Now That Fabrice Muamba is Getting Better…….

Posted on March 27, 2012

Because I anticipated vitriol, I decided not to comment on Fabrice Muamba until I knew he was going to survive, but now it is obvious he will, I can ask this question. What is it with the British public and their obsession with the prospect of having someone to mourn? Of course, as it happens, Muamba let his adopted nation down last week by having audacity to survive a massive heart attack courtesy of, not a miracle as some are stating, but exceptional medical staff  who somehow electrocuted him back to life, an incredible achievement considering he was pretty much dead for some time. Let me state now that I am glad he is getting better, even if I had never really heard of him before this incident and I didn’t chant his name at a football match or hold up a piece of cardboard with “Pray for Muamba” written on it.

At what point the job lot of RIP Muamba T-shirts got cancelled, I am not sure, but by Wednesday the slogan “Pray for Muamba” had gone viral. Not to be deterred by the disappointment of the continued speedy recovery of the stricken Bolton Wanderers player, the T Shirt manufacturers renegotiated a deal that actually gave them the opportunity to charge print for four additional letters on the shirts to be worn by professional footballers at home and all across Europe. Meanwhile, attention seeking parents were informed by Sky that if they sent their toddlers in a replica kit to the gates of their local football team with a bunch of flowers, there was a good chance they would get on TV. It has to be said that Sky didn’t let them down.

At the Peterborough versus Reading game last Wednesday, fans of the Royals chanted Muamba’s name so loud that I thought his recovery had been so amazing  that we had actually signed him on loan to aid a surge towards the Premiership. Alas, this wasn’t the case, it was just fans showing what a great community football is and that along with a desire to stab Swindon fans, their thoughts were very much with Muamba in his time of need.  Great guys these, the football community, as it is now known, is just one big happy family after all. As the week went by, the PMA (Professional Mourners Association) were given more bad news when it was announced that Muamba was now likely to make a full recovery…………suddenly, with no toffs sailing in to the territory of Somali Pirates or getting eaten by Polar bears, a minutes silence at Football grounds across the country was looking like an unlikely prospect!

Only in Britain: A shrine for someone who didn’t die

All this nonsense stems back to the death of “Diana, Princess of Tarts” in 1997, a time when Britain collapsed in to a week of pitiful mourning for someone who was best known for fornicating with army captains, rugby players and illegal immigrants (albeit rich ones) in between taking time out to cuddle a starving African kid or shake hands with an AIDS patient. That week saw a change from stiff upper lip Britain to pathetic sobbing, morbid attention seeking Britain. The sight of people dramatically throwing roses at the funeral car is as clear in my minds eye now as it was then, I can even remember one nutcase claiming it was the worst day of her life! What is so wrong with us that we have a need to feel part of someone else’s grief, no matter that we don’t know them or have any relevance in their life. I find it absolutely absurd, life is like a movie where no-one gets out alive, so we can all be assured of our own grieving at some point in the future without the need to gatecrash others. Catholics and Liverpudlians seem to be the worst at it…..remember Ken Bigley? He legged it from Liverpool thirty years before he got his head lopped off by kidnappers in some despot Arab state, but that didn’t stop the sobbing scousers shutting down Liverpool for two minutes to remember someone who couldn’t wait to get out of the fucking place at the first opportunity. Bizarre!

Why don’t  we replace hypocrisy and false grieving with honesty and decency by waiting our turn and allowing those close to sick or dead people to grieve in peace, rather than trying to join in as if it is a party and lambasting those who are showing understandable apathy towards the whole charade. Around the time of the death of Diana, I went to a football match between Leeds United and Chelsea with some posh bloke called Julian who was a season ticket holder. He was one of those former Army captain types (Princess Diana would have liked him) but despite all the Ralph Lauren and Armani clothes he still had the likable ability to look a bit scruffy, perhaps as a sign of rebellion after years of being in immaculate uniform. As we took our seats we were told by the tannoy announcer that we would have to hold a minute’s silence before the game out of respect for former Leeds United legend Billy Bremner who had recently met his maker courtesy of a heart attack.  As soon as the referee blew his whistle and the crowd fell silent Julian, a chap who I wasn’t sure if I had liked to up until this point, stood up and bellowed out in his perfect English accent:


Totally uncalled for I know, but all the same, it shocked me in to one of the acutest giggling fits I have ever had, because you see, this guy had watched Billy Bremner and Leeds United kick Chelsea all over Elland Road and Stamford Bridge in the 1970’s and he could see no reason to show him respect, as a Chelsea  fan he just couldn’t do it, in fact he saw the minutes silence as the perfect opportunity to vent his true feelings. You just have to admire that and I certainly found it far more endearing than if he had held up a piece of cardboard with “RIP Bremner” written on it just so he might get on TV. At least he was being true to himself and for that reason I thoroughly enjoyed his company for the rest of the afternoon.

On a final note……I often what on earth is going to happen when the Queen or the old milk snatcher croaks it? A years silence perhaps? To get away from it all I think I might just go sailing off the coast of Somalia or camping in the back garden of a Polar bear.

I think you’d all look  quite good in “Pray for Bob”  T shirts!

5 Replies to "Now That Fabrice Muamba is Getting Better......."

  • Craig Killick
    March 27, 2012 (7:24 pm)

    Mourners are like football fans… glory hunters. Bores the shite out of me people keep going on about a person they didn’t know, probably hadn’t heard of, purely because it was so public.

    I find the fact that 22 children died in a bus crash a few days before much more deserving of my fandom.

  • Trevor
    March 28, 2012 (1:31 am)

    Nice post Bob. Is it wrong that I’ve got a bottle of champagne in the fridge waiting for Thatcher’s demise?

    Can’t believe the photo of the shrine!

    • Bob Lethaby
      March 28, 2012 (6:54 pm)

      I will fly to Aus to help you polish it off Trev……..

  • Nick
    March 28, 2012 (6:25 pm)

    Sounds like the courts have also got the obsession Bob. Check this out

    Now I am not condoning racist comments and I don’t know what he said but to stick a 21 year old in prison for 56 days because he got drunk and posted something nasty on Facebook seems bonkers to me – no wonder we have record prisoner levels.

    Also if posting defamatory remarks on t’internet means a prison sentence then you have got a life term to look forward to do – it’s been nice knowing you Bob

    • Bob Lethaby
      March 28, 2012 (6:53 pm)

      Shit! By calling scousers habitual mourners can I get a stretch in prison????

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