It’s just a game…

24 02 2008

There is something in sport that is still human after all. Eduardo’s horrific break yesterday served to confirm that for me. The genuine shock and horror that reflected on all the players faces during the match was really frightening for anybody to watch. The tackle, of which there are now numerous videos on YouTube (despite it being deemed too horrific to repeat during the match coverage) was awful. That Eduardo broke his leg is not anywhere near the full story though.

Arsene Wenger, somebody who I have a lot of time for, insisted in the immediate aftermath that Martin Taylor, the hapless offender, should be banned from the sport for life. He later, thankfully, retracted this statement, explaining that in the heat of the moment, he had overreacted. This is perfectly understandable, one of his players had just had his leg shattered and may, at this stage, never return to football. It has reminded me of other such things: There was David Busst of Coventry in 1996, there was Luc Nilis of Aston Villa, and, more recently, there was Djibril Cisse and Alan Smith.

It has also served to prove that in the modern big-money world of professional football, there is still a part to play for humanity. There are some things more important than the match. The players, every time, should come first.

However, I am not suggesting that football should be made non-contact, or changed in any way. I think people have to accept that these injuries, as sickening as they may be, are still very much part of the game. They always will be, especially as the game becomes quicker, and the stakes become higher.

Wenger’s reaction to Taylor was completely over the top, and distinctly out of character for this well spoken Frenchman. It simply goes to show how much he cares for his team.

For what it’s worth, I do not, and cannot believe there was any intent on Taylor’s part. As Alan Hansen said on MOTD last night, Eduardo was simply too quick for Taylor, and a freak injury happened. Arsenal should now concentrate on two things. Firstly is helping Eduardo through this injury. Secondly, they should now be even more inspired in winning something this season, for him. Like Man Utd did for Alan Smith (The FA Cup I think?).

Sometimes though, there are bigger things than tropies, or football matches, and this injury has served to prove that to me again.

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