Theo Walcott demonstrated the proper way to claim bragging rights.
Visiting Tottenham Hotspur fans were taunting Arsenal’s Walcott as he was being stretchered off the field in the latter stages of Saturday’s FA Cup third-round game between the North London rivals at the Emirates Stadium. Some cursed the Arsenal forward, while others tried to pelt him (and the stretcher bearers) with coins and bottles. Walcott didn’t get mad. He got even.
Walcott, 24, raised two fingers in one hand and made a fist with the other, reminding Tottenham fans of the score. Arsenal held onto the two-goal advantage for the final ten minutes, ensuring the eternal life of Walcott’s gesture in the memories of both sets of fans.
Walcott may have won that little battle with Tottenham fans, but his good times ended there. He will likely miss up to a month of action due to the knee injury he suffered. To make matters worse, the gesture could warrant disciplinary action from the FA, although Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger thinks the governing body should consider the playful nature of Walcott’s gesture in its decision.
“I don’t think he will be in trouble, he was not aggressive and he was smiling,” Wenger told the BBC after the game. “The doctor said to me coins had been raining on his head and they had to protect him and that is maybe why he did that.
“People will look for every single incident. It is a reaction but he didn’t offend anybody.
“My response to the suggestion that he could be in trouble is to say the FA will have seen the pictures on television. If they judge it as offensive what can I do?”
Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere says Walcott’s gesture will elevate him to mythical status in the hearts of Arsenal fans, according to the Telegraph.
“He’ll be an Arsenal legend now,” Wilshere said. “They were giving it to him and he’s given a little bit back. I think people have got to look at it as banter. The Arsenal fans will love that. They love Theo already and this is only going to help him.”
The moment contained English soccer’s good, bad and ugly. Passionate fans, seated close to the action at the stadium of their rival team, engaged in a bit of “banter” with a star player, and he gave it right back to them. Naturally, some fans took things too far by throwing objects in his direction. It’s lucky that no one was injured in the barrage, and we can all chuckle at this kinda of story.
See Walcott’s “2-0” gesture to Tottenham fans below.
Gif via Twitpic/@Football Cliches