Belfast Telegraph

Taylor applauds response to stricken duo

Professional Footballers' Association chief executive Gordon Taylor has praised all quarters of the game for pulling together to offer support for Fabrice Muamba and Stiliyan Petrov.

In a season dogged by race controversies, players, fans and administrators alike have joined as one to send goodwill to Muamba after he suffered a cardiac arrest while playing for Bolton, and to Aston Villa captain Petrov who was last week diagnosed with acute leukaemia.

And Taylor is pleased that the game has shown its positive side, albeit in unfortunate circumstances, telling Press Association Sport: "I think one of the finest things this season, in spite of the various problems we have had, is the way the football family and community has come together very solidly in support of Fabrice and Stiliyan."

He added: "Irrespective of background, race, creed or culture, everyone has been hoping and praying that someone who is very highly regarded comes through, and that has been very gratifying.

"It has shown the best side of football. At times the game can show its worst side, but we have to work hard to make sure it remains the major spectator and participant sport."

Taylor wrote to Petrov last week after the news of his illness was announced, and has a particular fondness for the Bulgaria international.

"I know him as one of our members, and I know his reputation within the game - how highly he is thought of in his own country," he added.

Muamba's moving recovery from his collapse at White Hart Lane two weeks ago has pleased all in the sport and now, with Petrov set to embark on a bid for recovery, Taylor is hoping that the outcome will be similar.

"Stiliyan is well known here as a great person and a great leader. He is just a top-class player and person.

"It was a terrible shock, particularly coming off the back of Fabrice Muamba, and we just hope that in the way that Fabrice - touch wood - is coming through things, the same will happen with Stiliyan."


From Belfast Telegraph