Whilst apologies were flying in the direction of Liverpool fans and families in the wake of Wednesday’s news one institution was conspicuous by it’s absence.
Given it’s organisational acumen over the years one shouldn’t be surprised that it took the FA longer to finally get it’s wheels grinding and join in. FA Chairman David Bernstein finally issued a statement and even then they got it wrong causing them, after criticism from some families of the 96, to reissue it and offer a full and unreserved apology.
“We are deeply sorry this tragedy occurred at a venue the FA selected. This fixture was played in the FA’s own competition, and on behalf of the Football Association I offer a full and unreserved apology and express sincere condolences to all of the families of those who lost their lives and to everyone connected to the city of Liverpool and Liverpool Football Club.”
Whilst Wednesday’s news concentrated on the activities of the police and emergency services one should not allow the behaviour of FA to go unnoticed in terms of their “contribution” to disaster.
One should not be surprised. The FA has a long history of incompetence or should that be disregard of Football fans. One only has to look back to last season’s FA Cup final and semi finals where the timings and logistics were seemingly designed to cause the maximum inconvenience to any one outside London travelling to the game. Twenty three years ago nothing was different. Hillsborough did not have valid safety certificate but the FA still sanctioned the fixture. A safety certificate is surely a basic requirement, surely not having should have stopped the FA at first base and prompted them to look elsewhere?. Of course one should also blame Sheffield Wednesday for not keeping this up to date but the FA should have checked.
Further more the FA clearly didn’t learn from experience. We learn that there were near misses at previous semi finals held a Hillsborough including the one involving us and NottinghamForest the year before the tragedy. I went to that game and was in the Leppings Lane pen and remember thinking how tight the crowding was and why the FA didn’t allocate us the much larger Kop End that the Forest fans had. Apparently this was to do with the direction travelling fans were approaching the ground (The Kop is nearer to Nottingham) which is of course, like many of FA’s decisions over the years, is utter nonsense.
Finally after this week I guess it would be too much to ask for Hillsborough chants from certain idiot fans to stop. Liverpool fans are no without blame given their chants about the Munich Air Disaster before this, it is sad that it took something like Hillsborough for this to stop, I wrote about this some time ago (click here for link).
Brendon Rogers touched on the subject this week
“I speak as a human being and I don’t ever like to hear anything like that, whatever club it is, that associates with other people’s tragedies and death. Unfortunately you have a very small percentage of idiots at any club who will always try to smear another club’s reputation.”
I guess the test will come next week when we play our best friends from up the East Lancs road. and Fergie, in a rare public display of accord with us, also echoed these sentiments
“You’d hope that this is a line in the sand in terms of how the fans behave with one another. The fact we are playing them after the findings we have been reading about in the last couple of days does bring a focus to it. We are two great clubs and we should understand each other’s problems in the past. Certainly the reputation of both clubs doesn’t deserve it. Both clubs have suffered fatalities through football. You hope that fans do behave themselves and support their team and that will be the end of it.”
One can’t disagree with either sentiment but one also hopes this doesn’t serve to dilute the fierce rivalry between the two clubs. Fergie talks about drawing line in the sand but surely, in terms of the way both sets of fans behave to each other, it is actually about crossing the line and knowing when not to take things too far sadly a few do. Will it change?
Which brings us, eventually, to football itself and today’s game at The Stadium of Light. To be honest it still seems a little irrelevant given what has gone on this week however, as time goes on, that will change. Perhaps the side can channel all the news into something good on the pitch it would certainly be a good coda to an eventful week, it hardly needs saying that, given our current league position, it is badly needed if we are achieve that magical forty points mark!!!!
Team wise the only issue seems to surround Jose Enrique’s knee. Otherwise everyone came through the International games (oh yes they were on as well) without incident. As seems to be the case with all our games this season, the focus will surely be on trying to limit the needless mistakes. Most goals come from errors however, surely we should focusing on increasing the problems we present to sides in the hope of limiting them, at the moment they, with our help, they are sussing us out far too easily?
Prediction? I honestly don’t feel we can win this one does anyone after the form we’ve shown so far? Of course my heart says we will but my head? Hopefully we will see a response however, after week of hope off the pitch I think, in terms of the teams performance on it, we will need to wait for another time? 2-2