DAVE KITSON witnessed the horrific moment Aaron Ramsey’s leg snapped in two first hand.
Kitson was a sub for Stoke’s game against Arsenal in February 2010 during which the Gunners midfielder had his right leg broken in a challenge with Ryan Shawcross.
News Group Newspapers Ltd10 Ryan Shawcross broke Aaron Ramsey's leg following a challenge in 2010
Here, SunSport’s new columnist reveals the untold story behind one of the most shocking moments in Premier League history…
I WAS there when Ryan Shawcross snapped Aaron Ramsey’s leg in half.
I heard the crack of Ramsey’s leg from the bench. I heard the screaming.
And the build-up to the game contributed to this moment.
Stoke manager Tony Pulis absolutely despised Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger, hated the way he played.
News Group Newspapers Ltd10 Tony Pulis had told the Stoke players to be aggressive in the tackle
Rex Features10 Tony Pulis and Arsene Wenger hated each other and each other's style of football
While Wenger hated the way Stoke played. They were the direct opposite of each other in football terms.
They used to have little snipes at each other in the media.
All week I had never seen a manager so desperate to win a game of football, it was bordering on out of control.
In training, I remember doing the set-piece routine from corners.
PA:Press Association10 Shawcross walks off in tears as he receives a red card
Shawcross and Abdoulaye Faye were preparing to play as central defenders, one of them would go across the near post. And I just remember us practising it over and over again, the corner coming in and Pulis screaming: “Ryan go across the f****** front — if you miss the ball you f****** well make sure you take someone out.
“You put the keeper through the net and into the stand behind. If you miss the ball you make sure you take someone with you.”
Like every other game he was telling us to turn them and get at them and all the usual stuff managers say.
But that particular game it was very much ‘lads, don’t forget, be aggressive in the tackle, dominate your man.’ That was the message.
It started that sort of feeling where it began to bubble within the players through the course of the week.
Until finally it got to match day. The changing room was full of aggression and I remember the team talk more than anything.