Stubbs - Stay positive Stan
Former team-mate beat cancer and hopes Petrov can do the same
Last Updated: 31/03/12 11:33am
Former Celtic defender Alan Stubbs has urged Stiliyan Petrov to shut out the negative thoughts and fight after being diagnosed with acute leukaemia.
Aston Villa broke the news on Friday that their Bulgarian captain would begin treatment immediately after his condition was discovered when he complained of a fever in the wake of last weekend's defeat by Arsenal.
Stubbs knows from his own experience of battling testicular cancer how difficult it can be to come to terms with such a bombshell, and his thoughts are with Petrov after the pair played together at Celtic.
Stubbs was able to continue his own playing career after making a full recovery and he hopes his friend will be another success story.
"When something like this happens it is extremely sad. I really feel for him and his family. It is at times like this when football becomes totally irrelevant," said the 40-year-old in the Daily Record.
"One of the good things is he will not have any time to think about. His mind will be going a million miles an hour and his head will be spinning.
"There will be so much going on he won't have the chance to contemplate everything. That was the case with me and I think it helped me through a terrible time.
"I think when he starts to go through his treatment and he is by himself he will drift into dark areas. It is about being positive and trying to shut out the negative thoughts.
"It sounds terrible but all he can do is hope for the best. That's what I did. The worst part is that your life is now in someone else's hands. That was hard for me to deal with."
Stubbs knows that cancer does not give preferential treatment to footballers but feels Petrov's fitness and fighting spirit will stand him in good stead.
"Cancer doesn't treat you any different because you are a professional footballer. All Stan can do is give it his best shot and if I know Stan then hopefully that'll be enough."
Alan Stubbs Quotes of the week
He said: "Now it is all about the throw of a dice. You just hope your number comes up and you come out the other side. It is scary because you become an extremely vulnerable human being.
"Cancer doesn't treat you any different because you are a professional footballer.
"All Stan can do is give it his best shot and if I know Stan then hopefully that'll be enough. He is an extremely fit guy and that has got to help him with the chemotherapy. I'm certain it helped me win my battle and we can only pray it does the same for Stan."
Stubbs plans to contact Petrov over the next couple of days and would like to think that he can provide the 32-year-old with a boost by sharing his own experiences.
He said: "When Alan Thompson rang and told me the news I was totally gobsmacked. It was right of the blue and took me aback.
"I know everybody means well when they wish Stan all the best but we just don't know if he is going to get well soon. I will try to speak with him after the weekend as hopefully I can relate to what he's going through. I will be talking from the same page. I can tell him how it is.
"Stan was more than just a team-mate. He was a great friend and I will go down to the hospital to be with him at the start of the week."