Thursday, 22 March 2012

Fabrice Muamba: Football's reaction

I was at home last Saturday, when I decided to check the score in the Tottenham/Bolton FA Cup match. When I saw that the game had been abandoned, I immediately knew something very wrong had happened for the game to be called off.

Like most people I was totally shocked to find out that Bolton's Fabrice Muamba had suffered a cardiac arrest and collapsed on the pitch.

Thankfully as I write this, it appears that Muamba is making a remarkable recovery, and we all hope it continues.

I got to see a lot of Muamba during his two years playing for the team I support, Birmingham City. He did well at Blues.

He certainly isn't the most gifted player you'll see in the Premier League, but I admired his battling qualities and the hard work that he put in everytime he played for Blues.

It's that hard work and determination that have helped him in his life and career and partly explains the amount of support and respect people in the game have for him.

I've been reading a lot of articles about Muamba this week. The ones that have interested me the most, focus on the reaction of the footballing community and what last week's incident says about football in this country.

The first piece is from the Gaurdian's Richard Williams:

Be proud we're home to Muamba and end this talk of 'stealing' football,

I liked this article as it looks at how the UK has become a country where someone like Fabrice Muamba could succeed and become the person that he is.

In some ways it takes a typical Guardian angle, in that it celebrates the contribution of someone who came to England as an immigrant, and doesn't conform to some of the stereotypes people like to have about immigrants.

The other two articles I've picked out take a different approach.

As a football fan, I felt a certain level of pride that I belong to a footballing community that has come together to show their support and respect for Muamba. We all know football is very tribal, with bitter rivalries existing between fans and clubs.

What i found interesting about Marina Hyde's article in the Guardian:

Why all this self-congratulation over duty of care to Fabrice Muamba?


and John Nicolson piece on the website Football365.

'Can This Bring Long-Term Perspective?'

is that they both argue that the compassion and support shown for Muamba is only what should naturally be expected from right minded people. As Hyde argues, what was the alternative?

There is a lot of mindless abuse, hatred and bitterness amongst football fans. But when a player is clearly dying on a pitch, what other response are we meant to have? It's great that football has come together to show it's support and that should be celebrated, but I do understand the argument that we shouldn't celebrate basic expectations of decent human behaviour.

For all the passion that we football fans have for the game, we all know deep down that it's really only a game. There are more important things in life even if it doesn't always feel that way.

How do you feel about football's reaction to Fabrice Muamba. Have a read of the articles I posted, let me know your thoughts.

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