By Ollie Irish
WARNING: The gallery below does include some quite graphic images of Aaron Ramsey’s leg injury, which you are perfectly free not to look at. However, I think as football fans we should not shy away from an aspect of the modern game that is hard to stomach but must not be ignored, namely its increasingly violent physicality. Football is a hard and physical game, of course, but the FA must do something to properly penalise clubs which adopt a “they don’t like it up ’em” approach against technically superior opponents. To the likes of Tony Pulis and Sam Allardyce – that means you.
Football should not be a blood sport, but that’s the way it’s going in England, a perverse nation where the likes of brave foot solider Terry Butcher (bloody headband et al) are eulogised above artists like Matt Le Tisser. Kicking other teams off the park is simply not acceptable, especially not in an era when players are so fit and strong.
I don’t really know what else to say to add to the many thousands of words that have already been written about the Shawcross/Ramsey incident, which overshadowed a terrific win for Arsenal. But three bad breaks in four years suffered by Wenger’s players, and all tackles made by limited English players on their own ground – with the home crowd almost baying for blood – against more technical non-English players is more than just a coincidence, clearly. As I said above, it’s time for the FA to act. And not just the FA. The hyperbolic media, spearheaded by Sky Sports with its gladiatorial match trailers, must also shoulder some responsibility, if only for spreading the (xenophobic) myth that Arsenal don’t like it up ’em. As has been pointed out elsewhere, who does like it up ’em?