Emiliano Sala: fans put aside rivalries to pay tribute

Sala PA 40781773

At the weekend Cardiff City's new signing Emiliano Sala was on a plane that disappeared over the English channel - and now the chances of him and his pilot David Ibbotson being found alive are increasingly slim. Here Tim Hartley from Cardiff City Supporters' Trust talks about the response from supporters across the country...

Maybe it is too soon after the event to make any sense of the tragedy of the death of Emiliano Sala. Perhaps we never will.

What we do know is that everyone associated with FC Nantes, Cardiff City, indeed the whole football family, are grieving the loss of a young man who was at the top of his game and was genuinely excited about joining his new teammates in the Premier League.

Fans have put aside any rivalry they may have had. The game of football, our club’s prospects, new signings and the fear of relegation have all taken a backseat while we share a common grief. Few in Cardiff had ever seen Emiliano play but we still feel the pain his family and friends in Nantes and Argentina must be feeling.

We at Cardiff have been here before this season. After Leicester City’s owner, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, and four other people died in a helicopter crash, the Foxes’ first game was against Cardiff. There was an outpouring of sympathy as supporters exchanged flags and players and staff from both clubs joined together in an emotional tribute.

It has been gratifying on the loss of Emiliano and his pilot to have received condolences and messages of sympathy from so many supporters’ groups. The coming together of the ‘football family’ may sound something of a cliché but as the selection of messages from fellow fans below shows, when the chips are down, it is very real and we are truly grateful for it.

John Fawell - Watford Supporters' Trust:

The thoughts of all our members are with Cardiff and particularly Emiliano’s family.

Colin Murrant - Foxes Trust:

Thoughts with his and the pilot's friends and families. Also thoughts with Cardiff City and their fans who were so generous to Leicester under similar circumstances. 

Susan Watson - West Ham United Independent Supporters' Association:

So many loses this season. Our thoughts and good wishes go to all those at Cardiff City FC. We stand with you at this difficult time.

Liz Costa - Brighton & Hove Albion Supporters' Club:

Please take on board the thoughts and commiserations from all at Brighton & Hove Albion Supporters' Club - our support goes to all at Cardiff City FC, and the families involved: Emiliano and the pilot are in our thoughts together with the players and officials at Nantes who will be hurting just as much I am sure. Take care everyone - we need each other at times like this.

Kevin Parker - Manchester City Supporters' Club:

It is difficult to put into words how to express our thoughts. This isn't about just football, it’s about the lives of all of those on board, their friends and family.

Dan Crawford - Fulham Supporters' Trust:

This is a truly dreadful incident and is terribly distressing. We've always received such a warm welcome from our friends at the Cardiff City Supporters' Trust every time we have visited and please let us know if there is anything we can do at this difficult time.

Thanks to PA Images for the image used in this blog.