Why today's Sheffield Wednesday v Shrewsbury match is a more than a game for Darren Moore and Steve Cotterill
A few months ago the managers of Sheffield Wednesday and Shrewsbury Town reached out to one another to discuss not football, but something much more important.
Darren Moore and Steve Cotterill, whose sides will meet at Hillsborough this afternoon, both spent time in hospital earlier this year seriously ill having been touched heavily by Covid-19.
A few weeks ago Cotterill gave an incredibly emotional interview in which he said: “I was frightened to go to sleep because I wasn't sure if I was going to wake up.”
Moore, a lifetime asthmatic who has spoken at length about a battle with coronavirus that saw him suffer blood clots on his lung, was pleased to meet Cotterill’s acquaintance soon after his recovery when the pair shared first a phone call.
Speaking candidly to The Star about their relationship, Moore said: “We were able to talk and share our experiences of it and here we are meeting for the first time physically.
“I'll be delighted to see him tomorrow as a man, a man's man, a leader of men, a solid and really experienced manager.
“No doubt about it, when the illness hit him but through his determination, strength and positivity, as well as the medical team helping him as to why he's come back fitter and stronger than ever.
“I really appreciate the kind words he shared with me in the summer and vice versa. There's nothing but absolute respect from both of us towards each other and it'll be great to see him tomorrow.”
While the two managers have aspirations for success at different ends of the League One table and have no time to waste in achieving those goals, some things clearly are more important.
“For me and Steve it feels like a huge milestone tomorrow, here we both are managing our football clubs and yet at some time not long ago we both suffered terribly from the illness we had,” Moore said.
“Steve's illness was over a longer period than mine, but we were both in a very serious position that we've both spoken about with each other.
“Some of the experiences we share as managers within the game, but these are personal experiences. You can take some things for granted really and that was the conversation we were able to share. I was so grateful for it and form there we've struck up a personal friendship which is great. I look forward to seeing him tomorrow.”
Looking back on his fight, Moore said one thing immediately springs to mind.
“The big thing that touched me was the overwhelming support, that was incredible really and really touched me and I'd just like to thank everybody,” he said.
“I do appreciate where we are now and what we have in front of us, not to say I didn't appreciate it before. When you go through those trials in life it brings things into perspective in terms of giving you that bit more perspective.
“I'm grateful for it but I'm back now and as competitive as ever. I want to continue trying to move forward with this.”