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He was wrong to underestimate the support. Grealish’s contribution might have set the ball rolling but many others followed. Kinsella has now passed the £10,000 mark.
“It is unbelievable,” he says. “The support that I have had has just taken off. To be able to give the club back some money that will pay back the operation, I am just delighted.”
Aldershot’s board has donated £1,000. The supporters’ club has contributed another £500. The identity of others has been both varied and surprising – even to Kinsella himself.
“Ty Browning from Everton,” Kinsella exclaims. “He has obviously come across it on social media and donated £250. For someone I have never even had a conversation with and probably played against once in a reserve game, it is just incredible.
“Morgan Ferrier has donated £450. I spent eight years with him at Arsenal and we have since gone our separate ways. For him to donate that amount of money is amazing as well.
“Even the people who have messaged me saying that this is all they can afford at the moment, it all helps. I am very lucky to have played for Villa and Aldershot because both sets of fans have been brilliant. It is just amazing. It means so much to me.”
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Kinsella’s difficulties began in February when he damaged his medial collateral ligaments. It was a grade-two tear, a three-month injury. But when lockdown followed, his rehabilitation work was compromised. Down the pyramid, the same support structure is not in place.
“I could not see a physio,” he explains. “By the time that I did see one, it was probably a bit too late. I did not have enough gym equipment at home and I did not have a physio at hand who I could ask whether it should be sore and stuff like that. I was working through pain that I probably should not have been doing but you just don’t know.”
Fulham vs A Villa
September 28, 2020, 5:00pm
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Even though that injury “did not heal as well as it should have done”, Kinsella was advised by “four top physios” that he was good to go again. “They told me I should be fine because I had done everything right,” he adds. But all that changed when he went in for a challenge.
“I was playing in a game against Ebbsfleet and I just went to flick the ball, like a stab tackle, but I did not make contact with the ball or the man, I just made contact with the air.
“I felt this sharp shooting pain down the MCL again. It went really stiff. I knew it did not feel right but I did not think that I had torn it because I was not in as much pain. When I saw the specialist, it was a rupture of the same ligament. They want to reconstruct my ligaments by putting in two plastic ligaments that will almost guarantee I won’t do the injury again.
“Unfortunately, it is expensive.”
Thanks to the support of friends, fans and complete strangers, that will not be a problem now. Kinsella has his operation booked in for the first week of October and is already looking forward to using an anti-gravity treadmill in Reading that will allow him to start running sooner without putting the same strain on the knee. It will aid his recovery.
The past year has been challenging physically and mentally. By his own admission, Kinsella became “very snappy” after being confined during lockdown and unable to exercise after the first injury. This time around, he is more comfortable, buoyed by the support that he has received.
“It just shows that the football world is a small one and people are together. I know there are rivalries but everyone loves football and it is a massive community. It has cheered me up. I just want to get the operation out of the way now and look forward. I want it out the way so I can begin paying back all the people who have contributed on the pitch.”