Three days on since the events at the Britannia and the debate rages on as to who is the villain and who is the victim. As any Gooner could have predicted, having the experience of Dan Smith and Martin Taylor’s interventions on our players (“Tiny” Taylor’s being especially unequivocal) to draw on, it would take very little time for it to be established by the agenda-driven media hog-pack that the victim was the leg breaker and the villain the manager of the leg breakee.
Chief peddlers of Arsenal hating utter crap being the paragon of virtue Stanley Victor Collymore ably aided and abetted by the likes of Puliss, Lou Macari, Derek McGovern and other sub-species of pond life however this is was not the first thing that occurred to me as soon as I heard of the completion of our grisly hat-trick of leg snaps.
Our young welsh mid-fielder has a long road of rehabilitation in front of him and having been in the position of recovering from major surgery I can empathise with what he will go through in the next six to nine months.
Exactly five years ago I was given what in medical parlance is called a “Cabbage”, a Cardiac Artery Bypass Graft – major surgery of a different quality to that of repairing a double leg break but both instances involve a long period of rehabilitation. In my case it was a solo effort and while Aaron will have a big medical team around him ultimately he will feel equally alone while he works his way back to fitness via hours and hours of rehabilitative exercises and therapies.
Initially major surgery results in a loss of confidence in a number of ways – you may feel too weak to want to exert yourself in any way or to test the part of you that was broken. The doctors can assure that it is acceptable to walk with your repaired leg or, in my case, put weight on you chest, but this loss of confidence meant I would fall asleep on my back for months as I subconsciously felt my chest would cave in.
Everyone will react to post operative trauma differently and perhaps Rambo will have no such fears but the loneliness of training on his own, when he would be with the rest of the squad normally, will be a different challenge that he has to face.
“I am lost to the world
with which I used to waste so much time,
It has heard nothing from me for so long
that it may very well believe that I am dead!
It is of no consequence to me
Whether it thinks me dead;
I cannot deny it,
for I really am dead to the world.
I am dead to the world’s tumult,
And I rest in a quiet realm!”
Based on a text in German by Friedrich Rückert (1788-1866)
I apologise to any students of German poetry but I thought of the above quote when I read comments questioning the wisdom of presenting Eduardo to the crowd at Ashburton Grove as he made his long slow painful recovery to fitness. I was there to see our Crozillian palpably moved by the crowd’s reaction and to my mind that is the type of encouragement that a player needs when he is training alone for long periods. To feel he is still part of the team, the squad and the larger Gooner diaspora is vital and so the same approach is needed for Rambo. When my two sons ran up to my bed in the ward a few days after my chest “cut and shut” it was a lift to the spirits similar to that Aaron will get when he takes his first steps on crutches onto the turf of the Grove.
We can all play some part in getting Aaron’s rehab off to the start it deserves, those of us lucky enough to be going to see the Burnley game can by singing his name out loud and make sure it’s sung every game till he’s back so he knows he’s not been forgotten.
There is the fear that Rambo will never be the same, as Diaby and Eduardo have suffered from a series of niggling injuries un related to the leg breaks but significant enough to hinder their progress. Time will tell just how well these three players of ours recover their abilities, skill and confidence on the pitch.
Sadly, going back to Saturday at the Potteries, we know this could all have been avoided had referee Walton applied the rules regarding dangerous and reckless play, however would we then have got the galvanising effect, admittedly at a potentially unacceptable cost to a teenagers career, on team spirit that resulted?
And that, as they say, is the hell of it.