Stoke fans betray spirit of game with Ramsey abuse
Published: 04.09.12 / Written by: David Gold
It must have been a strange feeling to have been Aaron Ramsey last Sunday afternoon.
Having had his leg broken by a ridiculously aggressive tackle by Ryan Shawcross three years' ago, he found himself subjected to jeering from Stoke City's support.
Why exactly? Surely the fact that he had his leg broken is not a reason to abuse someone. If it is, then there is something seriously wrong with the average mindset of those who follow the Midlanders. That anyone should subjected to abuse for having the temerity to suffer a nasty injury is clearly ridiculous.
Perhaps it is because Ramsey then refused to accept an apology from Shawcross. It is hard to blame the Welshman either, given that the challenge was reckless and used excessive force. What else did the Stoke man expect?
It may be that the supporters of Stoke are a bit too sensitive to the idea that their captain isn't on good terms with a man whose leg he broke. That should not be a surprise to anybody though.
It is a serious issue, however. Football observers and supporters across the country react with bemusement to the Stoke City faithful's baiting of Ramsey. It is met with widespread condemnation, yet little really happens. Perhaps it is time for the FA to step in, and call to account the club for the behaviour of their supporters. After all, it would be intolerable to abuse a player for the colour of their skin, or sexuality. So why such abuse for having suffered a broken leg?
Tony Pulis has an important role to play here. He claims that he can't tell the fans what to do. He should have a word with Sir Alex Ferguson. The Manchester United boss has taken a firm stand against his own team's supporters for abuse aimed against Arsene Wenger when Old Trafford plays host to the Londoners. That has helped to reduce some of the most vile chants you will hear in the country.
Pulis, if he had the courage of Ferguson, would surely take such a stance against his own support for their continued abuse of Ramsey. It is a blight on English football and the Premier League to have a group of supporters levelling such abuse at a man whose worst crime was to take advantage of a poor piece of control by Shawcross to latch onto a loose ball, only to have his leg plunged into with reckless force well after the ball had gone.
Football fans have questioned why players are not more like the Olympians who so proudly represented Britain this summer. It is an interesting question, but one for another article. But in Stoke's case, their fans are little better when they subject Ramsey to the most unwarranted abuse heard at a football ground for many a year.