I have often been irked by the following quotation: “Some people believe football is a matter of life and death. I’m very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that”. It came, of course, from the great Bill Shankly, and it troubles me that his name should be associated with a comment that can so often be sharply thrown into a focus that is unpleasant and unwanted. It is, of course, highly unusual for a footballer – as a young, healthy man – to die, and still less so that this should happen during the course of a match. We should, I guess, be relieved that this is the case. However, we should also be aware that it can happen, and the fact of the matter is that medical technology is imperfect, and that some congenital conditions cannot be easily detected.
To bring you up to speed, over the last ten days or so, Anton Reid, a 16 year-old Walsall trainee died after a training session with the West Midlands club, Chaswe Nsofwa, a Zambian player playing in Israel for Hapoel Beersheva died during a training session for his club and Antonio Puerta of Sevilla died three days after collapsing during their match against Getafe on Sunday. On top of this, Leicester City midfielder Clive Clarke collapsed on the pitch at the City Ground during their League Cup match against Nottingham Forest on Tuesday night with heart failure (he is, thankfully, said to be in a stable condition in hospital), and QPR player Ray Jones was killed in a car crash on Friday night. I don’t have much to add on the subject, apart from to add that our thoughts should all be with the loved ones of those that we have lost, and that we should all spare a moment on Saturday to consider that there are more important things than where the next three points are coming from.
Normal service will resume on here tomorrow night.