Theo Walcott coin row: Arsenal forward unlikely to face FA action for stretcher incident with Tottenham fans
Midfielder's scoreline gesture as he is carried from the pitch with an injury enrages Spurs supporters towards the end of 2-0 FA Cup defeat
Glenn Moore is Football Editor for The Independent and a Uefa B licence holder. Glenn has worked for the Independent newspapers since 1993, initially as cricket correspondent of the Independent on Sunday, subsequently as football correspondent of The Independent before becoming football editor in 2004.
Saturday 04 January 2014
The twisted hatred provoked by one of football's most bitter rivalries was shown in its full unexpurgated ugliness as Tottenham fans, teased by Theo Walcott, reacted with naked fury at the Emirates.
Walcott suffered a knee injury late in Arsenal's 2-0 FA Cup third round win and was treated on the field, then carried from it by a stretcher. The route to the tunnel took him past those fans who had made the short trip across north London and they bombarded both Walcott and the stretcher bearers with coins and plastic bottles after the England international gestured to them with his hands indicating the 2-0 scoreline.
The Football Association, which takes a dim view of players inciting violence, are expected to look into the incident but it is understood Walcott is unlikely to be charged. Unlike Jack Wilshere's 'giving the finger' to Manchester City fans last month - for which he received a one-match ban - Walcott's gesture was not in itself offensive. While it undoubtedly offended Tottenham fans Arsenal will point out to the FA that Walcott was subjected to a hail of coins before his gesture.
“The doctor said coins were raining over his head while he was treating Theo [on the pitch] and he had to protect him,” said Arsene Wenger, “maybe that is why he did that.” The Arsenal manager added: “If the FA judge is it offensive what can I do but I don't think he will be in trouble. What he did was not offensive. He does not look aggressive, he is smiling.”
Tottenham's head coach Tim Sherwood said he had not seen the incident but he condemned any Tottenham fans who threw coins. “If they did that it is a problem.” As for Walcott's gesture Sherwood said it was “maybe it was a bit of banter.”
One player who could be charged by the FA - and banned for three matches, is Tottenham's young Frenchman Nabil Bentaleb who marred his full debut by stamping on Nacho Monreal's arm. “The referee missed it,” said Wenger.
Wenger was unsure of the exact nature of Walcott's injury - “it is either stretched ligaments or a kick”. Thomas Vermaelen was also withdrawn after being kicked. Wenger also confirmed that Nicklas Bentner will be out for a month with the ankle injury sufered scoring against Cardiff on New Year's Day.
Arsenal's goals came from Santi Cazorla, after 32 minutes, and Tomas Rosicky half-an-hour later.
Latest in Sport
Manchester United can learn lessons from the transfer template of rivals Manchester City
Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea top the list of the Premier League's most expensive squads
Cyprus vs Wales match report: Gareth Bale's bullet header has Welsh on brink of Euro 2016
Bayern Munich 'training camp' to supply refugees with food, footballs and German lessons
Anthony Martial: Manchester United's new signing received Patrice Evra's boots as a kid
- 1 President Obama leaves touching comment on Humans of New York photo from Iran
- 2 If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
- 3 The Chinese city where men have 'three girlfriends because there are so many women'
- 4 German police forced to ask public to stop bringing donations for refugees arriving by train
- 5 Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Britain to take more refugees as Cameron bows to pressure after more than 250,000 back our campaign
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches – it's time to act
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up