Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughWhen football doesn't matter - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough When football doesn't matter - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

When football doesn’t matter

Last weekend Nottingham Forest’s on loan striker Billy Sharp played against Barnsley. The match marked the anniversary of the tragic passing of his son Luey, who died last year.

How Sharp would have wanted to score on such a poignant occasion and celebrate a life which was so cruelly short lived.

The incident last year seemed to unite football. Sharps bravery at playing only 3 days after the loss of his son was, quite rightly, applauded.

He scored in that game against Middlesbrough and lifted up his shirt to reveal the message “That’s for you son”. Not even the most cynical referee in the world would have booked him for that.

Much like the incident with Fabrice Muamba last season when he so nearly lost his life following a cardiac arrest on the pitch at White Hart Lane in an FA Cup game against Tottenham it takes something tragic to truly unite football fans.

The tribalism in English football is something which makes it so enthralling. The bitter rivalries between clubs steeped in tradition are something which for me, makes football in this country the envy of the world.

Rival football fans have a lot of animosity towards each other, but in situations like these we realise how irrelevant the actual game of football is and start to appreciate what really matters.

When a life hangs in the balance everything else pales into insignificance. The incredibly poignant images of Sharp and Muamba being given standing ovations by home and away fans reinforce the emotions felt by football fans nationwide.

It is such a shame that we do not see the good side of football like this more often, and it is an even bigger shame that we only see it at such desperate times and in such tragic circumstances.

I’m sure not even the most cold-hearted or staunch Barnsley fan would have refused to applaud Billy Sharp had he scored against them this weekend.

The result went in Forest’s favour; they ran out 4-1 winners with Sharp unfortunate not to be amongst the scorers.

A goal would have been the perfect birthday present for his little boy, but the result was enough.

That’s for you son.

Robert Lock