Gartside: Muamba can stay a Bolton player for as long as he wants
Published 13:43 24/03/12 By MirrorFootball
Fabrice Muamba will be a Bolton Wanderers player for "as long as he wants", says the club's chairman Phil Gartside.
The 23-year-old remains in intensive care after suffering a cardiac arrest during last Saturday's game at Tottenham and despite his miracle recovery, his ability to return to football must be in question.
Clearly it is not a subject that needs to be addressed now. But Gartside has already confirmed Muamba will remain part of the Bolton family, whether he can resume his playing career or not.
"He will be here as long as he wants to be," Gartside told BBC Radio Five Live.
"It is all about Fabrice. It is not a football story. It is a Muamba story."
Players from both teams will wear shirts with "Muamba 6" on their backs during their warm-ups.
A short video is also due to be played featuring images of support that have been received during the week, whilst a minute's applause will be held immediately prior to the traditional pre-match handshake.
Then Bolton will try to collect three precious points in their battle to avoid relegation, with Gartside certain his club's players will not be affected by the emotion of the day.
"We are talking about professional footballers and their professionalism will kick in," said Gartside.
"It has been a hard week. But I haven't had a terrible week. I have had an amazing week. I feel privileged to have been in the middle of it.
"We have gone through the full capacity of emotions and thankfully, we are smiling at the end of it.
"When we started on Saturday, we were prepared for the worst.
"It is hard to explain. I lived through it for four days and I still didn't understand it. All the doctors played a part.
"We have to remind everybody that Fabrice is still in a serious condition in intensive care. But the progress has been fantastic."
The Bolton supporters applauded from the moment the montage of Muamba began, right through until the handshake, a stand full of placards reading 'Muamba 6' held up opposite the directors' box.