Respect To Munich And The 96
Yesterday’s match at Anfield was a very emotional occasion as it was Liverpool’s first home game since the release of the Hillsborough Independent Panel’s report being released. With Liverpool playing against bitter rivals Manchester United put the whole occasion under intense scrutiny as to how everyone would behave.
For many years sections of both supports have chanted about each other’s tragedies, and in the lead up to this fixture, both managers called upon the supporters to end this sick activity. Sir Alex Ferguson in particular was very intent on ending the vile chanting as he issued letters to Manchester United supporters going to the match about their conduct.
Manchester United Football Club made a tremendous gesture with the legendary Sir Bobby Charlton gifting Liverpool’s legendary striker Ian Rush a bouquet with 96 red roses. Both teams warmed up with track suit tops on with the number 96 on their backs. Then team captains Ryan Giggs and Steven Gerrard released 96 balloons into the sky prior to kick-off. Then supporters in sections of the crowd held up red and white leaflets portraying simple poignant messages :” the truth”,” justice” and “96”. The handshakes between both teams before the match was also scrutinised, focusing on Patrice Evra and Luis Suarez whose recent history has not been friendly to say the least, headlined by their “racism row” which resulted in Suarez receiving a lengthy 8 match ban, followed by Suarez’s refusal to shake Evra’s hand prior to kick-off last time both teams met.
But respectfully both players shook hands on this occasion and set the tone for the afternoon ahead where the football and respectfulness of both clubs and supporters took the headlines. United won the match 2-1 but for once the result felt secondary to the occasion that was marked with great respect from two great rival football clubs.
Reports suggested that a couple of Liverpool supporters made aeroplane gestures after the match where United supporters retaliated with chants of “Always the victims” and “Murderers”. But a couple of “Morons” should not be allowed publicity to overshadow a tremendously honoured respectful occasion which both sets of clubs and supporters deserve great credit for.
The authorities should deal with this very small element of idiots harshly and ban them from ever entering a football ground again, and the media must stop encouraging these idiots by giving them headline news which they thrive on.
Hopefully this example of respect by Liverpool and Manchester United will end the “tragic” chanting as both clubs and supporters have shown that they can be respectful rivals. To both Manchester United and Liverpool, to the tragic souls who lost their lives in Munich and to the 96 who died at Hillsborough :
You’ll Never Walk Alone