Showing posts with label Ryan Shawcross. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ryan Shawcross. Show all posts

16 January 2016

Open Letter to the outcake eatin' Potters...

Here we go again, eh? Before getting too far into it, let's bury at least one hatchet, eh? Shawcross's scything of Ramsey is seen 'round these parts as horrific accident brought on by bad timing, not sinister intent. It was horrific to watch, and you can see how shaken Shawcross was in its aftermath. One other factor Gooners overlook is the help Glenn Whelan offered to Ramsey as he lay there on the pitch. To say that the incident only poured more fuel on an already burning fire is an understatement. Keep in mind, though, that by this point, we'd already witness two other similarly stomach-turning leg-breakings, those of Abou Diaby and of Eduardo da Silva. "Once bitten, twice shy" and all. Thrice broken? Well, you can see where we might get upset.

11 September 2015

Open Letter to those oatcake eatin' Potters

Dear Stoke:
Well, we're at it again, aren't we? Another chapter in the seemingly endless psychodrama that is the Stoke-Arsenal hate-fest. In this corner, we apparently have the knuckle-dragging Orcs of Stoke, making up in stitches and scars what they lack in teeth or manners; in the other, we have the ostensibly effete Gunners, sipping chardonnay and escargot while eschewing the hoi polloi and nitty gritty. Each of us comes from central casting, falling into a script so predictable that even Jerry Bruckheimer slaps his head in stupefaction. For each of us, it's a role we seemingly have no choice to but to play, each hating the other when, perhaps, we should be hating the script itself.

05 December 2014

Shawcross, Ramsey, straw-men or symbols?

Ever since that fateful day in February 2010, the Stoke-Arsenal rivalry has become one of the most fervent fixtures of any Prem season. At the Arsenal end, of course, we have Tottenham and Man U. Stoke have West Brom and Port Vale. Stoke-Arsenal, especially at Britannia, has become a match marked by one horrific tackle, a tackle thas has reduced two men to caricatures of their respective clubs while reducing fans on both sides to foaming-at-the-mouth lunatics. The storyline could come from right out of The Hunger Games.

An open letter to Ryan Shawcross

Dear Ryan—
If I may be so bold as to address by your first name, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Jon Shay. I'm a Gooner. I live in the United States in a small town by the name of Evanston. It's a suburb just north of Chicago, Illinois. I've been a Gooner ever since stumbling across some First Division highlights at some point in the early 80's. Late night telly. Truth be told, I was lookin' for The Young Ones. When I learnt that there was such a thing as professional soccer football, mate, I was floored. Naturally, I fell in love, what with the red-and-white and my red-green color-blindness and the name itself: Arsenal. None of that -wich or -ton or City. Just Arsenal.

Growing up as a footballer in America, I've had to learn to deal with more than my fair share of goons (I know, ironic, innit?). In the Chicago Catholic League, I had to face off against more than a few American footballers who were only playing proper football to keep up their fitness. I'm full-grown now, measuring a hulking 1.7m and some 10 stone, but back then, I was a more modest 1.5m and 9 stone (more like 8, but give a guy a break). On a twice-weekly basis, I had to square off against opponents quite a bit taller and considerably stockier than me. Suffice it to say, I was floored, leveled, and stampeded on a regular basis. I remember one match in particular when I found myself in the area when a teammate's cross sailed over my head. A defender cold-cocked me with a fore-arm shiver, right between my shoulder-blades, and I was seein' stars. It probably took me 10 minutes before I could see straight.

Even without realising it, I was a Gooner in how I played. I'm not talking so much about the current squad. I'm a feisty, third-generation Irish-American and look more to Liam Brady for my inspiration than to, say, Aaron Ramsey, just to pluck a random name from the sky. I loved having the ball at my feet, but I loved more than that creating chances for my mates. A clever through-ball, a lofted cross, whatever artistry was available. I can hardly claim to have been a world-beater, though, not by any stretch, and so I end up living vicariously through those who play for Arsenal, imagining, remembering, visualizing myself as Brady or Ramsey or Cazorla—far-fetched, I know!—but dribbling, passing, carving out chances for others...

And this brings me back to you. Not you, specifically, but maybe so. You represent something to me personally and, yes, to Gooners more broadly. Whether you chose the role or had it thrust upon you is not my concern. For whatever reason, Ryan (again, a thousand pardons for the boldness of using your first name), you have come to embody a baldly cynical style of play that seems to borrow more from American football than from football itself. If you ever tire of the technical requirements of football, you might consider a career in rugby or Gaelic football. If you can stomach it. By the admittedly foppish rules of football, you're a right thug. By the somewhat more-rigorous "rules" of Gaelic football, friend, you're the fop.

It's not that I wish any specific harm; it's just that I wonder when, if ever, the numerous injuries you've inflicted will come back to haunt you. You're on four yellow-cards already this season, so I hope that I can safely assume that you'll be on your best behavior?

Yours truly—

27 February 2014

Stoke Preview: 99.9% Ramsey-Shawcross free!

Ever since that fateful day in February 2010, the Stoke-Arsenal rivalry has become one of the most fervent fixtures of any Prem season. At the Arsenal end, of course, we have Tottenham and Man U. Stoke have West Brom and Port Vale. Stoke-Arsenal, especially at Britannia, has become a match marked by one horrific tackle, a tackle thas has reduced two men to caricatures of their respective clubs while reducing fans on both sides to foaming-at-the-mouth lunatics. The storyline could come from right out of The Hunger Games.

Pulis rings up Shawcross

It was a slow Thursday, and Ryan was scrolling idly through twitter, checking for hashtags #supportshawcross or #potternation but, getting irritated at how many #supportaaronramsey results he was getting, slid his thumb over to the power button. A tell-tale buzz made him pause. Ryan glanced at the screen. "PULIS, T" screamed out silently. Urgently.
Ryan swallowed hard before answering. "Coach!" A little forced, Ryan thought to himself, but coach always wanted enthusiasm.
"Rye-guy! How ya doing? 'member yer ol' pal Tony? Tony P?"
Bridling a bit at the accent, the nickname, the pleading, almost needy undercurrent, Ryan managed a polite if awkward reply. "Of course, coach! How could I forget?"

23 February 2014

A chance encounter between Shawcross and Ramsey

Ryan and a few mates were sittin' at Delilah's, having a pint or two, trying to relax, when Ryan's eyes widened over the lip of his glass and saw him. Him. The man who very nearly ruined his carer. What was he doing here, in Delilah's, for crissakes? Ryan could feel the rage boiling up in him, threatening to erupt. For almost four years, Ryan had simmered and fumed, and now, here was his chance to confront his tormentor, the man who had cast himself as a victim and made Ryan into a schoolyard bully, a monster, an orc. Well, it was time to set things right. With a look of grim determination, Ryan finished his pint and slammed it down on the bar with an immediacy that silenced those around him. This was a moment he had waited for since the 27th of February, 2010...

21 September 2013

The Redemption of Ryan Shawcross

Apparently, it's all up to Aaron. It's been three years since Shawcross broke his ankle in two places with a horrific tackle. Ever since then, Stoke has loomed as a particularly evil, if inept, enemy of ours, what with their adherence to a knuckle-dragging style of football that might do better in American football than in the Prem. With the departure of Pulis,we seem to be seeing a softer side to Stoke, but hard feelings certainly define this rivalry.

I don't blame Shawcross for the actual tackle. Much. I do blame him, however, for how he's apparently handled it ever since. One can tell that, after he realized what he had done, he felt something close to remorse. However, for as much as I can tell, he has never apologized to Aaron Ramsey, not properly, at least. The closest I can come to finding an apology is a report from August 2012 that has Ramsey saying, "I'm over what happened in the past, I've moved on. I had a text off him straight after I done my leg but that was it." One does not break another's leg and then simply send a text or two.

With Stoke fans booing Ramsey whenever we travel to Brittania, the context is clear: there is very little class to be found among them. I know that not all Stoke fans are such cretins. There's at least one whom I've met face-to-face who, upon learning that I was a Gooner, apologized for the tackle and even said he wished Shawcross would've been sold on. So that's one. However, the only Potter who matters here is Shawcross, and if he can't do the right thing and apologize for something that could have ended Ramsey's career or maimed him for life, he falls far lower off of the moral ladder.

I don't think Shawcross meant to break his leg or even injure him. He was following orders to play "tough" football and took it too far. Let's remember that, at the time, he and Ramsey were fellow Welshmen, a strong enough connection that Shawcross was considered for the Welsh national team as recently as July 2012. That this possibility was scotched by Ramsey renders the point moot now, of course. His conversation with Welsh national team manager Chris Coleman suggests that Ramsey hasn't forgiven Shawcross, and why should he? The burden rests at Shawcross's feet.

However, I've come 'round to thinking that Ramsey should go over to Shawcross tomorrow, extend his hand, and say to him, "I forgive you." Force the man to do what he apparently can't or won't do on his own. I'm not invoking any spiritual, moral, or religious platitudes. I'm not looking for a tearful embrace followed by both squads linking arms and signing kumbaya. I just want this sorry saga laid to rest. If Shawcross can look Ramsey in the eye, shake his hand, and apologize, great. We'll still go out and thrash them anyway, hopefully highlighted by a Ramsey goal or two and a few figurative broken ankles—I'm borrowing from basketball here, when one fakes a defender so thoroughly that he trips over his own feet.

If Shawcross snubs him, fine. We'll know what we've long suspected and should show no mercy to Stoke for as long as Shawcross features for them. Neanderthals who play that way can evolve, but until they develop some level of respect for the game, they're not worth the time or energy we might invest in hating them. We'll know who he is and what he's made of but should regard him with the same mix of scorn, disgust, and pity we might show to a garden slug. We can then direct our hate and vitriol at people who see fit to drop chemical weapons or show up at shopping malls and open fire.

In either case, let's hope the lads go into tomorrow's match with fire in their bellies and put Stoke on their collective arses so fast they won't know what hit them. Southampton's win over Liverpool means we could go top of the table with a win. Özil is set to make his Emirates appearance tomorrow, which should be momentous, and we'll have Arteta and Sanogo both available as well. We've weathered a fair number of early-season injuries and look set to strengthen. Stoke has had some strong showings, drawing with Man City last week, winning three, and losing narrowly to Liverpool in week one, but they've only scored three goals in four Prem matches. Even under new manager Mark Hughes, we pretty much know what to expect: rugged football, a stingy keeper, and a fair amount of hoofing it forward whenever they do get the ball. Özil's ability to unlock tight defenses will be put to the test, and he'll get his first real taste of Prem football, such as it's played by the likes of Stoke, but in the end, it's hard to resist the form we're in. Emotions will be at a fever pitch between the history and Özil's debut, and I see us tearing into Stoke to score at least twice.

Mr. Shawcross, you're on notice.