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Anorak | Fabrice Muamba: Richard Littlejohn says Muamba is the infection that triggers an English disease

Fabrice Muamba: Richard Littlejohn says Muamba is the infection that triggers an English disease

by | 21st, March 2012

FABRICE Muamba: Anorak’s look at the Bolton Wanderers’ footballer in the news: Richard Littlejohn’s spite in the Daily Mail and the Sun’s cynicism in trying to own Muamba and his illness.

Daily Mirror (front page)” Why did they stop the game?”

The Sun (front page): “Did we lose? Why did they stop the game?”

Both papers lead with same story that Fabrice Muamba’s father Marcel asked him if he knew who he was. Aime Esalo, a friend of the Muamba family, says: “Fabrice said ‘Yes’ and the next thing he asked was, ‘Did we lose?'”

Fabrice asked why the game between Bolton and Spurs had been stopped. Hsi father replied: “Because of you.”

The Sun has spotted a campaign. Newspapers love a campaign – it’s what makes them stand apart. The front page invites readers to:

“Join our CPR campaign in schools”

The Sun’s website features a link to the British Heart Foundation’s campaign:

Every school lesson is important. This one’s a matter of life and death. Join the fight to get every young person knowing how to save a life before they leave school. After all, having Emergency Life Support (ELS) skills should be as important as learning to read and write. We’ve reached a huge milestone because we now have more than 100,000 signatures on our ELS petition. We still need more signatures so keep helping us to spread the word and contact your local politician to get them on board with the campaign.

The Sun is seizing ownership of the campaign, making it is “OUR CAMPAIGN”. Tabloid newspapers really are that cynical.

Fabrice Muamba turns from sponging black immigrant to footballing hero

Daily Star (front page): “Fab could play again”

That expert view is rooted in the words of Bolton Wanderers’ manager Owen Coyle:

Asked if he thought Muamba would be able to resume his career, Coyle said: “It is something which has happened before.”

Well, Fabrice Muamba could play again. But would he want to? Would anyone insure him?

Over to Richard Littlejohn in the Daily Mail to add spite to the story. Yesterday Mumabs was sign of God’s love, today he’s a symbol of man’s descent.

Littlejohn is a Spurs fan. He was at the game when Muamba fell. It’s a status that marks him out as one of the elite, able to feel upset. But Richard ‘I was there’ Littlejohn does not want others to feel anguish and express their distress at seeing or hearing about a young man coming close to death on a football pitch. That includes those who lost loved ones and experienced the horrors in the Bradford City fire, or Hillsborough, or Heysel, or the Bolton Wanderers v Stoke City disaster of 1946 when 33 died, or the Celtic v Rangers match of 2 January 1971 when 66 died. You are all banned from being pained by Fabrice Muamba by Richard Littlejohn. The sorrow is reserv ed for him and his fellow I Was There fans only. 

But while it is understandable that others want to offer their support and good wishes to Muamba’s family and friends, it has also triggered another maudlin display of vicarious grief from the ‘football family’. As I have observed before, professional football has a sentimental streak the width of Wembley Stadium. On Sunday, Manchester United and Wolves staged a pre-match display of synchronised applause for Muamba, despite the fact he isn’t dead.

If only Muamba had died it would all be okay to feel upset. But a man who only nearly died is just not good enough for Littlejohn.

Have they even heard of him? Real Madrid players wear shirts emblazoned with ‘Get well soon Muamba’ Real Madrid wore ‘get well soon’ messages on their shirts, even though I doubt few of the players have ever heard of Muamba. The English disease has gone global.

The warping of the term English disease – a phrase once reserved for hooliganism – is cynical. The use of the word disease to describe the reaction to a man who is seriously ill is revolting.

Fabrice Muamba turns from sponging black immigrant to footballing hero



Posted: 21st, March 2012 | In: Key Posts, Sports Comment (1) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink