Bill Shankly once said ‘Football isn’t a matter of life and death, it is more important than that’ but right now football should mean nothing to any person after seeing what happened to Fabrice Muamba.
On the pitch we saw players demoralised, the tears were flowing from both sets of players and both sets of supporters with many of them including Rafael Van Der Vaart saying a quiet prayer. Everyone was very respectful and Howard Webb deserves some praise as he did not interfere with anything and didn’t even want to blow his whistle in case it distracted the medical team that were working on the young Bolton midfielder. Webb quietly spoke to all the players and both managers and made the obvious decision to abandon the game.
They were heartbreaking scenes even though anyone watching the TV coverage like myself did not see the actual moment when it happened. Afterwards, Kevin Keegan was clearly traumatised by the whole event as he was choked up and struggled to do his punditry work for ESPN. Just hearing people talk about the incident made people fear the worse and remember similar incidents over the years such as Marc Vivien Foe.
Football does not matter today and this will overshadow other players’ accomplishments today but who cares that Rickie Lambert scored a hatrick for Southampton or that Swansea beat Fulham comfortably, these events are massively insignificant. Just like if you are a Newcastle fan and are gutted that Sunderland are now close to getting to Wembley in the FA Cup, it literally does not matter what is going on anywhere else in the world of football, everyone should be thinking of the health of Muamba and not stupid petty rivalries.
The reaction of every footballer on Twitter has been very good as they have forgotten their allegiances and are just praying for Muamba like we all should be tonight.
Some people will argue there are more important things in this world and that people die every day all around the world but what they have to realise is that this young lad, he is only 23, was doing something he loved and was involved in the oldest cup competition in the world and would not have expected anything like this in a stadium full of people. He is a model professional and I will be hoping and praying that he pulls through even if he never kicks a football again I will be very happy and delighted because he always seemed like a good person and a good role model for young people. He has never really been in the papers for his personal life and when I wake up tomorrow I will be hoping that the football families’ prayers are answered and Fabrice Muamba is healthy and can enjoy more time with his family.