Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

FA Cup 'irelevant' as Bolton rally around Fabrice Muamba

A view of shirts that have been left from from well wishers at the Reebok Stadium in Bolton, for Bolton Wanderer's Fabrice Muamba who collapsed on the pitch at White Hart Lane yesterday evening
Get well soon messages to Bolton Wanderers footballer Fabrice Muamba, who remains in a critical condition in hospital today after suffering from a heart attack, outside the Reebok Stadium, Bolton
Get well messages for Bolton Wanderers footballer Fabrice Muamba outside the London Chest Hospital, London, where he is being treated after collapsing during a game yesterday

Bolton skipper Kevin Davies believes questions about the club's continued participation in the FA Cup are irrelevant whilst Fabrice Muamba remains critically ill in hospital.

A further update has been released on Muamba's condition this morning, although it was largely the same as the final update yesterday.

Muamba collapsed on the field during his side's quarter-final with Tottenham on Saturday, with the game abandoned just before half-time as a result.

"Fabrice Muamba's heart condition is stable, but he remains critically ill in intensive care at The London Chest Hospital," read a joint statement released by Barts and the London NHS Trust and Bolton Wanderers.

Bolton's players had a team meeting at their Euxton training complex this morning to be given the latest bulletin.

They already know the planned encounter with Aston Villa tomorrow has been postponed.

However, they are supposed to be in action against Blackburn on Saturday and there have been some suggestions that they are not comfortable facing the prospect of a re-arranged FA Cup quarter-final at Spurs given the trauma they went through at White Hart Lane.

Speaking for the first time since Muamba collapsed, Davies said Bolton's next game was the last thing on his mind.

"Any of those questions are irrelevant at the minute," he said.

"I have been speaking to the manager and I have travelled back with the chairman. He went back down to support Fabrice and his family.

"It was optional to come into training today and decisions will have to be made but my immediate thoughts are with Fabrice and his family.

"The club will take a stance on it in the next couple of days. But at the minute we want to just try and help Fabrice."

Davies went to hospital with Muamba on Saturday night and marvelled at the work of medical staff, who he is convinced saved Muamba's life.

"The amount of people who were turning up, running around trying to get Fabrice sorted out was amazing," he said.

"There is no doubt in my mind if it wasn't down to all those people, we wouldn't even be in this situation.

"We are all thankful to them that they have given Fabrice a bit of hope."

Davies has also been touched by the overwhelming support for Muamba from across the footballing world.

Fans of both sides applauded the 23-year-old off the pitch on Saturday and supporters at other matches since have offered their own backing with a minute's applause.

Numerous scarves and other tributes from competing clubs have been left at the Reebok Stadium.

Davies is thankful for all of these. But there is a part of him that feels quite saddened.

"It is the first time in my nearly 19 years in the game that I have seen a stadium unite," he said.

"It was touching but I was laying in bed thinking how sad it was as well.

"As professionals, we put a lot of hours in. We work hard and make a lot of sacrifices.

"But it seems that that the only way you are going to get a ripple of applause away from your own ground is to get carried off on a stretcher.

"That is a sad state of affairs. Fans are quick to get off their seats if there is a mis-timed tackle.

"Maybe people have to ask why Fabrice Muamba runs 80 yards to put a last-ditch tackle in.

"It is not because he has anything against your team. It is because he is working hard for his own.

"If there is anything positive to come out of this, when you see supporters from all over, it would be nice if the fans could unite."

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