Liverpool, Manchester United and sick songs

This was a post on the Liverpool supporters website, the Rattle. This weekend Liverpool play United in their first Premier League meeting of the season.

I used to sing Munich songs as a kid at Liverpool games, until, at the age of 16, I saw a programme on the disaster. Its impact was immediate. I started to wonder how the relations of those who’d died were feeling while I was jumping up and down singing about their demise with my mates in the Kop. What had they ever done to me? And yet, there I was laughing about the death of someone – a father, a son, a brother – close to them.

Then I found myself at Hillsborough on the Leppings Lane Terrace in April, 1989. The next time we went to Old Trafford for an away match the Munich stuff was nowhere to be heard. Death at football had come to us at Liverpool – how could we laugh at Munich now? They sang “Where’s your famous Munich song?” because it made us feel ashamed about what we’d said to them in the past.

Refusing to sing Munich songs isn’t about being “soft” on United fans. It’s about standards, but it’s also about Hillsborough. When you're battling for justice, you need to be whiter than white. Every time a Munich song is chanted by our fans and it goes online or is heard on telly, someone who may have had sympathy for us writes us off. It makes us easier to ignore.

Them singing “murderers” doesn’t hurt us, it makes us feel ashamed because of our part in the Heysel disaster. If they sing their Hillsborough chants, that destroys us, especially if you were on that terrace like so many of us were in ’89.

Whatever someone like me says online will have no affect on what either set of fans do on Sunday. But singing, celebrating even, the death of innocents, no matter who they are is wrong, and ultimately, indefensible.


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