It took a lot to volunteer to write a post like this. It's one that no one should ever be wanting to work on.
It was a weird night. Coming back home all jolly after a few drinks on St. Paddy's night to an FA Cup tie featuring Spurs and the Wanderers, I would never have imagined what was about to unfold.
It looked innocuous at first, didn't it? Perhaps an off the ball incident, or an awkward landing? Rafael van der Vaart urged the physios on to the pitch, and that's when it hit me. Commentator Jon Champion's change in his tone suggested that he was well aware of the situation as well. The minutes passed like hours...
As an Arsenal faithful, I hate Spurs. More than anything, really, but I can't help but to respect the club and the fans for what followed. A capacity crowd sung Fabrice's name in unison. A number of times. Numerous fans started crying, and some looked up to the heavens and you could vaguely make out the words 'Please' and 'Get up, son'.
The players looked absolutely devastated and distraught. van der Vaart started praying as the resuscitation continued, and he went on to say a day after that that was the lowest point of his career. Big words coming from a man whose other half valiantly fought and won cancer. Benoit Assou-Ekotto said he had flashbacks to the incident involving Marc-Vivien Foe's collapse and eventual death during a Confederations Cup game.
I'm not going to pretend to clearly remember Fabrice Muamba's two games in Arsenal colours, against Sunderland and Reading, both being League Cup ties. I do, however, remember the plaudits the then 17 year old Arsenal midfielder was receiving; it DOES take a lot to be likened to Patrick Vieira.
A football game stopped, and football as a whole got united. Football players from all around the world, most to have never played with or against Fabrice, got involved. Twitter exploded with emotionally wonderful tweets of support for the Muamba household. Madrid sported shirts before their game, showing support to Fabrice and Abidal. Gary Cahill revealed a shirt reading out Pray 4 Muamba after scoring against Leicester that was so brilliant, he wasn't booked for it. (more)
Managers who've worked with Fabrice Muamba, past and present, have also spoken. Arsene Wenger in particular mentioned how the squad is "quite low" with the news, having had a "strong bond" having played together. He's backed "loved guy" Fabrice to recover and has sent him a personal message via Bolton. (courtesy of @YoungGunsBlog)
Owen Coyle has mentioned how the relegation scrap is no longer important for him now. A very affirming statement by the Bolton gaffer.
It was all lovely to see, but it was sad to realize that it took something horrible, horrible to get to this.
The latest is that he's breathing, talking and moving. He's also had one of the better nights sleeping last night, albeit still being in ICU. Positive and promising signs. He'll make it. Maybe not onto a football pitch again, but he'll be a revelation and inspiration to footballers all around.
"You'll never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have left."
I don't know about you, but I'll be at our local Arsenal Singapore pub singing out Fabrice's name loud and proud. He's one of our own.
Stay strong, Fabrice, we're all right here with you.