When somebody dies at 23 years it looks unfair, very unfair. It hits your mind like a lightning strike in a middle of a sunny day. It looks unreal, unbelievable, heart breaking, especially when that youngster is a football player, a professional one. During the years, many footballers have died on the pitch because of different health problems, most of them cardiac arrests. Still, one story comes in front because of its protagonist. David Wilson, nicknamed ‘Soldier’ because, in his teenage, he took part in two infantry battalions: Cameron Highlanders and Black Watch. This happened in the ’90s. 1890s… But the happening about I’m going to talk here produced a decade later.
Wilson started playing football and after some spells at Raith Rovers, Dundee, Hearths of Midlothian and Hull City he moved at Leeds City. Yes, this squad was the number one in the town until First World War, but after dissolved. Twice! This youngster proved in a great shape in the season of 1905 – 1906 when scored 13 goals in 15 league games. Pretty good and considering his young age, David would have, in the minds of all people that know him, a very promising career. Some told that he was smoking too much and that, eventually contributed to his fatal illness. However no solid prove could ever proof this, so let’s carry on with our own business and with the last day of life for Soldier Wilson.
On the 27th of October 1906, Leeds City was playing against Burnley on Elland Road but, at a point, in the second half, Soldier left the field with awful chest pains. The doctors realized that this was no good and wanted to send him, immediately, to the hospital. During these procedures, two other team mates of Soldier left the pitch injured, with no hope of returning for the end of the match. This moment decided his faith. With an outstanding agility he stood up and run on the field! The doctors were desperate, but Soldier only knew that he had to help his team as much as he could. Unfortunately, his illness got worse and so, with a couple of minutes left, he decided to exit again the field. Now, his condition was almost critical and he collapsed near the reserve bench. In that same moment, the medical stuff took him to the dressing rooms and tried to resuscitate his heart. It was no use, because the effort that he made consumed all his resources. In that same day, Soldier died, but left behind one of the most moving story of a young man that gave his life for his football club.