Based in London and writing for a global audience our aim is to produce EliteFootballTalk. Enjoy the site and feel welcome to join in our discussion on the beautiful game.

Monday, December 31, 2007

Phil O'Donnell - 25th March 1972 - 29th December 2007

Football has had yet another tragic occurrence and it does make for depressing news. The Scottish Premier League fixture between Motherwell and Dundee United at Fir Park on Saturday ended in a home win of 5-3 but the win was marred by Motherwell captain Phil O'Donnell collapsing as he was about to be substituted with Marc Fitzpatrick. After five minutes treatment on the field, O'Donnell was taken into a waiting ambulance to Wishaw General Hospital, where he was pronounced deceased.

At Motherwell 1990-1994

The cause of death was said to be initially a form of seizure though that has not been confirmed. Scarves and flowers have been laid at Fir Park by many including manager Mark McGhee, colleagues past and present, amongst others. I am quite devastated by yet another death on the field, in the game. Spain and football witnessed the loss of Sevilla's Antonio Puerta in August this year, football has witnessed a number of players passing away on and off the field recently. It is unprecedented, it is not as if football will deter the Grim Reaper, but it just was not an issue until the turn of the century.

Scotland cap

O'Donnell was considered a very bright prospect for Scotland as a teenager with Motherwell in 1990, one of four scorers for the side in their Scottish Cup final win against Dundee United that same season, Scottish PFA Young Player Of The Year 1992 and 1994, and a first Scotland cap in 1992. In 1994 he brought the attention of Celtic and signed, being party to the 1995 Scottish Cup final win over Airdrie and the league title win in 1998. O'Donnell signed for Sheffield Wednesday in 1999 but found his appearances limited by injury in his first season when Wednesday went down from the Premiership and only a handful of appearances thereafter until Wednesday went down again.

Fifth player from right, applauding

He was released by Wednesday and went to train with Motherwell where former Ipswich and England defender Terry Butcher was manager, eventually signed up and made captain. He was known as 'Uncle Phil' particularly with his nephew David Clarkson a striker at the club but also for leadership qualities and experience.

In action for Motherwell as 'Uncle Phil', the match where he later passed away

Xmas is a time for celebration, a season to be jolly, good tidings. All the more why it must be very painful, very tragic after such a loss. O'Donnell is survived by his wife and four children. EFT sends its condolences and best wishes to Phil O'Donnell's family.



Blogger T said...

Thank-you Redsman. I personally would like to add my condolences to the family and friends of Phil O'Donnell.

For me it says a lot about the man that having faced set-backs in his long playing career he had turned it around to be present club captain of a team performing very well in the Premier Division of Scotland.

It was truly saddening to hear of his passing on the football pitch - bringing echoes of Antonio Puerta's passing at the start of this season and in 2003 witnessing Marc Vivien Foe's collapse and passing.

These were three players of great commitment and football will always remember them.

12/31/2007 6:26 pm

Blogger SKG said...

Thanks Redsman. A very sad day in football.

12/31/2007 7:23 pm

Blogger Skipper said...

I was saddened by this.

My condolences goes out to his family and friends.

1/01/2008 10:39 am

Anonymous GunnerPete said...

As one of your older contributors I have seen many tragic losses of life in sport as well as on the streets etc. We will never understand why it happens to some and not to others . All we can say & do is send our wishes of condolence to the family, and hope they can cope during this awful time with the knowledge that millions of people are thinking of them.

1/02/2008 11:57 am

Blogger RedsMan said...

Very true words, GunnerPete.

Most incidents occur today which seem to baffle common sense and wisdom, where you wonder why they happen. A professional footballer maintains a regular exercise regime yet has, as has been confirmed by Motherwell's doctor, a failed left ventricle chamber.

My understanding is the left ventricle pumps blood around the body whereas the right ventricle pumps blood depleted of oxygen away from the heart, to the lungs, bringing back oxygen-filled blood to the heart.

It's, for me, the type of condition I dont expect to strike footballers, but whose to say what happens where and when? Such a tragic shame. I liked how James McFadden dedictaed his goal to O'Donnell, which shows how football should not forget one of their own.


1/02/2008 12:54 pm


Post a Comment

<< Home


Locations of visitors to this page