"Arsenal Fan On The Day Stoke Supporters Revealed Themselves As Scum"
I really f****** hate Stoke City. I can tell you, I was there in 2010, in the away end. As it happened, I was right next to the home fans, separated only by the section of empty seats covered by a banner. When Aaron Ramsey was lying on the floor, holding his leg in agony, it wasn't clear what had happened, but we knew it was something serious, such was the panic exuded by the surrounding Arsenal players. I remember exclaiming, 'Jesus Christ, his foot is hanging off'. The whole away end stood in near silence, with fearful whispers the sole source of noise. All we could do was pray it wasn't as bad as it looked.
For a portion of the Stoke fans to my right, however, it was a laugh, a chance for a bit of banter. "One leg! He's only got one leg!" they sung, while hopping around on one foot. This was not banter. This was sick. And it wasn't just one or two drunken, immature teenagers. It was grown men.
Then came the universal "One Ryan Shawcross" chant, sung from all corners of the home end. Disgusting. My blood boils to this day at the memory of this. A teenager writhing around in excruciating pain having had his leg snapped into pieces, and 25,000 fans - men, women and children - were singing in support of the person who did it. At no other club in the Premier League would this happen or be deemed acceptable. By this point, the coins had started to fly, and several Arsenal supporters behind me were getting thrown out. It was a toxic atmosphere, more so than any trip to White Hart Lane or Stamford Bridge I've made as an Arsenal supporter in the last couple years.
The wild celebrations that followed Cesc Fabregas's late, match-winning penalty were not just about the three points. It was a goal for Aaron, and my word, it shut those c**** in the home end up. Thomas Vermaelen wrapped things up moments later, and it was job done. The venomous atmosphere spilled out onto the streets, and numerous scuffles and arrests ensued.
While we left the ground delighted, praising the strength of character shown by our players, there was also a sense of insignificance about the result, in the backdrop of Ramsey's injury. Thankfully he has recovered and emerged as an important player for Arsenal. Hopefully he'll exact revenge against Stoke on Saturday and their knuckle-dragging supporters.