The Lead

All we know at this point is that Fabrice Muamba remains critically ill but stable in the London chest hospital. The only thing that remains is to wait in hope for the 23 year-old father and husband-to-be to recover.

But since the tragic events at White Hart Lane on Saturday, we’ve learned far, far more than we knew in the moments leading up to Muamba’s collapse on a football pitch. We’ve learned that football fans are not mere mobs or partisan caricatures. We’ve learned that despite media representation which often reduces footballers to a set of enigmatic character traits or career statistics or transfer fees and salaries, they are people as vulnerable to the thousand natural shocks as those of us watching at home.

The football world is united in hope for the well-being of Fabrice Muamba. Players, coaches, managers, officials, representatives around the globe have been affected in ways we’ve rarely seen even in light of other recent tragedies connected to the sport. Perhaps it’s because the sometimes random cruelty of “real life” is something that happens on football’s periphery, but rarely within the game itself.

David Mitchell once joked in a sketch that football “goes on and on, forever, endlessly.” You can see his point; football’s a game far removed from the tragic circumstances of our mortality (part of the reason why many commentators are erroneously repeating the lie that football ‘doesn’t matter’ after Saturday). Ninety minutes on a pitch of joy, sadness, anguish, excitement. When the final whistle blows and the fans leave or turn off their TVs, we know there are more fixtures, more cups, more seasons to come, seemingly without end. It’s played by young people at the peak of their physical strength in the prime of their life on a pitch that’s green no matter the season.

It’s why the sport comforts us, why it’s an escape, and why Saturday was a cruel reminder that there is no boundary between sport and “real life.” Real life is the Muamba family’s escape from Zaire in 1997. Real life is Muamba’s role as a father, a fiance. Real life is the importance of heart screening for pro athletes, and ambulances at football grounds. Real life is a stadium of opposing supporters chanting Muamba’s name, or Howard Webb calling off the game, or the outpouring of support from around the globe. Real life is millions of strangers checking news updates in the hopes a young man will pull through a life-threatening condition. Real life is all of us united by the love of a simple game. Real life is football.


John Molinaro wonders whether the Montreal Impact can keep the fan momentum after incredible display at 1-1 draw with the Chicago Fire.

The draw was bittersweet.

Toronto FC losing Torsten Frings to injury far worse than the 3-1 loss to Seattle.

More on that game here.

Vancouver Whitecaps beat Chivas USA away. Massey goes mental.

Supporters groups pen open letter to MLS commissioner Don Garber.


Bolton may postpone game against Blackburn in light of Muamba’s illness.

Bolton may pull out of FA Cup altogether.

Berbatov set to leave Manchester United in summer.

Kenny Dalglish says Liverpool won’t play FA Cup semi on the anniversary of the 1989 Hillsborough stadium disaster.

Torres the latest player to tear strips off Andre Villas-Boas.

Jurgen Klinsmann rubbishes Spurs rumours.


No mere cold will stop Zlatan.

Massimo Morrati pays Ranieri a visit.

The official line is that Forlan did not refuse to come off the bench.


Real Madrid slips up a bit in the title race. By drawing.


Review of match day 26 from the Bundesliga.

Bits and bobs

Michael Cox on the deep-lying playmaker.

Another tragedy rocks the SPL.

And that, give or take, is the story so far…