Muamba collapse leaves rivals chanting his name

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Players and supporters left in a state of shock as paramedics pump midfielder’s chest while the 23-year-old is rushed to hospital in an ambulance

White Hart Lane

By seven o'clock last night, as Tottenham's FA Cup quarter-final against Bolton Wanderers should have been building to a climax, White Hart Lane was eerily silent and fearing the worst. There was serious concern for the life of Fabrice Muamba, the 23-year-old Bolton midfielder who collapsed three minutes before half-time.

Although play was on that same side of the pitch – the far side from the tunnel – Muamba was not involved as Gareth Bale broke down the left wing and crossed the ball.

Players of both sides immediately called for assistance and indicated that medical staff and stretcher bearers needed a greater sense of urgency. Six paramedics attended but it was clear from the reaction of players and crowd that this was no ordinary injury.

As a defibrilator was brought on and resuscitation was attempted, a number of team-mates and opponents could not bring themselves to look. Television coverage by ESPN showed sufficient sensitivity not to home in.

The crowd on that side of the pitch could see that something was seriously wrong. Whereas there would normally have been complaints and jeers, the home crowd regularly broke into applause as Bolton supporters chanted Muamba's name.

Six paramedics attended him and players led by the Spurs captain Scott Parker and senior professional William Gallas appeared to be telling referee Howard Webb that the game could not continue and after speaking to managers Harry Redknapp and Owen Coyle he led the teams from the pitch some five minutes after the incident occurred. Shortly afterwards there was an official announcement of an abandonment and the 35,000 crowd were asked to leave, with the main stand patrons being held back.

Players stood around in the dressing room area in a state of shock while Bolton's manager Owen Coyle and Kevin Davies, who was a non-playing substitute, accompanied him to the London Chest Hospital.

This is the latest in a series of similar incidents in the last few years, some of which have seen players lose their lives. In December 2007 Phil O'Donnell, a 35-year-old Motherwell player, collapsed during a game against Dundee United with what was later confirmed as heart failure. He died on the way to hospital. The same year Antonio Puerta of Sevilla died after collapsing in a game against Getafe.

Earlier tragedies concerned Marc-Vivien Foé the Cameroon midfielder at the 2003 Confederations Cup semi-final against Colombia and David Longhurst of York City who suffered a heart attack while playing against Lincoln City at the age of 25.

Last night's game was halted with the scores level at 1-1, but that was hardly of any significance as night drew in here. The crowd filed away quietly with Bolton's followers being sympathetically applauded by Spurs fans, leaving only stewards and media representatives who were told the ground would be closed by nine o'clock.

By that stage news was filtering back to the stadium and reaching the Bolton supporters on their long journey home that Muamba was first in a stable, and then critical, condition and that the worst seemed to have been averted.

The Professional Footballers' Association's chief executive Gordon Taylor, a former Bolton player, said last night: "At the moment we are all watching, waiting, hoping and praying. For all the football family it's a terrible thing to see. We just hope it's not going to be a situation like that of Marc-Vivian Foé.

"This can happen on a pitch and is one of the reasons why we insist all youngsters coming into the game have the ability to have heart screenings.

"Fabrice is a very popular character. He's a great lad with great family. Everybody is just feeling terrible at the moment. I hope he can pull through."

As is the way these days, players and friends took to Twitter to express their sympathy as well as in some cases prayers for a fellow Christian. The Middlesbrough defender Justin Hoyte, who came through the Arsenal youth team with Muamba, posted: "I seriously hope my best friend in football is OK. Stay strong bro please please stay strong. God is with you remember that."

Arsenal's Robin van Persie and Everton's Tim Cahill were among others who also turned to Twitter while Muamba's Bolton team-mate, Stuart Holden, wrote: "Praying for you Fab. Hope he's OK. Thoughts with him and his family."

The Tottenham midfielderTom Huddlestone, who had missed the match through injury, wrote: "Thoughts with Fab and his family. Feel sick watching this, puts football and everything else into perspective."

The football world, Christian or not, could say Amen to that last night.

News
The Banksy image in Folkestone before it was vandalised
people
Life and Style
tech

Sales of the tablet are set to fall again, say analysts

Sport
football West Brom vs Man Utd match report: Blind grabs point, but away form a problem for Van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
Gotham is coming to UK shores this autumn
tvGotham, episode 2, review
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Bloom Time: Mira Sorvino
tvMira Sorvino on leaving movie roles for 'The Intruders'
News
Brian Harvey turned up at Downing Street today demanding to speak to the Prime Minister
news

Met Police confirm there was a 'minor disturbance' and that no-one was arrested

Arts and Entertainment
George Lucas poses with a group of Star Wars-inspired Disney characters at Disney's Hollywood Studios in 2010
films

George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios

Voices
Chris Grayling, Justice Secretary: 'There are pressures which we are facing but there is not a crisis'
voices

Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?

Life and Style
A street vendor in Mexico City sells Dorilocos, which are topped with carrot, jimaca, cucumber, peanuts, pork rinds, spices and hot sauce
food + drink

Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets

News
Blackpool is expected to become one of the first places to introduce the Government’s controversial new Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs)
news

Concerns raised phenomenon is threatening resort's image as a family destination

Life and Style
Northern soul mecca the Wigan Casino
fashionGone are the punks, casuals, new romantics, ravers, skaters, crusties. Now all kids look the same
Life and Style
gaming

I Am Bread could actually be a challenging and nuanced title

Life and Style
The charity Sands reports that 11 babies are stillborn everyday in the UK
lifeEleven babies are stillborn every day in the UK, yet no one speaks about this silent tragedy
News
Nigel Farage has backed DJ Mike Read's new Ukip song
i100
Voices
The number of children in relative income poverty is currently 2.3 million in the UK
voices

Environment
A Brazilian wandering spider
natureIt's worth knowing for next time one appears in your bananas
Life and Style
Time and Oak have developed a product that allows drinkers to customise the flavour and improve the quality of cheaper whiskey
food + drink

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album
Hugh Bonneville & Peter James: 'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'

How We Met: Hugh Bonneville & Peter James

'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's heavenly crab dishes don't need hours of preparation

Bill Granger's heavenly crab recipes

Scared off by the strain of shelling a crab? Let a fishmonger do the hard work so you can focus on getting the flavours right
Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

After a remarkable conversion from reckless defender to prolific striker, Monaco's ace says he wants to make his loan deal at Old Trafford permanent
Terry Venables: Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England

Terry Venables column

Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England
The Inside Word: Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past

Michael Calvin's Inside Word

Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past