Aaron Ramsdale was announced on Friday night to little fanfare from Arsenal or their fans.
While Arsenal do love a Friday announcement – and they made two this week with Martin Odegaard being announced at 8am that morning – it seemed like Arsenal fans were going to have to wait a little for confirmation of Ramsdale’s deal. Then, at 7.02pm, Arsenal dropped the news.
Fridays tend to be the slowest on the site for us. There are far fewer people around. Friday evenings even more so. It is, after all, usually the one night of the week without top level football involving Premier League sides.
It would have made no difference to the Chelsea match had Arsenal announced Ramsdale on Saturday, as long as the paperwork had been filed by 12pm on Friday. Perhaps Arsenal were worried someone would leak the news that a player Mikel Arteta had earlier said was about to sign, and had had a medical, had actually signed.
Perhaps, though, Arsenal were hoping it would minimise the abuse Ramsdale would receive after the goalkeeper was subjected to it online before he even pulled on the Arsenal shirt.
Maybe the abuse has something to do with his name. Aaron Ramsey spent years being abused for suffering the consequences of having his leg snapped like a twig when he was a teenager who happened to visit Stoke.
Stoke, coincidentally, is where Ramsdale was born, although the smile he wore when signing his Arsenal contract tells us that he might be from ‘there’ but he is not ‘of’ there.
And it is that smile I noticed most. Ramsdale looked truly thrilled to be signing for the sh**test Arsenal side in living memory. When was the last time you saw that?
Of course, being happy to sign for Arsenal is no indication he will do well, but shouting abuse at him isn’t going to do that either.
Do you really think making him even more nervous ahead of his Arsenal debut is the best way to elicit a top performance? Perhaps you’re one of those parents who thinks screaming in your kids face will help stop them make mistakes.
It just makes things worse and makes you look like a knob.
No doubt many of those abusing Ramsdale have watched little of him play. They’ll have caught a few snippets here and there and judged him by the fact he’s played for relegated teams.
Instead, they should look to what the fans of those clubs say about Ramsdale. Sheffield United fans are mostly gutted and Bournemouth fans are urging Arsenal ones to give him a chance. “You’ll love him,” one told me.
Sheffield United really didn’t want to sell him and their manager even said he would refuse £100m for Ramsdale if he was the one making the call. That should say quite a lot.
Ramsdale turned up to sign his Arsenal contract with his mum, dad, and grandfather’s ashes:
Ramsdale brought his grandad's ashes when signing his contract 🙁 pic.twitter.com/0l3ejchlww
— Uniall Emery (@UniallEmery) August 20, 2021
Abusing him says nothing about him and everything about you.
If you really do, as you claim, want Arsenal to succeed, then you will get behind him and encourage him.
That’s not to say he can’t be criticised, of course he can. Criticism is not abuse, however, and neither are warranted before he’s even kicked a ball for Arsenal.
After he has, abuse will still never be acceptable, even if he kicks that ball into the back of his own net.
We’re meant to be better than this.