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.
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.