Racism and Ramsey runs riot over the press

Good morning kickers, we had a greenlight on Fark.com yesterday which always results in a ton of clicks and a few new readers. If you’re one of those new readers, welcome. Today’s big stories are Cesc has something to say about racism and Aaron Ramsey is the new Walcott.

Cesc Says Spain’s Not Racist

Us Americans like to believe that we live in a post-racist, or even racially transcendent culture. We see stories like what happened in Spain in 2004 with Sean Wright-Phillips and shake our heads in disgust. “That would never happen here,” we like to say.  But it does, Bethel School district, here in the glorious post-racial northern paradise of liberal Washington state is awash in racism. The simple fact is that racism exists in America, just like it exists in every culture.

But just because there are racial incidents doesn’t mean that we are all racists. If Bethel School District has a race riot with 2% of their student population participating it doesn’t mean that the whole school district is racist, does it? No and I think that’s what Cesc was getting at when he sort of mangled the quote that’s making all the rounds today

I don’t know if racism is the word, I wasn’t in the team when that match was played, but one of my team-mates was playing for England and he felt a little upset. They see us as racist, but I don’t think that we are. That is a bit extreme.

This is a tough topic for someone erudite to write about much less for a Spanish footballer, who feels the need to defend his country, to speak about off the cuff so let’s give Cesc a little room here and agree that what he was saying is “even though there have been incidents, not all Spaniards are racist.”

In a sense, I agree with him, what really counts isn’t the reaction of the 1% of fans who are racists but the reaction of the leadership of the team, school district, or other organization. If the leadership doesn’t do anything about it, then it’s pretty safe to say that the whole system is corrupt.

In Bethel, the administration has been working with the teens through education and, if needed, expulsion in order to try to put an end to this. That’s where it gets sticky with Spain. I haven’t seen the type of concerted effort to stamp this out that I’d like to see. First, what has anyone done since 2004? I mean, the FA (who should have been on this issue from day one, demanding change) the Spanish FA, UEFA, FIFA, team hierarchy, etc, what have they been doing for the last 4 years to stamp this problem out? Nothing. It’s a disgrace to see them suddenly refusing to play at the Bernabeu when the problem has been boiling for the last 4 years and very little was said and even less done about the problem.

And now, along comes UEFA and they want to take strong action against Athletico Madrid for their racism. You’re joking, right? This is the same UEFA who allowed a Zenit St. Petersburg to play in and win the UEFA cup even though the manager publicly refuses to hire blacks because the fans won’t have them.

I’m sorry but $30,000 fines and threatening to make teams play in a neutral place (it’s not a done deal yet) is just putting lipstick on a pig.

So, while I agree with what I think the sentiment was behind Cesc’s statement I completely disagree with his analysis. As far as I can tell, given the combined (non) actions of most of world football’s governing bodies, racism is not only very alive and well, it’s basically condoned. It is the shame of the modern game that such sentiment exists and it should be stopped through points deductions if necessary.

King Ramsey the First

Stuart Pearce has said that Arsenal youth, and soon to be Welsh full international, Aaron Ramsey is worth his weight in gold because he makes little tiny shirts out of whole cloth, or something. Meanwhile, some blogger at Setanta also feels like Arsene’s keen eye for talent may have spotted the best player of his generation on the evidence of that same England-Wales game which saw Rambo’s team lose 3-2 and yet him pick up man-of-the-match honors.

I’m happy for the kid that the press have caught on to his obvious talents. Now, his job is to keep his head down, ignore those press clippings, work hard, and help make Arsenal’s midfield of Ramsey, Wilshere, and Walcott the envy of world football. With Wenger’s patient guidance, I have no doubt this will come to pass.

Transfer Rumors, That I Made Up

The Mail is linking Arsenal with Sochaux cum Turkey striker Melvut Erding. I can’t see any credibility to this though, because Arsene has publicly stated that Arsenal have all the strikers they need (RvP, Ade, Bendtner, Vela, Walcott, Eduardo, and all the kids he’s bringing through).

No, the transfer rumor that I’m starting is that either Yaya Toure or Xavi Alonso are going to surprise the world and come to Arsenal in January. Both players have been linked to Arsenal before and both players are making no bones about their desire to leave their current clubs. The speculation in the press is that the two teams will do a straight swap but that seems a bit crazy if you ask me: both teams would have cup-tied players in that case. Unless there’s something seriously wrong with one or both of those players (so wrong that you wouldn’t play them in the Champions League) why would you intentionally cripple a crucial part of your team?

No, if either player moves on, it’ll be to a third party, like Arsenal. Then they could use the money to buy a non-cup-tied player. Come on Alonso — you could rule England at Arsenal with Cesc at your side!

Stephen Appiah is the other player that Arsenal has been repeatedly linked with but again there’s something not right with this story and I am going with “player wants too much salary and/or isn’t really fit.” Last month, he said that he was going to be signing with a team any day now and since then the story has changed pretty drastically from “I was going to sign, but now I’m looking to Italy” to now the wire has gone completely dead.  Since then West Ham have signed Tristan (a forward) and Arsene has publicly downplayed signing anyone else. Sorry kickers, as much as I’d like to think that Appiah would have rode in upon his steed and slew the dragons ‘oop norf’ I can’t see anything but the end of his career at this point. He did play 85 minutes for Ghana on the weekend and talked of being able to play again the next day but I’m sceptical about his fitness to be honest.

And finally, the Thomas Rosicky injury sideshow rolls on for another week. My loyal reader knows that I think his career is done, the injury he’s sustained is so unusual and in such a critical area that I cannot see him recovering (I hope I am wrong). And now, his agent has picked up on the rumor mill and is stating that Rosicky’s recovery is going along just as planned, his career is NOT over, and oh yeah, he’s even got another specialist working with him. Maybe he will play again. I’m not a doctor but I do know that January will be his one year anniversary of fitness. That’s a hell of a long time to be out. Good luck Thomas, yo’re going to need it.

Ok, well, that’s it for today. Until tomorrow.


  1. Tim, on the “Cesc Says Spain’s Not Racist” topic, you are a little off the reality of the situation and context unfortunately. You are of course right in that not because a country has racists people (as all countries have) that everybody in the country is racist. That is obvious. The case of Spain is sadly a little different. This is a country where the coach of the national team (Aragones) has called Thierry Henry a ‘monkey’. Or remember the incident where the national basketball team in the Beijing Games takes a team picture where players are pulling back the sides of their eyes? And even after all east asian countries expressed outrage, the basketball team still wasn’t getting it. They were basically saying ‘come on, what the hell, we were just kidding’. My point is that not everybody in Spain is racist, but the culture seems to operate at a different treshhold for what defines ‘racist’. My personal empirical impression of Spain as a tourist was that somehow I ran into more racist people in Madrid than in London on Paris. And you don’t see any black players on the Spanish national team compared to France or England – or even Germany(!) Maybe that means something. There must be a black population in Spain, right? And if there isn’t, then maybe that’s a bigger problem.

  2. I will say, however, that the bulk of my argument remains; that this is a problem that the FA, the Spanish FA, UEFA, FIFA and all the heads of all the Football Associations needs to do something about. They are too busy worrying about how much debt a club has and meddling in transfer deals to even bother sanctioning a league like the SPL.

    I mean, come on, Zenit St. Petersburg has an overtly racist hiring policy. Can you imagine if Arsenal said, “we only hire whites?” Beyond the fact that it’s repugnantly immoral, how can that be legal?

    The same with the Spanish league, if they have such a rabidly racist fan base, why didn’t the FA ban the England team from playing on Spanish soil two years ago when the fans abused Eto’o? It seems to me like the problem is getting worse there rather than better and that the SPL is becoming more racist.

    I think what it will take is a ban from the Champions League and UEFA cups to get these teams to take some action. That not only hits them in the pocketbook but also in the prestige.

  3. Probably off topic, but I went to America last year and yep, there was plenty of racism there, even in the more liberal east and west coasts. It’s never overt, it’s just the kind of institutionalised, inherited racism that’s all smiles on the outside and anxious clutching of handbags on the inside. You know the kind.

  4. Probably off topic, but I went to America last year and yep, there was plenty of racism there, even in the more liberal east and west coasts. It’s never overt, it’s just the kind of institutionalised, inherited racism that’s all smiles on the outside and anxious clutching of handbags on the inside. You know the kind.

  5. On a different note: WOW what a midfield: Wilshere, Walcott, Ramsey, Fabregas, not to mention someone like Denilson who is getting better each week.
    It’s better than Brazil’s 1970 world cup team 🙂

  6. oh my god what the hell is he saying of course spain is a raciest country and guess what if england play spain i promise you it will happen again says:

    what the hell is cesc saying?of course spain is a racist country the england game was enough and guess what i promise you it will happen again

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