It was extremely sad this morning to read the news that Stephen Darby has had to retire from football after a motor neurone disease diagnosis. It must be hugely difficult to even begin trying to process such life-changing news, and you can only hope and wish that both Darby and his family are given all the help and support possible, not just from Wanderers, but anyone in football who would be in a position to assist.
The Bolton squad were informed of the news by Darby yesterday and Phil Parkinson has paid tribute to him in his pre-Middlesbrough press conference. “He is a very popular lad and there will be many, many messages of support heading his way right now and Bolton Wanderers will remain firmly behind him,” the manager said.
A few people have already discussed some sort of friendly – a Bolton v Bradford match next summer would be a great idea, especially if it could also raise funds for the Motor Neurone Disease Association to help have some tangible effect.
For now, thoughts are with Stephen, friends and family.
My mate! ???? I sat next to at @officialbantams and @OfficialBWFC I can’t believe this has happened to him I’m truly devastated. The ultimate pro, improved me as a player and more importantly as a person. A real genuine leader, who always puts others before himself. I’m broken????
— Filipe Morais (@moraisfilipe20) September 18, 2018
Absolutely devastating news! My thoughts are with Stephen and his family.
— Karl Henry (@karlhenry08) September 18, 2018
— Ian Hemmens (@IHemmens) September 18, 2018