Liam Ridgewell’s hard tackle on Theo Walcott: fair or foul?

Ollie Irish

20th, October 2009


Whisper it, but Birmingham City might have even surpassed Spurs as the club most hated by Arsenal fans – for now, at least.

After Martin Taylor’s tackle on Eduardo, and the chants about Taylor aimed at Arsene Wenger and co. on Saturday, there’s the fierce tackle by Liam Ridgewell on Theo Walcott:

Hmm, big English donkey defender demolishes elegant Arsenal forward? It’s Taylor v Eduardo all over again, only without such a bone-crunching aftermath.

I would describe Ridgewell’s tackle as about as unfair as a fair tackle can be, if that makes sense. In other words, I believe the Blues defender intended to leave Walcott in a heap, but in a manner Alex McLeish compared to your average Stuart Pearce tackle. Former Premier League referee Dermot McGallagher said it was the type of mand-and-ball tackle that had been “outlawed”.

Now, as Arseblog pointed out earlier this week, Ridgewell’s tackle was essentially NO different to the type of reducer dished out by many Arsenal bruisers in the past, including ugly lumps like Steve Bould, Martin Keown and Tony Adams. So, people in glass houses etc. But that doesn’t make it right either.

What’s your opinion: was Ridgwell’s tackle fair or foul? As I say above, I think it’s right on the limit of what constitutes a fair tackle.

Posted in Arsenal, Birmingham City, Featured, Opinion

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  1. dog says:

    bunch ov divs,give me my dummy.

  2. dog says:

    hows the voyeur getting on

  3. Martin says:

    Walcott will need to learn how to take tackles like this if he wants to be the world class super star arsenal are sounding him to be! Far too weak right now in my opinion!

  4. Masaccio says:

    Please tell me you don’t get paid to write this drivel, please remember football is a mans game – a contact sport (well it used to be). If people like you got their way we’d share out the titles and cups to the top four clubs without them having to play a game. Ridgewell clearly gets the ball and limp walcott falls over his trailing leg like a poor lamb he is, maybe the one-eyed frenchman should get a grip with his usual bleatings that one of his players has been tackled by a member of the opposing team?

  5. Meji says:

    Fair tackle. I like Walcott and I like Arsenal but he has to strengthen up…jump over these tackles etc etc.

    C Ronaldo has taken some nasty tackles in his day..I’m surprised he hasn’t been injured more often. But Ronaldo rolls (dives) with some of these nasty tackles which reduces the impact…To make it at the top level and stay fit Walcott is going to have to be more evasive.

  6. Dan says:

    He got the ball first, and cleanly. Brilliant tackle.

  7. dave says:

    Its a proper tackle, he got the ball and let the man know he’s in a game aswell. If tackles like this are being question then we might aswell make it a no contact sport. quality defending in my opinion. walcott needs to toughen up

  8. Ollie says:

    For the record, I did say it was a fair tackle, and voted accordingly.

  9. andrew says:

    If it was Dixon or Winterburn then Arsenal fans would have been drooling over that tackle. It was superb, no question.

    Grow up you lot, or are you lot as soft as your players?

  10. James says:

    Fair tackle, got the ball, had enough of that moron wenger moaning all the time!!!! as a birmingham city supporter i admit taylors tackle was clumsy and he was first to admit it and say sorry! but wenger moans and moans and moans just because arsenal aint won nothing for years……big deal!!!! grow up wenger you stupid french c@#t!! cant wait to see u at st andrews for the return match and put a dent in ur shitty teams europa league dreams!!!

  11. andrew says:

    you also have to bear in mind that he played on for another 30 minutes, couldn’t have been that bad.

  12. JJ says:

    Was a very good, but firm, tackle.

    If I remember correctly, before the season started Walcott said that he had toughened up and was looking forward to getting kicked around more.

    I guess he’s not so up for it now…

  13. TonyS says:

    I take it he got the ball first and then pulled out a rusty saw and cut off all Theo’s limbs then that would be OK – he got the ball first right?

    What did Ron Atkinson call these tackles, think it was a “reducer”?

    What ever happened to Big Ron anyway? – He was a true typical English gent. Not like that snivelling foreigner Walcott.

  14. Nick says:

    Can’t see what the fuss is about, clearly got the ball, barely touched Walcott, great tackle, kind you see week in week out across English football. You can’t breathe on an Arsenal player without their fans getting their handbags out!

  15. Mw says:

    Perfect tackle, hit your man hard early on let him know he’s got a game on, especially when he has pace to burn and can give you a hard afternoon. Based on Match of the Day highlights, when Walcott came back on he flicked the ball over Ridgewell, drove for the penalty box and let fly- great response from him too…

  16. John Cruz says:

    That was a needless and unintelligent tackle. It can almost even described as cowardly. It was certainly designed to injure and or intimidate. Walcott was not even aware he was there, so he could easily have nicked the ball away without tackling. Yet, some morons are posting here that walcott should have riden the challenged or skipped out of the way. Watch the video again, he knew nothing about Ridgewell being there until he was cut down.

    Alex McLeish is sending out his teams against arsenal with clear instructions on maiming/injuring players. Until Birmingham change this unskilled manager, they will be a team built for brute (and unintelligent) football that will go up and down every other season.

    Football is a contact sport, but it is also a game that demands intelligence. The tackling of Martin taylor and now Liam Ridgewell are anything but intelligent.

  17. Kipmonster says:

    Ridgewell is a licensed thug with a history of thuggish dangerous tackles. He has done it before against Arsenal when with Villa he tackled Van Persie thigh high & trod on his back. It is only good luck that to date he hasn’t caused an ‘Eduardo’ style serious injury OR has he ? You only have to look at Ridgewell’s ugly face ……… case closed !!
    I wouldn’t expect Brummie fans who are a chip off the Ridgewell block to agree as proved by their Eduardo chant on Saturday. You must be very proud but then it’s understandable blighted as you are with living in Birmingham, supporting Birmingham City whilst forever in Villa’s shadow & talking with that awful accent.

  18. Wayne Holness says:

    James you are a complete c**k!!

  19. mark says:

    I cant believe the unnecessary fuss about this… For gods sake grow up… Its a mans game, it is not a non contact sport… Arsenen stop whingeing, and the same goes for the pathetic supporters who think this type of tackle should be banned… Viera and crew, would not have thought twice about it, and the likes of the tackles that trevor Francis, Andy Gray Glenn Hoddle, chris waddle etc..etc.. etc had to put up with… Move on…

  20. James says:

    Nice to see everyone agrees it was a fair but firm tackle, shame only the arsenal manager thinks otherwise. Walcott played on like people said, bout time the people at the FA called mr wenger for a long chat! but i guess when our bitter rivals the villa, man city are better than his team, he will cry more!!! hopefully the blue boys will give him something to cry about when we have our return match!!! KEEP RIGHT ON TO THE END OF THE ROAD.

  21. James says:

    i think i dislike arsenal more than man utd, chelsea and villa all put together!!!! the french hey!!! cry babies!!!!

  22. Larry Goons says:

    If the objective of tackling is to win possession for your team, then I fail to see the point in Liam Ridgewell’s tackle. Walcott was unaware he was there as Walcott was paying attention to another Brum player behind him. Walcott had also slightly over played the ball forwards, so Ridgewell was better placed to get to the ball before him. So, a good defender or footballer would just have nicked the ball by poking it away and towards his own player.

    So, if Ridgewell is a good defender, then his motive would be the Alex McLeish style motive of intimidating or injuring more skilled players by hacking them down. I see no other reason, unless Ridgewell is just as ‘clumsy’ as martin taylor had been against eduardo.

    You gotta laugh at the ‘clumsy’ claims by Brum players/mgt/fans of martyin taylor who cannot hurt a fly.

    As an arsenal fan, I was extatic when b’ham went down season before last, bcos I felt they cost us the title (poor refereeing and the maiming of our player which had terrible psychological impact on the team). Like an earlier poster, I too look forward to the return leg, and know with absolute confidence that we will hammer you at home with a higher margin than in this match. I will again enjoy seeing you go down at the end of this season or next. As long as mcleish remains your manager, new money will do nothing for you. He is unintelligent and likes unintelligent and brutish players only. That can only get you so much (in the championship). The premier league demands skill, and b’ham no nothing about that.

  23. James says:

    Haha typical arsenal fans slagging everyone else off, a team of pussys ran by an overrated idiot, the only reason they won anything all them years ago was because of henry, wright, bergkamp!!! as a brummie we now we are shit gotta blame the old board for that, thats a different story!!! i used to like arsenal but i look forward to them in the europa league next season and wenger crying because a tackle broke van persies fingernail!!!! i cant wait now to see them fail AGAIN!!! if u arsenal girlies cant take a tackle why dont u support ur local cricket team. You sad muppets. PS. if we stay up we will be another team for u twats to worry about next season.

  24. James says:

    Just read that comment about it being birminghams fault arsenal never won the title…haha are u on drugs??? like the rest of us ur miles behind the big 4 which u are no longer in. Spurs will be above u come end of the season!!! and if we did cost u the title…..GOOD!!!!

  25. Brigham says:

    I often thought you Brummies were thick and some of the comments from your fans on this subject prove it.

    It was a hard tackle without doubt, but to say its a mans game – blah, blah, blah – change the record you dumb muppets. Enjoy your one season back in the big time you bad speaking chopsy fools as you will soon be back where you belong.

    Any team with that racist thug Bowyer in it deserves to win nowt.

  26. Larry Goons says:

    Yes, birmingham cost us the title .. very clearly. Our season (and even our capt) were derailed on that day. We have a fairly yound and inexperienced side, and they could never get the totally detached leg and the abominable refereeing out of their psyche. Well, I guess you are too thick to even comprehend that.

    The best team in your zone, Villa, is only a top-6 team, and you have endured years and years of living in their shadows and going up and down the leagues like a yo-yo. No wonder you are naturally bitter. It seems the average IQ in ur neck of the woods is very very low, hence your fans can break out into a chant like that when walcott was cut down.

    As to spurs finishing above us, or us not being 1st or 2nd, dream on. We do it in style, with little or no money — year after year. Eat your hearts out with envy and bitterness. No wonder your poxy team and manager welcomes any opportunity to make news by maiming or attempting to maim one of our players.

  27. MattyB says:

    These gooners do love a good cry don’t they?! Maybe they’re pissed off the only Englishman in their entire pussyhole squad has got hurt. Well I say good! With a bit of luck he won’t make it to South Africa next year

  28. Pete says:

    Wonderful tackle

  29. Raters says:

    Arsenal fans need to take a closer look at their own team before they comment about otherr team players. But of course, that won;t happen.

  30. Raters says:

    “Average IQ in UR neck of the woods”

    Oh dear oh dear, chav talk alert, learn to spell. UR is spelt YOUR. Whats that about IQ?

    And MattyB, your a plonker with those comments, in fact your bringing your self down to their level.

  31. James says:

    ok…. i look forward to seeing the gunners winning the prem league!!!! hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha dream on boys ur players are whiners, divers and just out and out pussys!!!! i know we aint gonna do anything but i am SO lookin forward to watching u cockney wankers winning nothing yet again!!!

  32. Mike says:

    I really like the way Arsenal play and I give full credit to Arsene Wenger for that but really, Larry Goons and one or two others on here, get some perspective. YOU lost the title, strong teams respond positively to adversity and on the day that Eduardo suffered that horrific injruy and for some time afterwards Arsenal did not do that – it’s one of those maturity issues they have to deal with. The reason Blues fans spoke out for Taylor was because he had amassed very few cards (I think it’s close to single figures) in his long career to the date of that bloody awful tackle and our opinion of him is that he is a big soft lad. Trust me, it was clumsy, horrific but clumsy. As a Brummie, I would like to apologise for the stupid chanting on Saturday it’s indicative of the pathetic insults that have been exchanged by the worst of both sets of supporters since the incident. Good luck with your entertaining football, I hope it brings results but please, try and keep the toys where they belong.

  33. James says:

    So i spelt ‘ur’ wrong, i’m sorry….. you and YOUR arsenal team and fans are a bunch of morons!!!! hope thats better. i so hope the spurs finish above you lot!!! that would be so sweet.

  34. Jack says:

    it was a fair tackle end of… im an arsenal fan, we do too much bitchin an moanin about tackles, and about our players being roughed up… no one was complaining when vermalen went in hard in the second half, in fact it got an big cheer… most of our team, are built like teenagers who havent properly matured yet… we need to do what other teams do when faced with these kind of tactics, we need to return the favour in kind… when one of our players recieves a rough tackle, or is getting a hard time, someone else in the team steps up and then dishes out some of the same… thats what the inviceables used to do!!!!!!

  35. Jack says:

    spelled invincibles wrong there…lol

  36. brigham says:

    Mike, some decent and fair enough points there mate and no need to apologise for a few ‘morons’ who chanted that on Saturday. I met a few of your fans before the game and shares a pint and a chat and Taylor was NOT mentioned once as it goes.

    As I stated in my earlier post, I thought it was a hard tackle and close to being a bit late with regards the follow through in so much as I think Ridgewell knew what he was doing. But that is all part of the game to a certain extent, I just feel it was a rash challenge and in wake of the ‘Taylor’ incident could have turned the game nasty if you think about it.

    As for you James, I am glad that I am a ‘moron’ as it makes running my very successful business such a chore, but hey, it works for me.

    MattyB, if you honestly wish injury upon an English player and one who in particular has helped England to qualify, then you need to get a life young man.

  37. TonyM says:

    james u knob, what about birmingham fans chanting taylors name after that tackle. what a bunch of monkeys you are.
    In my opinion it was an illegal tackle. ridgewell sprints and launhces himself at walcott. over the top aggression. if walcotts right leg hadn’t been off the ground he would have smashed it.. a thugs move, and we know there’s plenty of thugs playing for Birmingham. oh and i hope you get relegated again. I cant tell you how happy i was when you went down last time

  38. Larry Goons says:

    Hey Mike, thanks for your post. You are a gentleman, and an exception to what we have come to expect from birmingham fans.

    The reason most arsenal fans were so riled over the Eduardo incident was that we had a player with a horrific injury, had just suffered one of the worst refereeing injustices, and the manager and players of birmingham went on the offensive straight-away over an understandably emotional statement wenger made about having taylor banned. It was like arsenal had committed the most grievous of crimes and birmingham and taylor were the victims (taylor was actually regularly called and treated like the victim). This was painfully played out in the media over the following few weeks. The bitterness and hatred against birmingham that brought to many gunners was massive.

    So, its understandable that Taylor probably never intended the end result to be that way, but I still believe he deliberately tried to intimidate eduardo with his tackle.

    On the subject of our collapse after that incident (we were 6 points clear at the top), thats purely down to inexperience and bad leadership on the part of Gallas. He got emotionally dragged into the massive injustice of that day and compromised his ability to provide the much needed steely leadership needed at the time.

    If there are more brummy fans like yourself, perhaps some of us arsenal fans could learn to start liking birmingham again (yeah, I really loved birmingham, from when steve bruce was there and we used to loan you young players every year).

  39. James says:

    i’d like to say sorry to 99 per cent of arsenal fans for my comments, at the end of the day it was wrong for the small amound chanting taylors name. as for the tackle fair but firm good tackle what we sadly miss in our game. arsenal play great football and i hope they do well. again sorry for comments made, look forward to when you visit st.andrews for the return game. sadly though mr wenger does need to keep his thoughts to himself regarding walcotts injury.

  40. willvbcfc says:

    I can’t believe some of the comments on here.

    Anyone who genuinely believes that that was anywhere near a foul shouldn’t be commenting on football because they honestly don’t have a clue whatsoever.

    That’s the type of brilliantly timed, crunching challenge every manager in the world wants their defenders to make and I applaud Liam for his guts and determination to get to the ball ahead of Walcott.

    It’s a shame Walcott got injured, but 99% of players would’ve just dusted themselves down and got on with the game.

    It’s seriously ridiculous that Arsene Wenger is trying to stir up trouble once again and I’ve had enough of his misguided ramblings.

  41. whinging arses says:

    kipwhingers you dummy “You only have to look at Ridgewell’s ugly face and I wouldn’t expect Brummie fans who are a chip off the Ridgewell block to agree “as ridgewell is from london you thicko your slaging your own not a brummie’
    if he’s everything you say then he learn’t in your dump.
    i’d rather be blighted in the midlands than live in that smell hole with it’s sewage running through the middle of the town.
    riggers had his leg broken last season , but our club doesn’t go round moaning about a tackle which is part of the game and blaming everyone else for what happens on the pitch but never takes any blame for what their players do = hypocrites
    we’ve had 6 to 10 players missing every game this season but we get on with it like real men and don’t go sulking to the press like a five year old

  42. independant fan says:

    Ridgewell’s tackle wasn’t over the top of the ball or aimed at Walcott. He got the ball, in the follow through he clattered Walcott and no way was it a foul or even a booking. When football is played at a hundred miles an hour in these days of increased fitness, then unfortunately these type of injuries might happen. Wenger and Ferguson are great for their clubs but detested by opponents, they have to learn live by the sword, die by the sword and not to be two faced.

  43. brigham says:

    Fair enough mate and apology accepted and I don’t think any of us want tackling taken out of the game, but I also think Arsene is allowed to comment on his own players, just as Eck is for Birmingham.

  44. Larry Goons says:

    Some of you guys commenting are just plain ridiculous. Now, how has arsene wenger tried to stir up trouble exactly? Please, point to a comment he made which is stirring up trouble.

    I watched the incident, and no way was it a fair tackle. He could have got the ball and maintained possession for his team, instead he chose to dive in with a needless tackle that has led to another playing being injured and being sidelined for at least a month. This is not about birmingham per se, but about playing fair and intelligently.

    “That’s the type of brilliantly timed, crunching challenge every manager in the world wants their defenders to make and I applaud Liam for his guts and determination to get to the ball ahead of Walcott. It’s a shame Walcott got injured, but 99% of players would’ve just dusted themselves down and got on with the game.”

    That tackle was brilliantly timed? He hacks a player who was unaware he was there down, does in his knee ligaments, and he is to be applauded for being: stupid/unintelligent/a-poor-player/or-just-clumsy-like-taylor? If you knee ligament is done, you don’t just get up and dust yourself down (unless you are bionic). With your blind defense of your team, and seeming IQ levels, I ask myself why I should exchange any more messages via this platform with u on the subject. Keep your moronic opinions. Your team lacks quality, but instead of your manager seeking to improve their quality, he sends out his players to reduce the opponents. Lets see if that strategy will be sufficient to keep you up another season. Nuff said.

  45. willvbcfc says:

    Larry Goons – you’ve got to be joking.

    You should be embarrassed to call yourself a football fan if you see that kind of challenge as anywhere near an offense. Passion in the game is dying because of fans like you.

    I’ll be the first to slag off the likes of Diouf for diving in recklessly with two feet. However when an honest guy like Ridgewell does his job PERFECTLY by timing his challenge excellently then I’m sure most football fans would agree he deserves to be lauded, not castigated.

    At the moment, the poll shows that 70% of fans agree with me – even on this Arsenal/top four-based website! Stats prove you’re the one talking out of your arse.

  46. Maccapacca says:

    What is going on here. Ridgewell slides in wins the 50-50, Walcott gets clobbered. Oh I get it, Arsenal don’t win their fair share of 50-50s so they want them classified as fouls.

    “about as unfair as a fair tackle can be” – what’s not to get here, it’s not a bloody foul! Go and play netball you bunch of nancy boys.

  47. anon says:

    How the heel is that a fair tackle- larry goons is right. i bet that if you lot were walcott you wouldve gone crying. liam ridgewell is a thug what is the point of a perfect challenge that damages a guy’s ligaments???????????????

  48. Johnny Deigh says:

    This tackle was very similar to De Jong’s double leg-break on Ben Arfa. And a lot of the Man City fans didn’t think there was anything wrong with that tackle either. They think it’s okay to go through a player in order to win the ball, breaking his leg in the process.

  49. […] second yellow as well for raking his studs down Theo’s back (Ridgewell has form against Theo, remember this […]

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