All to often we tend to get wrapped up in the small side of soccer, arguing calls, touchline bans, and tactics, but when Billy Sharp took the field for Doncaster Rovers as they played Middlesbrough just three days after the death of his two-day-old son, all of that slipped away. Opting to bravely play through the pain Sharp took to the pitch to a standing ovation from both home and away supporters for a full minute.
Fourteen minutes into the game Sharp found the back of the net with a lovely volley and burst into to tears as he lifted up his jersey to reveal a t-shirt saying “Thats for you son.”
Rovers manager Dean Saunders said Sharp had wanted to score for his boy saying, “He rung me and asked if he could play – he wanted to play. He wanted to score a goal for his son and his family and he was ready to go. When he said that to me I couldn’t really refuse.”
The action of revealing a message on a T-shirt is usually followed by a yellow card, but referee Darren Deadman chose not to apply the letter of the law on this occasion in light of the circumstances and deserves praise. The Rovers’ subsequent defeat was almost forgotten as fans and players took to Twitter and Facebook to pay tribute to the Sheffield-born player and his wife.
Middlesbrough manager Tony Mowbray added praise after the match saying: “Taking the professionalism out of it, I’m delighted for the boy that he’s scored such a fantastic goal on such an occasion for him. It’s amazing to think for anyone who’s had children the emotional drain that must have been with him – I couldn’t put it into words. For him to score a wonder-goal, your headlines should be there really – a goal from heaven.”
Its truly a tragic occasion for both Sharp and his wife Jade, and if you’d like to leave a message of support here is his Twitter @BillySharp10. Messages have already porued in, but I’m sure they’d could always do with a few more.
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