Betfred Sport

Sharp puts football in perspective

If you were surfing Twitter on Tuesday whilst the evening's football was going on, you may have noticed Doncaster Rovers' Billy Sharp trending worldwide for quite a substantial amount of time.

Very occasionally, a random public figure such as Sharp will trend for a completely obscure or unnecessary reason; on Tuesday the reason he was being mentioned so often was totally justified.

Last Thursday, Sharp's wife Jade gave birth to a little boy they named Louie Jacob Sharp. However, just two days later, tragedy struck when the newborn died unexpectedly. Sharp's team-mates were battling to a 1-1 draw with Coventry at the time, with the striker absent due to 'a family issue'.

Before Donny's game with Middlesbrough, Rovers released a statement explaining what Sharp and his family had gone through. While it was expected that he would not play in the game, Sharp was determined to perform for his son, and encouraged the fans to join the him and his team-mates in a minutes applause before kick-off.

Fittingly, just 14 minutes had elapsed when Sharp scored a wonder goal which Boro boss Tony Mowbray described afterwards as 'a goal from heaven'. Having netted a strike even Boro fans wouldn't have begrudged him, the Rovers forward wheeled away and revealed a t-shirt with the message 'That's for you, Son' in tribute to his little boy.

Common sense

Referee Darren Deadman deserves credit for his actions in not booking Sharp, who under different circumstances would've been shown a yellow card, such are the ridiculous rules of our beautiful game. Deadman showed common sense when others may have wrongly applied the rules, and he was rightly praised by everyone inside the Keepmoat Stadium.

Doncaster lost their lead and slipped to a 3-1 defeat but in the grand scheme of things, the actions of Sharp showed their is much more to life than football and winning. The Rovers captain for the night was named as man of the match, a decision which was welcomed warmly by those who had remained inside the ground.

Many didn't know Sharp's story, or realise how difficult the last week had been for him and his family. But thanks to the powerful tool that is Twitter, tributes flooded in for the Yorkshire born striker from far and wide. Rio Ferdinand, Matt Holland, Stan Collymore were just a few of those tweeting, and praising Sharp for his courage and attitude in pulling on his red and white shirt.

One running topic featuring in many tweets posted was a comparison of attitudes between Sharp, and £200,000-a-week Manchester City striker Carlos Tevez, whose refusal to come on as a sub in a Champions League game rightly sparked wide-spread criticism.

Frankly speaking, Tevez doesn't even deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as a professional such as Billy Sharp, who showed tremendous mental strength, and was a credit to his club, his family, and especially his son on Tuesday night.

May Louie Sharp rest in peace.

By Joe McPhee, Follow me on Twitter -

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