The truth about the Liverpool vs. Man United FA Youth Cup tie

Hillsborough memorial service

AUTHOR: – Doron

I dislike Liverpool FC as much as the next United fan. But that’s normal right? That’s natural when there is an intense rivalry in sport. I’d be hard-pushed to find a Liverpool fan who doesn’t feel similarly about United. However, underneath the layers of rivalry, there are two very similar clubs with much in common.

I write this off the back of attending the FA Youth Cup tie at Anfield yesterday which was won by United 3-2. Reading the media reports of the game and having a quick scour at Twitter there has been a lot of focus on chants by some United fans in attendance about the Hillsborough and Heysel disasters.

It seemed a shame that these press reports were choosing to lead with titles such as “Liverpool v Manchester United youth tie marred by Hillsborough abuse” in the Independent; “Manchester United’s FA Youth Cup victory over Liverpool ends with hostile scenes” in The Telegraph; and “Sick chants, three arrests and four red cards ruin FA Youth Cup clash between Liverpool and Manchester United” in the Daily Mail. Actually, there was a brilliant game of football there yesterday, a match with passion between two rival sides. I’d rather watch games where no players are sent off but in many ways it’s nice to see that the rivalry and intensity of a Liverpool vs. Manchester United fixture doesn’t cool-off at U18 level.

Here’s the truth though about yesterday in terms of the sick chanting…

I decided to go purely for the football. I’m an avid supporter of our Reserve and Academy team and met up with similar like-minded fans at the game. There were between 300 and 400 United fans in attendance and the majority were there for the game – family and friends of the players playing or supporters like myself.

It’s sadly true that chants about the tragic death of Liverpool supporters at Hillsborough were sung about. As far as I could tell, there were no chants about Heysel. I must stress that these chants came from a minority of fans. It was actually quite refreshing to have some kind of atmosphere amongst the away fans at an Academy game; nearly all of us were singing songs about our own club. It’s also true that a few United fans were withdrawn from the stadium (and possibly arrested) for lighting a flare just before half-time.

The Kop, where Liverpool fans were seated (unless there were some above us too) was quiet on the day. I’ve not watched the full match back yet but I’m sure the chants about Hillsborough, even if only by 75 fans, would have been clearly heard on TV. It’s unacceptable from United fans however (and this doesn’t at all make the chants in any way ok) the reports in the media make it seem like this is the first time it’s happened. Indeed, sat in the Stretford End when we hosted Liverpool for the FA Cup tie in January, the chants were sung then too.

At this point, the blog originally contained the paragraph quoted below. Hand on heart, I believe I heard songs about Munich, however many Liverpool fans who were in The Kop have since told me they didn’t hear any. If I am wrong, I apologise and stand corrected. I won’t delete the paragraph as I’ll no doubt have names thrown at me but will leave it in as it’s relevant to some of the comments on the page. Of course Munich chanting happens at other games between the sides and is equally unacceptable.

“What also bothers me, is that none of these reports mention that chants about Munich were sung by a minority of Liverpool too. Consider this, The Kop is full, it holds just under 12,500 fans and I’m pretty certain I can hear Munich chants. There’s bound to be more than the 75 people singing around me about Hillsborough chanting about Munich opposite me, yet not a single one of these reports mentions it. Indeed, John Aldridge, a Liverpool fan, local lad and former player quite rightly expressed his disgust at the chants by some United fans on his Twitter page; however when questioned by myself and a few other Reds why he wasn’t also condemning the Liverpool fans who chanted about Munich he said nothing and ignored the question. I’m not suggesting John advocates Munich chants, even without knowing him I can safely say he’s equally as disgusted by them – any human being would be.”

Upon leaving the stadium I was greeted on the Anfield Road by Liverpool fans shouting “Munich bastard” at me (before any clever so-and-so asks how Liverpool fans could get round from The Kop so quickly, I was one of the last to leave as I’m on crutches and The Kop started to empty before full time).

 

Full Time in the game

 

The United players come and applaud the fans

It felt somewhat disappointing to wake up this morning and read online stories that lead with the behaviour of a minority of United supporters. When Liverpool fans chant about Munich, I’m sure likewise, it’s just that, a minority. Whilst I dislike the club, the fans are fine in general. On this blog we’ve had very pleasant comments from Liverpool supporters last weekend. I spoke with some Liverpool fans there in a pub after the game and didn’t have a single problem. The taxi drivers who took me to and from Anfield were both Liverpool fans and engaged in some light banter about the rivalry between our two clubs.

It’s sad that these chants exist, but they’ll never go away. Only on Saturday did journalist David Stringer say, “On a train up to Manchester, packed with Arsenal fans amusing themselves by singing the Munich song. Despicable.”. At that same game, songs were sung about Arsene Wenger. Unfortunately we’ll never rid the game of these chants, however we can condemn them.

It’s right the papers pointed out that a few United fans sang chants, it’s right to expose them.

Upon reflection, four red cards in the game was a good thing for the rivalry – it runs deep. It’s a good rivalry between two successful and ultimately very similar clubs. Passion was running high yesterday and the game itself was exciting, something that seems lost by the media reportings.

Fans on either side of the Liverpool-United divide won’t rush to admit it but there are many similarities between our clubs: legendary and successful managers; 18 league titles; European successes; traditionally manual labour Cities; a passion for Youth football (as I wrote about last week); and finally tragic disasters that will never be forgotten.

It’s that final similarity that fans should respect more than any other. Munich, Hillsborough and Heysel will never be forgotten in football. It’s an absolute credit to Liverpool fans and says a lot about them that on the recent anniversary of the Munich Disaster many of them tweeted respectful things.

As for our media, poorly researched and inaccurate match reports about yesterday aside (for example the Telegraph suggest Tunnicliffe is our captain when Thorpe is) – it’s good they reported the misdemeanour’s of the fans yet United fans shouldn’t be the only ones made an example out of.

In light of yesterday’s events and with the anniversaries of first Hillsborough and then Heysel coming up in the next two months, United fans should pay their respects to the loss of life. Chanting about them isn’t clever. Chanting about Munich isn’t clever. Sometimes football and rivalries should come second.

Any comments that include derogatory statements about Munich, Hillsborough or Heysel will be deleted

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24 Comments on The truth about the Liverpool vs. Man United FA Youth Cup tie

  1. nameonthetrophy.

    First of all let me say I am a Liverpool fan so thats where I am coming from.

    Secondly, its too easy to blame the media solely, although as we all know they can be sensationalist. The fact is that the rivalry has always been there and it has always been intense but it has heated up in the last few seasons to a massive degree. Having said that, OK Carragher performed a bad tackle on Nani, but it wasn’t intentional, and before the game Carra gave an interview in which he heaped praise on Alex Ferguson, Giggs, Scholes and even Gary Neville, saying how much he respected them. Maybe if someone like Giggs from your side did the same it could at least set off a reciprocal atmosphere of respect that gives the clubs the higher ground. Nobody is saying we have to hug each other, just set down parameters and boundaries of dignity so that the clubs can always point out they are righteous and dignified on this issue and on this rivalry.

    One other thing – I think new technology has something to do with this. The internet means things spread like wildfire, message boards, youtube all means the indignation over what happens when chants are sung gets an immediate reaction and people can stew in their hatreds more and always recall at the click of a mouse the indignity of the songs that the others sing. This might be one reason why its all accelerated the last few years, although its obviously a number of factors combining, not just one thing.

    The media can inflame the situation if it doesn’t acknowledge that there is a problem on both sides, and only feeds the complex of one set of supporters or the other.

    However, as I said before, we can blame outsiders, we can blame each other, we can blame whoever we want, but thats not going to take the temperature down. The only way around this that is certain to have some kind of impact would be for the clubs to take control of the situation, Mancheseter United and Liverpool FC at some stage have to take ownership of the problem at an official, institutional level.

    If they are serious about bringing the temperature down, they need to get together at the boardroom level, and make a joint statement, and talk about how the continuance of this is making a mockery of the memory of those who have died in the tragedies that affected both clubs, that it is affecting the dignity of the name of both clubs. They should say that they want to work collectively to end this, they should make the threat of withdrawing away fans at Anfield and OT for one season at a certain point in the future if this kind of thing is not reduced, but word it in a way that says rather than LFC banning Utd fans or MUFC banning LFC fans, say Liverpool will withdraw their fans from attending the fixture at OT and MUFC fans will withdraw their fans from attending the fixture at Anfield. That is something that they can at least have as something solid to use as an incentive to make people concentrate their minds. The statement and the campaign can be hosted on the websites of both clubs, the TV stations of each club can be involved in it, senior figures and elder statesmen of both clubs can be involved too.

    Either way, I agree that something needs to be done, and that means talking about it in as rational way as possible, without alienating the other side and becoming indignant about this incident and that incident and who said what and when and always pointing the finger at the other. At some point, it needs to be dealt with. That is the mature thing to do. We can continue to ‘hate’ each other in the way that Scousers and Mancs do as football rivals, but out of love for our own clubs we have to protect their dignity now. Because believe me, it is an injustice to the name and the badges of our clubs that this happens so regularly now.

  2. I was there too and i assure you no Liverpool fans were singing Munich songs, I did clearly hear the anti-Liverpool disaster songs from the away end. If any Liverpool fan near me did i would smack them myself, im pleased to see a Utd blog talking sensibly about the two clubs. It was a magnificent game of football and Liverpool played some lovely passing football, the ref had a shocker, Utd came back well and all three efforts went in but your Keeper kept you in the game!!!!!!!

  3. By the way, I’d like to say I really enjoyed the game. I go the academy regularly to watch the young lads. Great to be able to enjoy football usually without all the hostility. Oh and yes there was no segregation against Southend, they were on the Kop, and enjoyed singing till it got to about 5-0!!

  4. I am a Liverpool fan who sat in the Kop yesterday and can honestly say I never heard any Munich chants but, in all honesty, I didn’t hear the Hillsborough chants either.
    It’s just so disappointing that some minorities can not have respect for one another.
    Although I have a strong hatred of United, it’s also paralleled with a massive amount of respect, how it should be for a club with a great amount of history and respect. Such a shame that these idiots, who do not represent either club, cannot understand this.
    On a much lighter note, I think both teams have alot to look forward to based on some of the youth products currently coming through.
    If it wasn’t for some silly refereeing decisions and a loss of composure, I think we would be well on our way to another youth cup. As it turned out, you were the team that held yourselves together better and that is why saw you through, in my opinion.

  5. @Mark in all honesty, yesterday’s tie should have really been the final. Villa have a strong Academy side at the moment but having watched quite a few teams this season I’m convinced United and Liverpool have the best two U18s sides in the country right now. I expect us and I would have expected you to beat Chelsea in the semi finals. I went to their 4th round tie against Arsenal and wasn’t impressed with either side.

  6. Im a lfc fan, the chanting against lfc is certainly not isolated to just when we play each-other. I watch man utd from time to time on the box as they are entertaining (also in the vain hope they’re beaten) and they constantly sing anti-scouse/lfc songs whoever they play, and it is a large section of the crowd. Hand on heart liverpool fans just dont do that. I have heard idiot ‘fans’ attempt a munich chant and it is very quickly dealt with by fans themselves. Lfc fans are no angels. Every club has a set of dick heads. Man city fans chant munich taunts and they are also ridiculous. More needs to be done from everyone, fans, managers, fa, premier league etc. Start ejecting people straight away, only way to teach them. Im not holding my breath. It is after all just a sport that WE ALL want to ENJOY! Rivalry is healthy, abusing the dead (both fans) is backward to be polite.↲↲We have more in common than we like to admit.

  7. Firstly, lumping Hillsborough/Heysel chants in together is bizarre; Hillsborough chants are obviously wrong and are never, ever sung on a significant scale.

    Heysel; they killed 30+ Italians. English clubs were banned from Europe for 5 years (and Liverpool for an extra one) as a result; they were OFFICIALLY to blame. When Heysel is sung, it’s not mocking the victims; it’s quite the opposite ffs – it’s making sure Liverpool are reminded of the death they caused, and that they should take responsibility for a tragedy they inflicted if they then expect the whole world to mourn Hillsborough. Common sense, surely?

    Liverpool have sung Munich chants en masse, for decades. See this video – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RlHMyp_jIyw – that’s a Spirit of Shankly meeting, where Munich is being celebrated. SOS are their pirmary fans group, and strangely seen as a respectful organisation.

    My final point is that articles like this really aren’t particularly helpful. For me, it’s not really possible for modern football to be any more sterile and sanitised; are you really calling for EVEN MORE draconian policing and stewarding, Doron?

    Mocking the dead is fucking disgusting (and to my mind, one set of fans are far worse for it than another), but the Daily Mail-esque mock outrage that this has caused is pathetic.

    We hate them, they hate us. It will never change, and it shouldn’t change. If that carries over into a Youth team game, then so be it.

  8. united fans are hypocrites they sing murderers to lfc fans yet united fans forget the crystal palace fan they strew under a bus and a city fan stabbed both of whome died of there injurys as i said hypocrites FACT

  9. Just watched the game back and luckily I didn’t hear any of these chants, not that I heard much of what was chanted for parts of the game but that’s mostly normal when I watch the games afterwards, just focus on the match at hand, and when its this enjoyable its easy to shut everything out.

    Sometimes I wonder if everyone commenting on the chants when they do happen makes it worse then just ignoring it and trying to get the individuals to stop/ban them without all the spotlight.

  10. no wonder moder football is dead with people like you lot in the game. fuck the scouse twats. we hate them, they hate us. simple as that.

  11. Give security the right to eject people for it and have more cameras above the stands to try and work out who’s doing it. If anybody is properly identified as doing it, life ban. By the FA from ALL grounds.

    (For any of these sorts of songs, not specific to Munich.)

  12. Yes we’re both as bad as each other, and yes it’s a shame because we’re more similar than we’d like to admit (should both save it for the likes of Chelsea).

    But it’ll never go away whilst Utd fans sing about heysel & hillsborough EVERY SINGLE GAME, whether you’re playing Bolton or Blackburn or whoever. It comes across as though you’re obsessed. We sing anti-Utd songs when we’re playing Utd. Anyone even mentioning Utd on the Kop when we’re not playing you gets dogs abuse until he shuts up. There’s the difference.

    When we play you its obviously bad from both sides. Old Trafford a few years ago – half the ground singing about hillsborough & heysel, trying desperately to get a response. For nearly an hour our fans took it, then finally snapped and (disgracefully) sang about Munich. And what did your lot do? Cheered!!! You wanted to hear it! Very sad individuals on both sides, but these days it seems worse from your side. I know that doesn’t help solve the problem & saying it will probably only get your back up, but everything I’ve said is true & it needs saying. Until it stops at every game you play (no matter who the oppo is), you’ll end up getting it back when we play you.

    Sunday was a low point for your fans though. A youth cup game for christs sake. A low point for our fans was the Chelsea semi-final a few years back when Munich insults were sprayed everywhere and the toilets vandalised. Another low point was the SoS party as someone has posted. But the fact that it’s always a minority doesn’t get mentioned & doesn’t stop it getting worse the next time we meet.

    It’s just never-ending, and like I said, it’s hard to see how it could be tackled. The rivalry is intense, which is something I’m glad about like many have said, we’d be sad if there was nobody to hate, Everton & City would start getting above their stations for starters. Just need to stop crossing the lines of decency. Both sides.

  13. I was sat in the kop on sunday, there was not one munich chant, just chants of liverpool, most of the crowd was full of young kids, it was a none hostile kop on sunday as it was an under 18 event,

  14. Its mad aint it the rivally is that bad you cant go to an under 18’s match without divvies being there!

    I’m a 31 year old Liverpool fan an ive been to OT and heard the Munich/shipman songs and its horrible – Liverpool fans that go to OT dont go every week they just save themselves for you which is a shame, if im honest i dont blame you for singing about hillsborough, how horrible that sounds but its true, we’ve sang them sick songs for years but the people who still sing them arent a*sed – i will say that when the kop sang it loads of people (including me arl falla) never sang songs about munich.

    I dont mind united, i hate them on one hand but on the other hand we are so similar its untrue, your support at home games is by far the best in the premier league (barring the shit new clubs) id say our was better in the cup/europe etc.

    The original poster obviously knows his stuff cos he’s spot on – how do you stop it though?

  15. Being in the Kop last sunday, I don’t recall anyway ‘munich’ chants being sung. As people said, the majority of the crowd was fathers with kids and general families, there wasn’t a hostile element to it at all.

    The chants are wrong and no set of fans should try and take the moral high ground either, you always get the pond life spoiling it for everyone else.

  16. It wasn’t a flare. It was a smoke bomb. There are significant differences between the two. Flares are ignited and releases heat and sparks and could kill a person. Smoke bombs don’t release any heat but a cloud of artificial smoke which are used in paintballing excercises etc. I’m not condoning the use of smokes bombs but i’m saying stop making it look worse that it already was.

  17. @Sufiyan I would say the details of what it specifically was are somewhat irrelevant personally – I presumed it was a flare. Certainly wasn’t an attempt on my part to “make it look worse than it was”

  18. How can you say the details of what they were are irrelevant? It was a smoke bomb. While the guys who took the flares to Marseille were fined £1,000 and given a 3-5 year banning order. The lad who took the smoke bomb in was given a 2 year conditional discharge and ordered to pay £85 court charges. I only feel so strongly about it because I was one of the two that got thrown out for it. And I didn’t even take it in or set it off. Also, on a sidenote, please do excuse my poor grammar in my previous comment.

  19. But yeah fair enough, I understand that you thought it was a flare as opposed to a smoke bomb.

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