Dear Ryan

By Dan Buxton
Last updated : 02 March 2010

Dear Ryan,

              Keep your chin up mate. The events of this past weekend will no doubt live long in your mind, but not because you have anything to apologise or feel guilty for, but because you are a decent human being. Your reaction after the incident will have humbled every football fan outside of North London, and speaks volumes about the kind of person you are. You can't fake emotion and remorse like that Ryan, and I like every other Stoke fan am proud of you.
  You represent everything that is great about our club. You're a lion, strong and brave on the pitch, whilst at the same time, an absolute gentleman off it. It's only natural to feel bad about what happened, but it was an accident. These things happen mate, and you just have to wish Aaron the best of luck with his recovery and move on. It was a 50/50 challenge, and the speed and commitment that both of you showed, meant that it could quite easily have been you undergoing surgery in the early hours of Sunday morning. Every player goes onto that pitch knowing they're involved in a contact sport, and every so often an awful accident like this will happen. And that's all it was, an accident. There doesn't have to be anyone to blame.
  Forget everything that disgusting excuse for a human being Wenger has had to say about you. He is a scumbag of the highest order and venom oozes from every pore of his hideous, contorted face. Mate, if I had to look at that sight in the mirror every morning I'd be every bit as bitter. Rumour has it that by law his suits and ties have to be made out of Kevlar, because the bile that escapes his mouth every time he opens it, burns through normal clothing, and the sight of his bare chest is enough to be considered GBH to every single person's eyes who should happen to witness it. And as for the rest of those cowards wearing the blue of Arsenal on Saturday, just re-watch their gutless, sham of a show, when their team mate was down. One dreg of society decided that the thing of utmost importance was not the well being of his fellow player, but that an advantage should be gained by you being sent off. Another scum residue held his head in his hands, and pretended to wretch on the sidelines, but not before running after the referee, and securing your dismissal. There are a lot of people who should be thoroughly ashamed of their antics on Saturday night, such as Arsene Wenger, 'No-soul' Campbell, and Cesc 'Fibreglass', but you are not one of them.
  You're destined for great things Ryan. Not only are you destined to play for your country, but you're destined to captain it.  God gave you great ability and a towering frame, but hard work gave you the success you so richly deserve. At the beginning of last season, a lesser man might have taken the easy option and left Stoke when you weren't getting picked. But you aren't a lesser man, you're Ryan Shawcross. You worked doubly hard, and learned everything you could off of the excellent mentor and guide that Tony Pulis had given you in Abdoulaye Faye. With your inclusion in the England squad this week, your hard work has finally been recognised on a national/global level, but it's never gone unnoticed or unthanked here in Stoke-on-Trent. And it's not only your consistency week in week out, it's your other side off the pitch too. The numerous stories of what you do for our local community, the time you spend signing autographs for all and sundry before and after every game, and all this together with the image of a happy, content, young family man at the age of 22. You're almost a commodity amongst the people you'll be training with this week. Amongst the serial adulterers, drug addicts, alcoholics, prostitute users and street fighters, you stand there as a genuine role model. And you should be proud of yourself for that. There will come a time Ryan, I promise you, that you will wear that armband for England, and I pray you're still at Stoke when it happens, because you will be a shining example to every person in this country.
  So keep your chin up Ryan, and if you don't already have a copy of Rudyard Kipling's inspirational poem 'If' I recommend now as the perfect time to become acquainted with it, as it describes you down to a T.

Yours Sincerely
Will

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