Muamba reaction shows sorry state of our game

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In a new column in the Free Press Sports Editor Derek Bish gives his take on national sporting news making the back pages.

BEYOND the obvious sad story of Fabrice Muamba’s collapse in Saturday’s FA Cup tie between Tottenham Hotspur and Bolton Wanderers lies the sorry state of football.

Why should 40,000 fans and the wider football community be roundly praised for reacting with such compassion for a man who was fighting for his life?

It would be considered automatic in any other walk of life.

It is as if football was expected to react in the opposite way, and it’s not hard to see why.

Greedy, selfish people have taken over our sport, while continued play-acting — which has led to abusive chanting towards injured players — has soured the reputation of a once gentlemanly game of handshakes and sportsmanship.

At the end of the day, the chanting can still go too far, and it appears the acceptable line has now been drawn just short of players who could be dying.

I’ve been at professional matches where players have suffered career-threatening knee injuries and are clearly in a lot of pain, yet supporters have chanted ‘let him die’.

But how long before another Muamba-like incident happens and fans are on their feet chanting such obscenities at a player fighting for their life?

Don’t get me wrong, it is a wonderful miracle that the Bolton midfielder survived and good to see people come together to pray for him.

Perhaps this new-found unity in football can help it back into better times.