Football Diary

by Patrick O’Connor


THE family of the Bolton player Fabrice Muamba have posted a picture of him on Twitter from his hospital room – a move which has provided comfort for the Aston Villa captain Stiliyan Petrov who has been diagnosed with acute leukaemia.

Speaking before Saturday’s home game against Chelsea, Petrov said that he had taken strength from Muamba’s recent battle with ill-health after the player suffered a cardiac arrest during the game at Tottenham.

“I saw the picture released yesterday by Fabrice Muamba, my fellow player, and it has inspired me as has all of the support in the past 24 hours,” Petrov said.

The BBC Sport presenter and former England striker Gary Lineker commented: “”My eldest son George had acute myeloid leukaemia when he was a tiny baby, he is now 20 and doing very well. He is a mini-miracle in many ways.

“In both Stiliyan Petrov’s case and with Fabrice Muamba a few weeks ago, the football family has united from all parts of the game and all parts of the world. It is very comforting to see that.”

A 21 year old student has been jailed for 56 days for posting racially offensive comments on Twitter about Muamba.

Liam Stacey, from Pontypridd, admitted inciting racial hatred over remarks about the player.

Swansea Magistrates’ Court District Judge John Charles told Stacey: “In my view, there is no alternative to an immediate prison sentence.

“It was not the football world who was praying for [Muamba]…. everybody was praying for his life.”

Better late than never …. the Walsall defender Mat Sadler has broken one of the football’s longer droughts by scoring his first ever professional goal in the 3-1 victory over Colchester.

Sadler was playing in his 193rd league game.

Good news for the followers of Championship leaders Southampton, especially in the current economic climate.

The club have announced that £33m of loans invested in the Saints by the estate of former owner Markus Liebherr will not have to be paid back.

The money was invested in the club over the two seasons to June 2011, but has now been converted into shares, removing it as a liability.

Chief financial officer Gareth Rogers told BBC Radio Solent: “Effectively the club no longer owes that money.”

It was almost painful to watch the body language of the Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini as his side struggled to grasp a 3-3 home draw against Sunderland and hand the Premier League title race initiative over to bitter rivals Manchester United.

Mancini has had millions and millions of pounds at his disposal to assemble what is probably the most expensive club side in the world but money is quite definitely not everything.

City are struggling to achieve consistency and their expensive bunch of thoroughbreds even squabble amongst themselves as the unsightly tussle between Mario Balotelli and Aleksandar Kolarov over who should take a free kick illustrated.

After the game Mancini said: “ I think it is the correct result, a draw, but we didn’t do a good performance. I am happy only for the last 10 minutes, for the other 80 minutes I am unhappy because we didn’t play very well. I don’t know why.”

The pressure is certainly mounting on the City boss and he didn’t look a happy bunny.

Who’s been a naughty boy then?

Actually, there were five ‘naughty boys’ in the League Two game between Bradford and Crawley which saw a flurry of red cards issued after the final whistle.

The referee called three Bradford players and two from Crawley into his dressing room and issued them with red cards for violent conduct after a massive punch-up at the end of the game.

The Football Association is now carrying out an investigation and it is highly likely that further disciplinary action will follow.