In recent weeks, football fans have rallied to support Bolton’s footballer Fabrice Muamba in an outpouring of concern and compassion following his cardiac arrest and collapse during an FA Cup game. After months of negative headlines about racism in football, Hope Not Hate recognises the humanity of British sports fans and society at large, in this article. Fabrice’s family fled the civil war in Democratic Republic of Congo, when he was just 11, yet he went on to learn the language, educate himself to A’Level standard and became a successful footballer.
The North-east football community has shown its support for the player also. On Sunday 18th March nearly 50 000 at St James’ Park, of whom all but a couple of thousand were Newcastle supporters, gave what was later described as a ‘loud’ one minute’s applause in support of Fabrice. This poignant North-east support for Fabrice was followed the next day by the Sunderland squad visiting the Reebok Stadium, home of Bolton Wanderers, to express their support for Fabrice.
But then what else would you expect from North-east England? We always have been a region overwhelmingly populated by decent people who have consistently rejected racist views.