt it

  7. To be fair, Wenger’s comments have already been a success. The ref was much better in the Blackburn game. It has no implications for the Stoke game – they can only play one way in any case.

    Not a very sensible article.

  8. ”But he IS that type of player. At least 3 broken legs to his name already”

    Please humour me, who do these three legs belong to? oh thats right, you just made that statistic up… Its just Ramsey. Please look at that challenge again and tell me honestly that you think it was malicious, if you truly believe that it was, then i am willing to bet you have an arsenal shirt in the wardrobe, and that wenger has touched your children inappropriately.

    1. Why hasn’t someone removed this comment ?

      “wenger has touched your children inappropriately.”

      Classless and so so so very brave – Hiding away in your inbred little northern back water no doubt beating the missus and draffing your five moronic kids up to think like you

      Ooops sorry a totally groundless and despicable comment based on absolutely no evidence at all. Hang on a minute ……..

  9. What a lot of rubbish this is. The writer is just a media-led muppet. Shawcross has a history of seriously injuring players, including Francis Jeffres, Adebayor and Ramsey.

    This blog is utter drivel.

    1. 1 x Francis Jeffers
      2 x Aaron Ramsey
      3 x Maimed Adebayor whilst he was of the pitch

      Guys a thug stop protecting him because it really stupid. It like supporting the BNP. Wake up guys this has place in the game of football. Aaron Ramsey will never be the footballer he could have been. If he was 17 his career would have been ended there and then because clubs don’t offer contracts to players who suffer those injuries.

      1. He didn’t maim Adebayor, he was back training in under 2 weeks! I’m not saying Shawcross didn’t make a bad tackle there, but get your facts straight mate…
        Jeffers and Sheffield Wednesday have both stated that they didn’t think the challenge was malicious, and SHAWCROSS DIDN’T BREAK HIS LEG!!!! Jeffers ruptured some ligaments in his ankle and was only out for 2 months, that kind of injury happens on a regular basis in football, look at Stoke City’s Sidibe, he’s out all season through ligament damage. By all means complain about the odd bad challenge, like say Adebayor’s stamp on Fabregas, but don’t accuse a young man of attempting to murder a man because of one clumsy challenge that unfortunately injured another

        1. Actually Adebayor stamped on RVP’s face, not Fabregas’ face. Get your facts straight!
          See what I did there? I nick-picked your comment and took away from what you were trying to say. Broken legs, Ruptured ligaments, whatever. I have had both happen to me, and the doctors told me when I ruptured my ligaments, I would’ve been better off with a break, so really…. It’s semantics.
          The fact is, he has had some pretty shoddy tackles in the last number of years and when you see them, you wonder what they heck his is thinking. They are piss-poor tackles and I don’t care about if he is a good guy or not.
          He has a history of poor tackles people. Anyone who plays football on a regular basis know the likelyhood of winning the ball in a tackle each time they attempt a tackle. So either Shawcross is a ruthless and mean person, which you all claim he is not, or he has very poor judgement on the pitch, and is simply not a good defender.

  10. ha ha ha I refuse to believe these comments are real, anyone I know who is a FOOTBALL fan realises how good a defender Shawcross is, they also conceed Stoke City are one of the cleanest footballing teams out there, and in fact ARSENAL are one of the most snidey, sneakily dirty teams in the English leagues.

    No real footie fan needs proof of this, but if you’re a real person and made one of the comments above, check out this Arsenal player Van Persie’s foul on STOKE CITY’s goalie http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yNPDTivssKk now tell me Stoke are the dirty team. Oh yes, by the way, Stoke won fair and square that day with hardly any fouls.

  11. Shawcross is a reckless player who has already injured too many fellow professionals for someone so young.

    This is not about Shawcross though. This is about Wenger correctly complaining that the football laws are not being upheld by English referees. He cited the Stoke game against Spurs as evidence that certain teams make no attempt to play the ball but instead directly target the goalkeeper. Hence the ‘rugby’ analogy. His complaint is not that Stoke employs these tactics, it’s that English referees don’t penalise them for it.

    Stoke, through Pulis and now Shawcross are just trying to ‘personalise’ the whole thing to deflect attention from the real issue.

    1. With respect you are totally missing the point.

      Wenger claimed that Ryan kicked Gomes, which is a total and utter fabrication of the truth.

      The incident he described simply didn’t happen.

      Are we to assume that it is OK to blatantly lie now in order to get a point across?

          1. Thanks for that video Colneyblog but can you now send me the one where Shawcross kicks Gomes because this clearly isn’t it.

    2. You wanna talk about Stoke personalising it? Then explain to everyone why Wenger decided to comment on Stoke City vs Tottenham Hotspur, and named Shawcross for kicking the goalkeeper, an act that EVERYONE except Arsenal fans have accepted DID NOT happen!

  12. “he simply isn’t that type of player”

    Oh I get it, this article is sarcasm. Wenger said right after the Ramsey incident to spare him the X isn’t that kind of player bullshit. I see what you did there.

  13. “He’s obviously got something against me. It’s just weird.” is about the funniest thing I’ve heard all week. How could he possibly be incredulous about the entire scenario? Whether or not he feels the tackle was intentional, gruesome, etc., it’s blatantly obvious why Wenger would be upset with him. How ignorant.

  14. “It seems as if Wenger is still very bitter about the incidents that took place at the Britannia Stadium back in February. ”

    Wow. Waaaaaay back in February. 7 whole months ago. And he’s still bitter about seeing a 19 year old kid get his leg snapped by a goon? Crazy! I mean, it’s almost as though that was the third leg he’d seen broken in as many years. Weird!

  15. i am pretty sure u would have been mad at someone who “unintentionally” breaks your dads leg and he still acts like he has done nothing wrong and accuses you of having something against him.

  16. The author missed the point here – Mike and RGG have nailed it above.
    Shawcross is reckless, he did break Ramsey’s leg (its very hard to break a leg by the way) – he did break Jeffers ankle and the tackle people are referencing on Adebayor was a scandalous one.
    Wenger only piped up at this point in the season because he knew Allardyce would play the same style of football against us and wanted the same ref who allowed it in Spurs v Stoke to be aware that its not in the laws of the games. Chris Foy was the intended target of Wenger’s commentary.
    I am sorry Stoke fans hate Arsenal and Wenger but the simple fact is Stoke do not play good football. Its basic, its not entertaining and I’d hope Pulis eventually tries to mix a bit of guile with the blatantly physical side of the game. Arsenal by contrast need a bit more the physical side. There won’t be too many people sorry to see Stoke relegated because all they contribute to the premiership is long throws. Wow.

    1. “It’s very hard to break a leg by the way.”

      Is this where we bring Diaby on Nasri into the argument?

      Player diving in on the blind side gets his leg broken by a swinging boot, and then there was the Diaby/Nasri incident.

  17. “But Shawcross meant no harm with that challenge; he simply isn’t that type of player.”

    Is James Beckett for real or he is from SkySports defending another brute of the game? This writer is simply trying to get internet hits, because no sane person will say such things.

    1. Harold, just because James says something controversial doesn’t mean he’s saying it just for internet hits. He believes what he says. And I agree with him. Shawcross meant no harm with the challenge. It was a late challenge.

      The Gaffer

      1. Gaffe,
        How do you know what Shawcross meant with his tackle? Tony Pulis was convicted by his own post-game words when he said that when you mean to hurt a player with a tackle you go in with foot above the ball. Poor Tony had not yet seen the freeze frame on YOUTUBE of little Ryan’s well-meaning foot well above the ball as it cuts through Ramsay’s buckled shin.

        BTW Gaffe, since you can read Shawcross’s mind, why was he crying after he chopped Ramsay? Was he remorseful, or was he devastated that he had revealed himself to the world?

      2. Even if he meant no harm and was late, the facts are that he did it, and not for the first time. It was rash, and show a complete lack of judgement. His recent history suggests he may in fact be that type of player. Why does everyone try to defend him like they defend Scholes for his abundance of poor challanges? After awhile, you gotta figure that maybe he knows what he is doing.

        1. Why does everyone defend him?

          Erm, because his ‘previous form’ is at best wildly exaggerated, at worst spiteful and invented.

          It is the first time he’s broken an opponent’s bone, you know that, don’t you?

          Rash? Lack of judgement? Not according to Don Howe:

          “When I broke my leg I didn’t even look at the goalkeeper, and he didn’t look at me.

          “We were just two committed men trying to win the ball – I believe it was the same between Ramsey and Shawcross.

          “It was two players going for it, two players trying to win the ball and they made contact. Unfortunately for our boy, he came out of it badly. But it could have been the other way around…”

  18. This post feels like bait for newsnow readers, so I hesitated to comment, but I could not help myself (apparently).

    The piece seems to jump around between whether it was wise of Wenger to say these things, or whether he was right to say that these things (i.e., he said something true). The author has suspicions about the former, but no real evidence. Perhaps casting a public eye on the question of the Stoke style, particularly after the English press attacked the Dutch for their display in the World Cup final with such vehemence, will help to change attitudes about it.

    Either way, that’s not focus here. Instead, I want to say something about the non sequitur that the author uses to defend the claim that Wenger said something false. Wenger’s claim is that Stoke play a style more akin to rugby than football. If we tone down the rhetoric, his claim is that their style is too physical and too violent for this sport. Alright, debatable. I tend towards the Wengerian side on this one, though not to the same extent he does. The point is, whether Shawcross intended to break Ramsey’s leg is totally and utterly besides the point. Even if he did not (and I agree with the other commentators, I too almost read this as satire when the author wrote that “he is not that kind of player.” That is precisely the phrasing that has been subject to mock and derision in the last few months, quite rightly, it is intellectually vacuous), the point was that he was reckless, and that this reckless style is part of a deliberative team strategy. It is the *team’s approach* that creates these situations, not the malicious intent of the players. Indeed, a Stoke player (not Shawcross) showed great integrity and character when helping Ramsey immediately after the injury. The issue is simply not about the character of individual Stoke players.

  19. Gaffer – You’ve got to be kidding me. The player has a history of making dangerous tackles, going for the body and not the ball. To say that “He’s not that kind of player” is piss-taking of the highest level.

    1. I disagree. Shawcross went for the ball. Not the body. Here’s what Wenger said recently after Aaron Ramsey’s injury: “I encourage my players to play and be committed,” he said. “I have a go at them when they don’t put their foot in sometimes. But as well sometimes I nearly feel guilty to do that because when Aaron goes for the ball like he did on Saturday and gets done like he did, it is not an easy situation.” Even Wenger admits he encourages his players to engage in tough tackling.

      To say that Shawcross has a history of making dangerous tackles is a joke.

      The Gaffer

      1. How is it a joke to say he has a history of dangerous tackles? Can you really look at his record and say this is all coincidence? While I do believe that the Ramsey tackle was incidental, watch the Jeffers and Adebayor tackles. Can you really tell me with a straight face that he was attempting to win the ball cleanly on either play. It is hard to justify tackles like those two.

      2. Gaffe,
        “Putting your foot in”, is different from winding up and blasting a guys shin above the ball. You have presented a false equivalence.

      3. Gaffe,
        Here is the YOUTUBE still frame that shows Shawcross kicking Ramsey above the ball:
        Go to YOUTUBE
        enter 495 1882
        then click enter.
        Keep in mind that Pulis explained in his post -game interview that if you want to hurt a player you kick above the ball.
        Let me know what you see in the photo.

  20. It’s good to have debate about these things but I guess, being an Arsenal fan, I am biased and just wish players would tackle properly and not go in with their eyes closed and their studs up to win a ball.

    I mean, Pulis is head-butting his own players half-naked, what else is there to say about the mentality that is bread at the club?

  21. Anyone notice the lies go on – there is not footage on the planet that shows Shawcross kicked Tottenham’s goalie. None!

    Wenger and the ilk saying otherwise are liars. The first post Ruffneck is discredited from the moment he claimed he saw this cause again, there is no footage to back Wenger up. So he is a LIAR and so is Arsene Wenger. That is the bottom line and all these coxcombs bring up everything but what is the actual claim Wenger made. Huth fouled the goalie, but Shawcross never did and Wenger tried to smear him.

    I can understand why, with the horrific injury Ramsey suffered. But none the less, it is a lie.

    Ruffneck stop posting – you already have lied so we know all we need to know about you

  22. Its apparent from the remarks ratings that there are a lot of cry baby Arsenal fans on here. I guess it fits though, Crybaby coach, crybaby fans. Wenger should worry about his lousy failure of a transfer period, Fab and his counting down the days till he leaves, or Van Persie and his fragile paperlike body!

    1. I would rate your troll attempt a 3/10 – too over the top. Please see the original post for a masterpiece in trolling, just enough bait to get the Arsenal fans going (myself included).

      1. Paul, stop your whining! You 100 % proved my point. Just because I dislike Arsenal, Im a troll? Did I post something that wasn’t true?
        Did Wenger have a good transfer period? NO
        Is Fab going to stay at Arsenal? NO, and it sucks for you but its the reality.
        Is Van Persie fraglie? Do I even have to answer this question?
        If you think the original story was trolling, its very simple don’t read it.
        I understand sticking up for your team, but when you all stoop down to an immature, whining level it gets annoying.

  23. It’s pretty clear that this is all to do with English bias. Yes, I am an Arsenal fan, making no claims to the contrary. But just as in diving, when an English player, Gerrard or Rooney for example, take a dive, they are experienced veterans who are giving everything for the cause. When Eduardo dives, he is what is ruining the game of football. Again, when an English boy does a guys leg, “he’s not that kind of player.” I would like to know, how in the hell does a writer on EPLtalk have any idea what kind of a guy Ryan Shawcross is, because none of us know him personally and it is obvious from the Jeffers, Adebayor, and Ramsey challenge that he is in fact that kind of players. To me, the worst of these challenges is the Adebayor challenge. I beg anyone to please defend or explain to me someone who slides into the back of another professional in a non-dangerous zone when the ball is out of play is “not that kind of player.” Whether pure malicious intent was there on the Ramsey challenge doesn’t matter, the boy has a long track record of not considering the health of other professionals and is classless.

    1. Ramsey and Jeffers – pure accidents. This happens in football and every player goes into a match with a risk of picking up an injury.

      As for the Adabayor chellenge, yes it was naughty, yes it was in retaliation and there are no excuses. But from someone who regularly watches Shawcross play this was totally out of character and brought about by earlier fouls by Adebayor. Yes it’s still wrong but give the guy a break (sorry probably shouldn’t use the word break).

  24. Your analysis is immature. It was a horrific tackle and Shawcross will likely seriously injure another player in the future if he does not change his attitude. Just as Shawcross can bleat against Wenger, Wenger can surely voice his views.

    1. It’s fine for Wenger to voice his views regarding the style of play. My opinion on the Arsenal style of play is that they are a team of frail yet malicious, synchronised diving dwarfs.

      What isn’t fine and is in fact completely classless, is for Arsene Wenger to peddle lies about a player kicking another player deliberately in a match that he did not attend and admits to not watching in any digital format. The hypocrisy stinks to high heaven given that in numerous matches where his players have committed an offence his stock response is “I didn’t see it”, yet he is able to engineer a fictional situation in a game that has nothing to do with his side, and then have people believe that it actually happened!

  25. http://playfootballthearsenalway.wordpress.com/

    Gaffer please could you sort out some sort of article that directs people to the blog above for the other side to the story?

    Beyond that I’d like to ask someone to show me evidence of Shawcross kicking Gomes, if this is possible I’ll happily bow down to their superior footballing intellect and knowledge. Given that I was in attendance at the match and did not see it occur I mustn’t have been paying attention.

    However for all the Shawcross haters out there Peter Crouch got away with a deliberate elbow on Shawcross, surely that must please the Arsenal armchair fans populating this site. Go Spurs, eh boys?

  26. With regard to saying that the Premier League would be better off without Stoke City, fine you’re entitled to that opinion based on you’re irregular TV viewing of my team. I’m sure that you tune in to watch all of two or three times a season when we’re televised.

    This post below is taken from The Oatcake message board and is an explanation to a trolling Arsenal fan as to the reason for the difference between the two clubs at present. I expect none of you to grasp, understand or pay any attention to this but I feel it sums up the situation perfectly.

    So Glory Hunters and Football Purists please read:

    To Stoney (Trolling Arsenal gimp): “You clearly don’t understand me and so I will, after this, retire gracefully from the debate. I don’t mean that in a patronising way at all but you’re clearly failing to grasp what I mean when I talk about the top clubs carving up the game for their own ends. Way back in the mists of time clubs like Stoke could compete on equal terms with clubs like Arsenal, Manchester United and the like. When I started supporting Stoke (nearly 50 years ago) Liverpool were in the Second Division (and weren’t very good). Leeds were below them and didn’t even enter the football vocabulary. The country’s top teams were clubs like Wolves, Spurs (sorry) and Manchester United (spit). Through my teenage years I watched a hugely entertaining, skillful and highly respected Stoke City although (admittedly) they didn’t win anything bar the League Cup. They were, however top of the top division with just 4 games to play, reached two FA Cup Semi Finals in a row (I highlighted earlier) and were a delight to watch. At that time, if a player was available, it was just as likely that he would join Stoke as Arsenal or Manchester United. We set a new transfer record when we signed Alan Hudson from Chelsea and broke the World Record Fee for a goalkeeper when we signed Shilton. Jimmy Greenhoff was in tears when we had to sell him to Manchester United and he had to take a pay cut to join them as they didn’t pay the wages that we did at that time. (They had been relegated and promoted again a couple of years earlier). When we were relegated towards the end of the 70’s we had been a top division side for many, many years and were relegated with SPURS. Needless to say (except for a brief period) it was downhill from there and whilst we suffered the darkest days of our history Chairmen of the top Division 1 clubs got together with TV Companies and other sponsors to create the PREMIER LEAGUE. It was created purely for selfish reasons by those who stood to gain the most and was totally against the greater interests of football as a whole and signaled the beginning of misery and financial oblivion for many, many once proud clubs as they were starved of the finance they had always relied upon whilst it went to those at the top. The result was that clubs such as mine would never again be in a position to compete on an equal footing with clubs like yours.

    So, okay, it’s all history now but the legacy survives and we will never again be seeing the likes of Ipswich, Nottingham Forest, Aston Villa, Preston, Bolton, Burnley, Blackpool (It’s a very long list mate) leading English football. It has become impossible for that to happen. Okay, I accept that (even if I don’t like it) but what I can’t accept is supporters (and managers) of one of the main architects of that structure, then vilifying my club for doing all that it can to survive, having clawed it’s way into that elite party after 30 years in the wilderness. Yes we could come to the Emirates and try to knock the ball around and get stuffed out of sight and I’m sure that would make you all very happy and maybe we’d get a little more respect. Trouble is mate, we intend on doing much more than that and are determined to stay at the top table come what may. Is that so hard to understand? Neither will we take lessons on ‘pure’ football from supporters of a club that have a woeful history of producing dour and physical teams (clearly before your time). However, Wenger’s team that had the worst disciplinary record in the division cannot be so lightly dismissed by those who vilify others.

    You just need to know a little about football history my friend and apply a little humility and respect and maybe then your excellent team of great footballers would get the respect they undoubtedly deserve.”

    Dozinthesevntees deserves the credit for this succinct summing up of the Premier League situation and the reason why there are only 4-5 real contenders and the rest of us may as well be shit on their shoes.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I cannot wait for the day the top four or five teams disappear of to play in some European Super League that is played out across the Middle East, Asia and the United States. The rest of us will gladly get on with it and thrive as a result.

    1. Actually you haven’t explained anything. Allow me to summarize your points: Stoke City used to be good. The Premier League exists. Now PL teams get a bigger portion of the pie than lower-league teams, maybe making it a bit tougher for recently promoted teams to compete. Since Stoke has less money than teams like Arsenal, their brand of inferior football is something to be proud of.

      By focusing on the creation of the PL, you completely ignore the changing worldwide business of football. Translation: It’s not the Premier League’s fault that it takes more money than ever to run a successful top-flight team. Look abroad, to Spain and Italy – top English clubs have to compete with them for signings and trophies.

      In any case, I fail to see how your defense of your club is relevant in this case. Shawcross and Huth either fouled Gomes or they didn’t. Is Shawcross a reckless player? Does Stoke play rugby? Is Wenger a liar? These are the questions raised by Wenger and Shawcross’s coments. Stoke City’s finances, and your continued bitterness toward the creation of the Premier League, have no bearing on them.

      1. In that case Jeremy please explain how those teams that have been away from the trough for so long should attempt to remain there?

        The fact that these clubs have less money means we have two options, graft a la Bolton, Blackburn, Stoke etc have done and get vilified for it or roll over and get patted on the head like Burnley, Barnsley, Bradford, Swindon and now Blackpool appear to have done for you.

        I wouldn’t say I am bitter about the Premier League but I don’t think it’s all it’s cracked up to be, and that’s coming from someone who has spent 15 years following a side with the sole aim of getting there. It’s relatively uncompetitive given the disparity of funding between the clubs and the status quo can only be affected when someone with an insane amount of money comes in like the Arabs at Manchester City or Abramovic at Chelsea.

        With regard to your comments about the post being irrelevant to the debate at hand that’s your opinion. But would you like to respond to either post number 61 or 62 that I made as they are ?

  27. OMG did anyone see that in he game last night??!!

    I can’t have been the only one to see shawcross run onto the pitch and maliciously hack down Theo!!!

    The dirty northerner!

  28. That post from the oatcake is bang on. Some of the rubbish spouted by Arsenal followers Since Ramseys injury has been laughable. On and on and on. I look forward to the next set of dubious facts about Ryan Shawcross stumbled upon and embellished by the Arsenal cyber warriors.

  29. First of all, from Sheffield Wednesday official website:

    “Francis Jeffers – sidelined for two months with ankle ligament damage – handed Laws a major boost by taking a place on the substitutes bench.”

    Secondly, from an Everton website (pre-Shawcross):

    Those glass ankles
    .. and that bad attitude”

    Third, from an ARSENAL website (pre-Shawcross):

    “franny (glass ankles) jeffers”

    And four:

    I saw this ‘murderous’ challenge. Shawcross, aged 19 and playing in his 12th professional match, tried to knick the ball from Jeffers and stood on his foot, twisting his ankle. No yellow card.

    No chance any of the facts will register with Arsenal fans though.

    Oh, and the ‘maimed’ Adebayor played 2 weeks later.

  30. Not to mention the reason for Ryans revenge on Adebayor, and thats what it was,and goes on in most games was the flying kick in chest (heart region) that went unpunished by the ref.

  31. It was punished (unlike Shawcross), Adebayor’s should have been a straight red though.

    40 Adebayor is booked for a late challenge on Shawcross in which he catches him with his studs.

    54 Shawcross catches Adebayor with a challenge but the striker is back on his feet and playing on.

  32. Oops, my final ‘fact’ didn’t post. The ‘maimed’ Adebayor played on for 20 minutes.

    73 Adebayor is replaced with Vela.

  33. It is blatantly obvious that it is, always has been and always will be impossible to argue(or even discuss anything) with a dogmatic fool that prefers comforting lies to harsh reality.
    Wenger and his pretentious legion of dogmatic fools should be deported to planet Earth and pointed in the direction of a psychiatrist.


  34. I see the Arsenal whine fest has begun, good god year after year you whine about teams playing rough with you. Guess what Stoke plays to their strength which is physical play, they don’t nor should they play to Arsenal’s strength and get slaughtered. It also amazes me that Arsenal fans are quick to forget the dirty play of their players , how hypocritical. But remember everyone, you can not criticize Arsenal or Wenger, they are always right even when Wenger doesn’t see anything or their team plays dirty. Are you going to complain about how the big bad Swiss beat up poor little Walcott as well?

  35. Further to above, I believe Shawcross also broke someone’s leg playing on loan in Belgium from Man Utd. It was alleged that Shawcross was moved on by Man U because of his over-aggressive approach. Regarding the Adebayor assault – justifying it as revenge simply proves the point that Shawcross DOES make premeditated challenges aiming to injure!

    For the record, I played several hundred non-league games and saw very, very few comparable tackles. Can only recall a couple of broken legs. Yes – there is violence at non-league level but players are vey rarely “done” like that. There is some respect for the fact that we all had to earn a living on the Monday! I broke several minor bones – including a nose and ribs due to stray elbows – but can’t ever recall someone going in on me late, high and with studs showing.

    Equally, I don’t condone malicious challenges anywhere. For example the Lichtenstein player’s awful challenge on Hutton last night. Also De Jong and van Bommel’s disgraceful fouling during the World Cup Final. And Arsenal players have been guilty in the past – Gallas against Bolton last season and van Persie and Bergkamp also have/had a nasty streak.

    I agree with the Stoke fan’s comments about the Premier League and the impossibility of middle-ranking teams ever competing for honours. It was much more competitive (and interesting) in the old days – although the quality of football was lower. So play hard, play defensively, but there is no place for deliberately trying to injure players. Ever.

  36. And everyone knows that Shawcross set out to break Ramsey’s leg that day. That was his sole purpose in the match and knew that from the moment he got up in the morning. Give me a break.

  37. Unbelievable. Completely absurd. I’m wasting my breath I know.

    1) Shawcross was sent to Belgium as a 17 year old by Alex Ferguson. He made one bad challenge that made it to youtube. Nobody was injured. (I can’t believe this has now become another leg break, its surreal)

    2) If Shawcross was turfed out of Old Trafford. Why did Ferguson insist on a buy-back clause? Any team that makes a bid, Man Utd can have Shawcross for £1 more. Ferguson talks about Shawcross in glowing terms.

    If you don’t take Stoke fans word for it, listen to Don Howe, and it has to be said, to vast majority of neutral observers. I think the lack of condemnation for Shawcross in wider footballing circles has provoked this sustained Arsenal campaign of hate and lies to be honest. You’re all, to quote Shawcross, just weird.

    “When I broke my leg I didn’t even look at the goalkeeper, and he didn’t look at me.

    “We were just two committed men trying to win the ball – I believe it was the same between Ramsey and Shawcross.

    “It was two players going for it, two players trying to win the ball and they made contact. Unfortunately for our boy, he came out of it badly. But it could have been the other way around…”

  38. Can I plead for some common sense here or am I wasting my time ?

    I was at both Stoke v Arsenal matches – In the first game Adeybayor had earlier smashed Ryan Shawcross to the ground with a reckless challange on him. all of you American Arsenal fans wont have seen that though because what gets published and televised suits the arguement of the masses, the majority, the club with all the money – Not a little club like Stoke City FC.

    I was also at the game against Sheffield Wednesday when Francis Jeffers was injured – He DID NOT BREAK HIS LEG OR ANKLE and was back playing a couple of weeks later. Ryan Shawcross HAS NOT BROKEN ANYONE ELSES LEG OR ANKLE EITHER !!!!

    The Ramsey challenge was a clumsey one but in no way was it malicious, pre-meditated or did it intend to harm. IF you want to see an example of blatant thuggery watch Van Persies assault of Thomas Sorrensen (which led to his sending off) in the first game at Stoke.

    Arsene Wenger is a clever, calculated man – His comments ahead of the game against Blackburn were there said to try and influence the referee (the same referee who had reffed the Stoke v Tottenham game) – The final fact is that RYAN SHAWCROSS DID NOT KICK GOMEZ !!!

    I dont know how many of you support Baseball but Arsenal are our equivalent of the New York Yankees (except they havent won anything) – Real supporters support teams like Stoke City (the second oldest team in English football) and put up with years of misery to final reach the top division – We should be allowed to enjoy what we acheived without lies, deceipt and comtempt.

    Stoke City have had to play in a certain way (tough but NOT dirty) to stand any chance of bridging the huge financial gap inthe English game between the few rich teams (Arsenal, Man Utd, Liverpool, Chelsea and now Man City) and everyone else.

    So continue to be a ‘Yankees fan’ if you must or maybe, just maybe take a look outside teh media favourites – Get behind a ‘little’ team and become part of something real, something with life, something with passion that is not a corporation or a media brand.

  39. I think events directly after the challenge on Ramsey sum up the character of Arsenal and there players. They all crowded round the ref, wanting a red card, whilst STOKE’s Glenn Whelen comforted Ramsey. Arsenal players had no interest in his welfare at the time so why should people care now?

  40. Checked out Shawcross’s stats at ESPN. In the last two seasons, he committed 35 fouls each year. He certainly is a physical player.

    That doesn’t mean he meant to break the guy’s leg.

    1. He’s a defender who has received one red card in his career. Not aimed at you Yespage, but defenders make lots of tackles so it’s not unheard of for them to be called for fouls.

      The Gaffer

  41. These messages on here just go to show the total re-writing of past events to suit someone’s arguments.
    The FA should have shown some balls and charged Wenger for dragging all this shit up again, for what seems to be his ever growing bunch of moronic, cult-like followers to embelish with fabricated truths.

    There are lies, damned lies, Arsene Wenger and Arsenal fans.(especially Stateside, it would appear)


  42. “Where is Shawcross when you need him?”

    “Or Lithium”

    I saw this same post combination yesterday on a different forum.

    Anyone would think its one person posting as a comedy double act. No. To quote Shawcross, that’s just weird.


    Shawcross was 107th in the list of fouls committed in the Premier League last season. Less than one per game.

    1. He also had 8 yellows and was near the top in cards for the league. I’m a Stoke fan. But the stats do indicate that he is physical. But the underlying truth is that none of this means he meant to hurt the player in the 50-50 ball. Shawcross looked utterly distraught after the incident. So either it was an unfortunate chance or he is a sociopath.

  43. I’m going to have to quote one of my freinds facebook posts ‘I would like to congradulate Blackpool for playing the right way. I hope they stay up’

    I think this sums up Arsenal fans perfectly. If a team doesn’t roll over, let them dance around the pitch and score 6 past them, then they are not playing the right way? Get real. Arsenal will always struggle against stoke because they cannot break us down easily. You do not hear Man utd or Chelsea fans complaining because they have real quality and can get around all the challenges faced in the EPL.

    Also, I would like to point out that just 3 games into the season and Arsenal have lost Van Persie, Walcott and I think Nasri to injury. I suppose this is all Shawcross’s fault? Arsenal want to look at there own training regime to find out why their players cannot cope with the English game. It cannot be coincidence that they pick up so many injuries.

  44. Quite funny how stubborn some are in defending Shawcross. The evidence is there right in front of you, 3 broken legs and a player put out with injury for 3-4 weeks after an unnecessary tackle on the sidelines. Don’t accuse Wenger in the future when he says he didn’t zee something.

    1. 3 broken legs? Get your facts straight, you’re just jumping on the bandwagon. 1 broken leg, 2 injuries. Players get injured through challenges with defenders every week. That doesn’t mean anybody intentially goes out to harm another player. IT’s JUST FOOTBALL!!!!

  45. I admire Wenger’s ability to identify and nurture young talent, and his adherence to “good” football.

    But at the same time, I think if he feels that strongly about violent fouls, maybe he should hand back all the medals he won back in the day when Arsenal were one of the dirtiest teams in the league (i.e. when they actually used to win things)

  46. Gaffer…Thanks for removing that idiot’s vitriolic rant.

    You might as well also remove mine and my comedy partner’s (Yank Nick) as they make no sense out of context. Also, I’m certain Boney’s was aimed at the jerk and not Rakeback.

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