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Stopping at the Red Lights

Stopping at the Red Lights

Reading the media this morning, typified by the Collymore article below, and over the weekend it is hard not to return to the awful consequence of the Stoke game even though so much has been said already. I tend to look for the positives in most situations but I find it very difficult to see that football has even begun to understand what the tackle on Ramsey should be telling the game. It is misleading to say that anyone is seriously claiming that the Shawcross tackle was malicious or made with the intent to break Ramsey's leg but it was most definitely made 'in a manner considered to be careless, reckless or using excessive force' to use the laws of the game. What was Shawcross trying to do? Certainly not win possession of the ball as many claim. He tried to launch the ball and anything in its orbit into the stands. There is no need to make a tackle of that nature at anytime but certainly not against a player 5 yards inside his own half.

Those using the Gallas tackle that brought so much furore in a game against Bolton a short time back as though it justifies Shawcross`s are looking at the issue from the wrong end of the telescope. But it is still useful to illustrate the difference between controlled and uncontrolled tackling. Gallas was on his feet when tackling in a controlled manner as required by the laws of the game but mistimed it as the risk of any tackle can carry. The Bolton player however was off his feet lunging at the ball in an uncontrolled manner which he stood no more chance of winning than Gallas. The fact that the Bolton player wasn't seriously injured despite his own 'careless, reckless use of excessive force' was precisely because Gallas didn't use excessive force. Had the Bolton player exercised the same care and degree of control as Gallas he might have contested the ball with even less risk of injury.

It isn't possible to prove intent but you don't have to in order to eradicate playing "in a manner considered to be careless, reckless or using excessive force" which is where the real danger lies. That is what most of this debate is missing. No-one is out to demonise any player but Shawcross who was previously criticised for a tackle that broke Francis Jeffers ankle 30 months ago and for other incidences since was defended then as now by Stoke officials who seemingly have failed in their duty to educate their young players.

"Jeffers was playing well at the time and it was probably a new experience for Ryan to get frustrated, maybe that`s why he chased down the ball and made the tackle." Explained Stoke`s assistant manager at the time as though frustration is justification.

Nicklas Bendtner, one of Ramsey`s close friends describes the incident on Saturday "I was standing right next to Aaron, when it happened, and immediately there was no doubt at all, that he broke his leg. It was a terrible, totally mad tackle from Ryan Shawcross, and he is really smashing hard into Aaron.

"I don`t believe that anybody would try to intentionally to make an injury on another player, a fellow professional, but the way he is going into the tackle is out of control, and that doesn`t belong anywhere."

Therein lies the real issue behind this obfuscation of maliciousness, intent or partisan jibes at Arsenal for daring to highlight that footballs ostrich like mentality towards genuine problems does little to help anyone. Right now Shawcross can be made to feel he has just been unlucky and has done nothing wrong as that is what he is being told. There is little to encourage the belief that English referees will use the laws of the game to clamp down on carelessness, recklessness or the use of excessive force as the laws of the game already allow. So there is little reason to believe Shawcross and the managers that encourage players like him will understand that he has a responsibility that he and they have too often ignored in the past. Along with the pain suffered by Aaron Ramsey that is the great regret here.

There are red lights in football that players must be made to see. It`s too late to wait for the red cards. The damage has already been done by the time they see them. They need to be told they are there but right now it seems too few people can even begin to admit they exist at all.

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Date:Monday March 1 2010
Time: 11:33AM


Beat me to it, I was going to pen something along the same lines and using that Davies challenge as an illustration. I got to thinking that Gallas is a very experienced player and actually managed to protect himself from Davies lunge- whether he did so legally is another matter, I happen to think it was a foul by Gallas in doing so. Anyway, the point is, Gallas is a little more experienced and saw the tackle coming, Ramsey is still a young lad and didn't have Gallas' experience and wiliness to protect himself. All in all it's very sad and even sadder that the emdia don't even seem to be ignoring the issue, but are again trying to paint Wenger as some kind of a villain. I have honestly read someone say it's Wenger's fault for buying such brittle, slight players. Unchuffing real.
Little Dutch
01/03/2010 11:44:00
I'd have preferred to have read your piece LD! I find it absolutely incomprehensible that so many fail to see the fault in the game that this incident together with the Gallas tackle illustrates. It was a foul by Gallas but carried little risk were it not for the force generated by the Bolton player. The force used by Shawcross was grossly disproportionate to what he needed to achieve and directly responsible for Ramsey's injury. The laws specifically forbid it. Why on earth is that so hard to understand?
01/03/2010 11:56:00
I honestly can't understand why it's so hard for people in and around the sport to see. Have been having this same argument over and over with friends and family these past two days. Sadly, we could lose another TWO players in as many seasons to bone-breacking wild lunges and we'll still be told by the media that we're imagining it. Was very impressed by Patrick Barclay's analysis yesterday. He and Martin Samuels are too few and far between however. God how I'd really LOVE it if we could win this league. Wenger should dedicate the triumph sarcastically to Pulis, Allardyce and pals. And well done Benitez on his hilarious put-down of Fat-Sam's "style" and his blunt refusal to be drawn into Sky Sports attempts to ratchet up the controversy around Aaron's injury.
01/03/2010 12:08:00
The problem we face as Arsenal fans is we are so easy to attack. Yes, we do whinge about getting treated dirty more then other fans, but other fans don't have to watch there team, week in and week out getting shin kicked the way we have to watch it with literally ZERO protection from the Referee. It's absolute bull***** ******** *********, and as Arsenal fans we know it. BUT for the first time i have am actually hearing faint echo's of other voices saying "well something needs to be done" ...i read an article by a ManU supported saying there are too many unacceptable challenges happening in the premier league. Everyone knows how important Cesc is to us, and know how good he is, but that does not justify trying to hurt him, ever. Instead, the Ref's need to take control of the game and say 'no can't do that' ...that's the only way these *****heads will stop, they do it because they know they can get away with it. If i was a referee and i saw 1 player getting booted around the park. I'd send a warning saying 'next time he's fouled it's a yellow, happens again it's a red, regardless of the player' . It's not fair to us at all, and yes, i am whinging, but with every ******** right to have a whinge. I have a lot of appreciation from the well-wishers to Aaron from other supporters, but something needs to be ******** done. It's beyond a coincidence. To finish it off, Stan Collymore is a huge *****head.
01/03/2010 12:32:00
Brilliant piece Amos, and I can't emphasise enough your point that by mollycoddling Shawcross like this is just hiding from the problem. If someone sat him down and said "look, that was a ***** challenge, we know you didn't mean it, but you can't go throwing yourself into the tackle like that, you could end someones career. Now chin up, get put there and play football, but use your ******** head", it would be much more useful thank saying "its ok, it's an accident, keep doing what you're doing, you're a lovely lad" that doesnt help anyone. Infact if Pulis had had the balls to say that to him after he "did" Jeffers, Ramsey might be chatting with Shawcross at London Colney today (unless Wales have a game?). But we all know Pulis is a coward, hiding behind his armyof apologists who use "English grit" as some kind of weak arsed excuse. Oh, LD, feel free to write your article buddy, the more blogs and site get on the case about this the better.
01/03/2010 13:42:00
I am coming to the opinion that Arsenal/Ramsey should sue Shawcross and Stoke for the damage caused. There would be no inhibitions in doing so were damaged inflicted as a consequence of careless or reckless driving to use an often used analogy referring to this incident. Not for any financial compensation which on the scale of things wouldn't be significant but it would bring home the seriousness of the negligence displayed by Shawcross and his manager and coaches. It won't happen of course but it would take something on that scale to change the attitudes many in the game seem wedded to.
01/03/2010 14:33:00
There are many teams and many players in this league I personally CANNOT stand, but if these leg-breaks happened to any of them I wouldn't flippin' SMIRK about it and condemn the victim's manager for being outraged. I'd demand the culprit get an appropriate ban and the exact same talking to as suggested above, to put a stop to it. I have a feeling that it would take this kind of injury to a Rooney or a Gerrard or a Lampard before the influential voices in English football sit up to attention. And for the record, I wouldn't wish it on any of them...
01/03/2010 14:54:00
Smith, Taylor and Shawcross collectively recieved a 6 game ban for their craeer threatening tackles, Viera got 8 (?) matches for spitting at f*****d up is the FA and it's cowardly, out dated disciplinary procedures?
01/03/2010 15:31:00
Unfortunately, I think Julie's right. Nothing is going to happen unless this happens to an English player, and thats only a matter of time. Well written piece Amos. Even I've read comments against Wenger saying he's whinging, and he needs to grow up, and assorted nonsense, without understanding what this is all about. You constantly hear the apologist bull ***** like 'this is football', and 'accidents happen'.
01/03/2010 15:42:00
You need to take your Arsenal Hats off
01/03/2010 16:19:00
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