Leading article: Time to take some emotion out of football

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It is not that Fabrice Muamba does not deserve every sympathy, following his heart attack on the pitch at Tottenham earlier this month. But these mawkish displays of public emotion in football are getting out of hand.

First came the rash of calls to pray for the sick man. Then last weekend, when Mr Muamba's Bolton team played its first match since his collapse, the midfielder was given the formal one minute's applause that usually honours the dead – despite the fact the 23-year-old was, by then, well enough to sit up in bed and the following morning watched part of Match of the Day.

Even that was not enough, apparently. With the tribute due to be repeated again last night – this time at the replay of the abandoned Tottenham game – such mass emoting bears all the signs of self-indulgence. Of course, we all wish Mr Muamba well. Now that he is on the mend, however, he does not need all this schmaltz.

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