Stoke’s Shawcross, Arsenal’s Ramsey and a debate that won’t go away

Credit: Musa Göncüo?lu

Football fans can be mightily sensitive given their reputation for boisterous irreverence.

Case in point: the recent debate here about the changing face of Stoke City, inspired by Pete Sixsmith’s whimsical article about wishing he could wake up as a supporter of that club and not the one he’s followed for half a century.

Read moreStoke’s Shawcross, Arsenal’s Ramsey and a debate that won’t go away

Sixer’s Soapbox: more positive, fewer negatives after Sunderland sink Stoke

Pete Sixsmith: ho ho ho
Pete Sixsmith: ho ho ho

John McCormick writes: Pete Sixsmith is about to go out, may even have already gone out, to do his Christmas duty on the Polar Express. When he gets back, he’ll no doubt sit down with his rosy cheeks, slippers, pipe and his ho, ho, ho to see what comments our readers have left on his report. Will they agree with this summary of a game against a team with away form, one that’s tough to beat and with the kind of defence we’d like to emulate? Or will they say something different? For my part the word I’d use is encouraging. But did that sending off lead me to a false sense of optimism? Let’s see what Pete thinks

Read moreSixer’s Soapbox: more positive, fewer negatives after Sunderland sink Stoke

Supporting Arsène, Arsenal and Aaron. And, a little bit, Ryan.

On the Ramsey/Shawcross affair, we still await the thoughts of Monty and Rupert, names that somehow seemed to personify posh London football support when they were announced on tannoy at Arsenal v Sunderland. Lots of others, notably Gooners, have had their say, however, and not least at Salut! Sunderland …

Just before the kickoff of Stoke v Arsenal, the TV screen (sound down) showed Arsène Wenger and my football-loathing wife started on about how much better dressed, better spoken, more intelligent, better everything he was than your usual football character.

She’s French so would say as much. But it’s a view that I happen, up to point, to share.

Read moreSupporting Arsène, Arsenal and Aaron. And, a little bit, Ryan.

Sympathy for Aaron Ramsey

Salut! Sunderland joins all real football fans – including the Stoke City supporters who showed their own decency tonight – in wishing Aaron Ramsey the strongest, fullest and fastest recovery possible from the horrible injury he suffered in Arsenal’s victory at the Britannia stadium.

It was a really bad challenge by Ryan Shawcross, who was rightly shown a straight red card.

But I am not convinced there was a shred of malice in that challenge. There was clearly a lot of recklessness, however. Shawcross himself seemed to acknowledge this, pausing on his tearful way from the field to offer apologies to Ramsey.

Read moreSympathy for Aaron Ramsey