30 December 2007

Phil O'Donnell 1972-2007

Regular readers of my blog will know of my love of football. Normally around this time of the week following a road trip this season I would be posting the latest instalment in my Stadium Tour of Scotland. This week I'll be postponing that entry.

The reason is that yesterday's trip passed two scenes of tragedy. Firstly just as we were starting out from our Stadium came the news that there was a major crash on the Westbound M8 which we would have to navigate around. As we passed the scene having come through Harthill on the Edinburgh Road we saw the Air Ambulance had landed, 5 ambulances, numerous police and three fire engines were in attendance. We knew it was a very severe incident even then. As we resumed our trip along the M8 the Clyde Health Special Operations van also passed us heading to the scene. A scene that was still being worked at as we passed again 6 hours later.

As we carried on our trip to Dumfries take us down the M74 from where you can see Firhill home of Motherwell. On our return trip this coincidence took on even greater significance.

For any football hearing that any other game has had a major incident treating a player that delays their finishing time is heart rendering. We all hope the player although obviously potential seriously hurt can make a recovery. So was our initial reaction when we heard that Phil O'Donnell the Motherwell captain had been the subject of 5 minutes of treatment on the park following a collapse as he was being substituted.

We continued on our way and past the still lit up Firhill, when the saddest news of all that a player who just that afternoon had been taking part in the game we loved had died. All talk of how our own team had done went by the way.

Bill Shankley famously said "Some people believe football is a matter of life and death. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that". Sadly since Shankley said those at the time inspirational words on many occasions they have proved hollow and today is another day on which they are proved wrong.

If you wish to pay your respects to Phil or add you condolences there are many ways already set up to do that.

His club Motherwell FC have this page where you can email your tribute to the club.

The Scottish Fans Forum Pie and Bovril have this thread.

And I've also found this page as well.

I know there are others and your own teams site may well have one as well. If so post the link especially to one of the two above as football fans of every colour shirt and scarf will always tend to mingle at a time such as this in one community.

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