One Under / One Down

It’s been a while since I last blogged and there are several reasons for that – not least because I’ve been lazy.

As you’d expect, lots has happened in that time. I’m not going to bore you with the details, but I do want to make reference to a couple of incidents which have highlighted for me a lot about some people and their moral compass(es)

One Under

Firstly, on Sunday  11th March, I was on a late evening train heading back from a great weekend with Michelle  in the Tyne Valley. Picture the scene, the train is busy, everyone heading home from weekends away etc. The 10 or so Millwall fans were enjoying yet more beers and all was well with the world. We had just left our last stop before London which was Peterborough and had reached full speed again,  when it happened.

There were a couple of bangs, the train started to rock as though it had de-railed and the train started to screech to a halt. My initial though was “WTF” and I thought the train had indeed hit something and derailed. I braced myself incase the carriage(s) overturned.

Fortunately the train came safely to a halt. We were somewhere north of Huntingdon.

Announcement 1 -The train guard [TG] announced that the train had hit something and the driver was going to have to inspect the scene to find out what we had hit before a decision could be made about continuing the journey.

A few minutes later, came

Announcement 2 –TG said the driver had discovered a body on the track and that we would have to wait the arrival of the emergency services before the train could be moved.

45 minutes after this came

Announcement 3 – TG apologising for delay saying we were still awaiting emergency services arriving.

A little later came announcement:

Announcement 4 – TG advising we would be moving shortly and he would give us an estimated ETA very shortly.

There came subsequent announcement re ETA and also re getting to destinations, taxis for those who had missed last connections etc and details of compensation claims.

You would have thought this would have satisfied the passengers. What more could East coast do?

Well according to certain people:

1. The train took far to long to stop

2. There was no need to tell people the train had hit a body

3. Why could we not get off the train and walk

4. It was selfish of the suicidal person to jump in front of a train. Why did they not do something more sensible and less selfish like take an overdose at home?

5. The deceased was selfish as  the delay to the train meant they wont get to see their friend before he goes on his holiday (skiing). They should have thought about “victims” like us who suffer because of their selfish actions

Well let’s look at these comments

1. The train took far to long to stop – this was a several hundred tons of locomotive travelling at well over 100mph. I don’t think the stopping distance is the same as a ford fiesta travelling at 30mph.

2. There was no need to tell people the train had hit a body – so what would they prefer? The guard to  say nothing at all or to say “We are stopped but I’m not going to tell you why”?

3. Why could we not get off the train and walk – we’ll ignore the fact that there are no roads / places to walk. Where do they want to go to? Then there is the fact there would be a drop of around 4feet to the ground and then uneven stones and sleepers/ rails to navigate? Then what do people do when they get off the train?

4. It was selfish of the suicide person to jump in front of a train. Why did they not do something more sensible and less selfish like take an overdose at home? – I’m not sure that a person in the act of committing suicide is either thinking rationally or thinking of the impact on others. Those who are suicidal are usually not thinking of others. The balance of their mind is disturbed.

5. The deceased was selfish as the delay to the train meant they wont get to see their friend before he goes on his holiday (skiing). They should have thought about “victims” like us who suffer because of their selfish actions – no thought for the victim who was in such a depressed state that suicide seemed the only option, nor any thought for the family or friends of the deceased who will never see their loved one again, not when they come back from their holiday.

You are probably thinking that it’s drunken football fans like that group of Millwall supporters making such insensitive and stupid comments aren’t you? Well, it wasn’t, it was 2 females in their late 20’s sat opposite me. Both were, from earlier conversations they were having, University Graduates and ex public schoolgirls. Proof that education doesn’t prevent gross stupidity and insensitivity. Thinking only of themselves seems to be a sad modern trend and not something that makes us better as a society.

The Millwall fans were the model of respectable behaviour, even sharing their food and drink with the rest of the carriage.

One Down

The one down being Bolton footballer Fabrice Muamba who collapsed during their FA Cup tie at Tottenham on Saturday. Shockingly in a game being televised live to an audience of millions across the world, he suffered a cardiac arrest. The game was abandoned and medical staff fought for a long time to save his life on the pitch before he was stabilised enough to be taken to hospital where fortunately he appears to be recovering and is now able to talk to visitors.

The medical teams apparently had to work on him for two hours before his heart restarted. It is incredible that he survived and the medical teams cannot be praised highly enough.

The behaviour of the fans at the game has been praised. Despite having previously played for Spurs’ bitter rivals Arsenal, both the Spurs and Bolton fans united to show support for Muamba. As in the earlier incident on the train, the football fans behaved in a way the media would have you believe is rare.

Now, lets turn to the Media itself. The game was being broadcast live on ESPN. When it was abandoned, did ESPN turn to other sporting events? Of Now, you may ask what medical qualifications or knowledge someone such as ex England winger Chris Waddle has. I can confirm his medical knowledge is as good as his dancing skills were on Top of the Pops.

Enter video caption here

It seems the aim of the broadcaster is to fill the programme with ignorant speculation.

Today, Sky Sports News broadcast live  reports every 15 minutes from outside the hospital Muamba is in. Quite what live outside broadcasts add. There was no news other than a hospital statement. Once again media overkill.

Lets then turn to the printed media. Several newspapers printed intrusive photographs showing, Muamba lying prostrate on the pitch with medical staff trying to save his life. Do we really need such intrusive pictures to illustrate the story? I’m sure readers can picture the scene without close up pictures of a technically dead man being tended to by medical staff? One would have hoped that the media show some restraint in what they show.

This is especially so when the very same media are so quick to put down other people – eg all football fans are portrayed as yobs etc.

Fortunately, at the time of typing this, it appears that the story has a happy ending. Muamba is said to be sitting up in hospital and is able to talk to visitors in English & French. Is it too much to hope for that the media in all formats allows Muamba and his family time to recover away from the intrusive and prying eyes of cameras and journalists.

About spen666

I'm a 40 something football fan and cyclist. I've been a football fanatic most of my life and have completed the 92 football league & premier league grounds Added to this numerous non league grounds, a number abroad and you start to get the picture. I took up cycling in around 2000. Although my father was a former World Vets Champion, I got into cycling accompanying my son to ride in London. This was followed by my commuting to work each day into Central London. Then doing some Sunday rides, then some audax events ( and then a week's cycling holiday in France with a friend. From there, I got more and more into cycling and in 2009 completed LEJoG and in 2010 rode in the USA with the Police Unity Tour. I completed blogs for those events at and Feel free to read them and learn more about me. I live alone which suits me as it gives me time at weekends to pursue my interests of cycling and football. (Well what did you expect me to say? That I'm sad at being single?) I'm currently looking for my next challenge. Any suggestions gratefully received.
This entry was posted in Football. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to One Under / One Down

  1. Cathy Darnton says:

    Good to have you blogging again – a very honest and poignant point of view as usual, can’t imagine how any family feels when there is a tragic death, whatever the circumstances. xxx

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s