by Ben Jones & Matt Slater & Editor
FOOTBALL fans have expressed their horror at the news that Cardiff City’s new record signing, Emiliano Sala, was onboard a plane that disappeared over the Channel.
Many supporters have gathered outside Cardiff City Stadium in the last 24 hours to lay tributes and pay their respects.
Lifelong Bluebird Tim Hartley, emphasised the focus of fans should be with their latest signing, who was one of two travelling on the light-weighted aircraft headed for the Welsh capital on Monday evening.
Hartley described Sala as Cardiff’s ‘saviour’, adding that the impact the news would have will be felt across the club.
“Neil Warnock, the manager, would’ve dealt with this man. He has been over here and was looking forward to playing for us, that’s what makes the whole thing so deeply tragic and I am sure there will be a tribute at some point.”
Hartley added that the hopes of the City fans were resting on the missing striker’s shoulders.
“He was the guy who was going to score for us and help us maintain our position in the Premier League; all that goes by-the-by. It’s not important now.”
And he said football had to concentrate on the Sala family now.
“You just have to think about [Sala] and his family and put aside the football. [Now] we have just got to think about his family and friends.
“We hope that he is still alive, but in our heart of hearts, we know that’s unlikely.”
Giving an interview in Argentina, Sala’s father Horacio, shared his fears for his son’s safety.
“Hours go by and I know nothing, it makes me think the worst… I know nothing, nobody has spoken to me, not a call from the Embassy, the club, from anyone.”
Emiliano Sala’s father Horacio: “Hours go by and I know nothing, it makes me think the worst… I know nothing, nobody has spoken to me, not a call from the Embassy, the club, from anyone.” pic.twitter.com/p4YyG7Cnb3
— Get French Football News (@GFFN) January 22, 2019
The Argentine had always wanted to play in the Premier League, and Cardiff fans were excited to see their new man put on the blue shirt.
One young supporter, who was pictured with the striker on Friday after a chance meeting outside the Cardiff City Stadium, said Sala had taken time out of his day to talk to and meet the fans.
“It was very exciting. We were the first people to actually know he was coming, and it is shocking to think what’s happened over a four-day period. Everyone was so happy as he is our record signing.
“He is a nice guy, he was happy to take a photo and asked us how we were.”
All confirmed lads my brother just sent me this. pic.twitter.com/SpnbIWhTN2
— Joshua Watson (@josh_wats09123) January 18, 2019
With their next fixture approaching, the fan reflected upon Cardiff’s support of Leicester during their time of need.
Cardiff hosted Leicester in their first match after the death of their owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha and four others in a helicopter crash.
“We paid our full respects to Leicester when their tragic event happened so hopefully, we will get the same respect. I’m sure if the game does go ahead against Arsenal next Tuesday then they will give us the respect we deserve, and I credit them for that,” he said.
The search for the ex-Nantes striker and his pilot continues today.