Monday, 2 April 2012

Fabrice Muamba: Bringing the football world together for all the wrong reasons

1 comment

I'll always remember the moment I heard the news. In my hotel room on my brother's stag in Marbella my Uncle walks in and says "have you heard about the Spurs game?" Now I've heard quips like that many times in my life and naturally my answer was "no, what's happened?" automatically thinking that someone is losing by a large amount of goals. His next words were "Fabrice Muamba...." and at that exact moment not one ounce of me was ready for what would be said next. My subconscious went through the usual process of elimination in my head by first coming up with a list of options: goal from the halfway line, own goal, bicycle kick, sent off etc but I was not prepared for the tail-end of my Uncle's sentence: "....collapsed on the pitch and the game has been abandoned". My heart sank and I still can't recall what was being said prior to these words being uttered. In an instant my mind cast back to 2003 when Marc Vivien-Foe succumbed to the same fate. Difference being, I was actually watching that game and I've only felt that weird sensation when learning of a relative passing away. To see someone fighting for their life is one thing, but to watch them pretty much pass away is horrible viewing. I'll never forget that match against Columbia.

Muamba's path was different to Foe's, he survived for one thing and it's being hailed as a 'miracle' and you're not wrong. He saw the light and effectively died multiple times, only for the perseverance of the medical teams is he still allowed to be on Earth with us. In an odd way, the man to thank for this is Petr Cech. In 2006 Cech received a terrible head injury and changed the game for emergency services within football forever: a classic case of being reactive rather than proactive. When Cech had been tended to by the physios present, he had to wait for 30 minutes for an ambulance. Only after multiple complaints did he eventually get to an emergency room for them to find out he'd smashed his skull. It was clear there is only so much a physio can do in these circumstances and this was the catalyst to the abundance of medical options at football matches now. Doctors at football matches are now trained in how to diagnose much faster and find a solution just as fast as it is this quick thinking that can save lives. Also a reason why difibrillators are now commonplace at stadiums  However this does begs the question: "If that level of medical help was available in 2003, would Foe still be around?".

Amid the furore of Muamba's situation, there did seem to be an air of sensationalism. People just using the '#prayforMuamba' hashtag in order to get followers or for someone famous person to retweet them was just ridiculous. Somewhat odd behaviour when another human being is dying and you're asking for twitter love. This was merely a slight downside when compared to the 'trolls' out there. In fairness, the term 'troll' never looked right but after this it couldn't be more apt. Enter Liam Stacey, a boy that openly mocked Muamba's collapse and followed up with racial slurs. Once he had been exposed, his first reaction was to claim that his account had been hacked. Only to weep like a child in court as he was jailed for 56 days for being a complete and utter imbecile. I'm pretty sure that's the fastest I've seen a member of the public be tried and subsequently jailed and it's a great option to have. Lessons can be learned here for all that bring hate to twitter as even I have been accustomed to the occasional Piers Morgan jibe.

When the footballing world in this country was going through a bad time with racism being the ball and chain clamped around its ankle, it took a moment of genuine shock to change everything. Ever since the Evra/Suarez and Terry/Ferdinand debacles there has been some form of racism-related news story accompanying the back pages every single week. From ex-footballers to current footballers all receiving some sort of abuse it can only be described as embarrassing. First a laughing stock on the pitch, now matters off it are even more prevalent in the news. I'm of the belief that racism will always exist, however minor it may be and the optimists among you may disagree but remember that someone can not like the colour of your skin either.

So it's ironic that the colour of Muamba's skin had nothing to do with the collective support everyone had. It didn't matter that he was the same colour as the footballers and pundits getting abused. All that was of concern was that a fellow peer/person needed help and that's exactly what he got. It took a player to come close to death for the majority of fans in this country to come together and it was a sight to behold. It didn't even affect people just from England as fans from across the globe added their tributes along with many footballers in foreign lands. It's just a shame that it takes something of this magnitude to peel away the stupid-ness of footballing life in order to reveal that it is just a game. We're euphoric in victory and dejected in defeat however it's a case of going on to the next one. So do not fret as there will always be another game, another match to hold on to the hope of scoring one more than the opposition. Make no mistake, there will always be people with sub-human levels of I.Q but that's what sets you apart, that's why you can view them as imbecilic and that's why you're better than them. That's why I believe we can get past this.

Football is now in a better place in this country. Confidence hasn't been completely restored but it's a great way in order for everyone to move on. Well, until John Terry gets tried and everyone forgets how, for a brief moment, Muamba changed everything.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Amit

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