Above is a photograph of Manchester United fans commemorating the Munich air disaster, an event which cost the lives of 23 individuals on a flight home from the German city to Manchester. It was a tragic day that is now at the core of the soccer side’s history, an occasion which bound the city and entire country of England together.
So the news that a section of Manchester United’s home support decided to sing a series of tasteless chants regarding Liverpool’s own tragedy, the Hillsborough disaster, during their 4-0 victory over Wigan on Saturday is both a shock and still unsurprising.
These clubs share a bitter rivalry that transcends sport. It began during the industrial revolution of the 1800s and has only blossomed as both clubs have become the two most successful soccer teams in English history, but you always hoped, prayed even, that there would a sacred line that neither side would cross regarding the deaths of the club’s fans and players.
Over the last few seasons, both sets of Liverpool and Manchester United supporters have been found guilty of singing deplorable anthems regarding Hillsborough and the Munich air disaster, but, with revelations coming to light that the latter was the victim of a huge police injustice, you’d have hoped these would now cease.
Instead, with the two sides set to meet at Anfield on Sunday there is a huge effort being made to quell the rising animosity between the two that is now at a fever pitch. Talks have been held between representatives of the two clubs, but it remains to be seen whether this will make an impact. We’ll just have to cross our fingers and wait and see.