Two-and-half years have passed since Aaron Ramsey's leg was broken following a challenge from Stoke City captain Ryan Shawcross. Arsenal visited the Britannia on Sunday and Ramsey was yet again booed by the home supporters. We ask why.
On a Saturday evening in February 2010, Stoke City hosted Arsenal in a Premier League fixture which ended 3-1 to the Gunners. The game however, will always be remembered for a tackle by Ryan Shawcross on Aaron Ramsey which produced a career-threatening injury - a double-fracture to the Welshman's right leg. Shawcross received a straight red for the challenge and a three-match ban whilst Ramsey had to endure the best part of ten months on the sidelines.
Sunday was the third time Ramsey has played at the Britannia since his horrific injury and on each occasion he has been subjected to taunts and jeers from the Potters' fans. The player himself has not once criticised Shawcross since the incident which left his leg broke in six places nor has he reacted to any of the abuse thrown his way from the Stoke fans.
Stoke fans argue that their decision to boo Ramsey at every given opportunity is based on the fact that the Welsh captain never accepted an apology from Shawcross. Apart from a single text message sent from Shawcross to Ramsey shortly after the event though, no words have since been exchanged between the two off of the pitch.
Ramsey's professionalism has never been in doubt and he has handled the situation extremely well. Although he has not quite achieved the standards he was expected to reach before his terrible injury 30 months ago, the former Cardiff City player showed great determination in his recovery and got his head down during loan-spells at his former club and Nottingham Forest as he aimed to return to full-fitness and first-team recognition for Arsenal.
Recently, Wales boss Chris Coleman revealed his desire to tempt Ryan Shawcross into playing for Wales - the Stoke captain qualifies to play for the Dragons after completing five years of compulsory education in the country. As captain of the national side, Ramsey was consulted by Coleman before he made any official approach and yet again the Arsenal man showed no sign of a grudge towards the player who so nearly could have ended his career.
"I'm over what happened. It's up to the manager what he feels is right for the team." - Aaron Ramsey.
The midfielder clearly wants to move on and his priority is the success of the Welsh national team. Although Shawcross turned down the chance to play for Wales, the fact is that Ramsey does not hold a a grudge against Shawcross - something Stoke fans need to take note of.
Aaron Ramsey has been trying to move on from and draw a line under what happened ever since the extent of his injury was known but it is the Stoke fans who are keeping it a burning issue by using the ill-treatment towards him to further infuriate Arsene Wenger and the Arsenal fans.
In any other walk of life, the Stoke City supporters' sickening behaviour towards Aaron Ramsey would be totally unacceptable and although Potters' manager Tony Pulis has said that he could have no bearing in how the fans behave, this is not the case and more should be done by the club to cut it out.
Any Arsenal or Stoke fans care to give their opinion on the matter?
image: © wonker