The reaction to Arsene Wenger’s supposed moaning after the recent injury to Aaron Ramsey was predictable, because we’ve seen it before.
Many of the figures involved in the English game have shown themselves more keen to hang on to its outdated traditions, than to rid it of some of its most damaging aspects.
So any condemnation of Ryan Shawcross, or of the culture that produces these accidental injuries on a far too regular basis, is drowned out by protestations that “he’s not that kind of player”.
Some will even stoop so far as to suggest Wenger “get out” of the English game, as did Stan Collymore, summing up the xenophobia that drives one side of the debate.
“If he doesn’t like English working conditions, whereby players are physical and try to win the ball, then maybe he should disappear to La Liga or Serie A,” ranted Collymore.
Perhaps there should be a vote held as to what is more valuable to English football; the opinions of a controversy-courting hack like Collymore, or the presence of a manager who has arguably done more than any other to make the Premier League the world’s most entertaining league.
In any case, Wenger surely found more ammunition for his side of the argument on Saturday. George Boateng should have already been dismissed for a poke in the eye of Nicklas Bendtner, before his horrific lunge on Bacary Sagna could have done the Frenchman serious damage, and finally earned the Hull player an early bath.
This incident showed again that tackles like the one that broke Ramsey’s leg are not aberrations or freak accidents; they happen far too often.
In an age when pundits will whip up a moralistic hurricane over relative trivialities like imaginary card-waving, it is sad that the players’ safety is not treated as paramount.
There was more reason for anxiety about the festering nastiness of English football to be found in Phil Brown’s post-match comments. Here the Hull boss insisted that Boateng, his most experienced player, had never let him down.
At least when Wenger was left with no defence for his players’ actions, he had the tact to pretend not to have seen them.
Odhran is the editor of Moral Courage