April 15th – A Day of Mourning, Not Football
April 12, 2012 in FA and Carling Cup
Alan Davies recently ran into trouble on Twitter for his incendiary comments about Liverpool refusing to play on the 15th April, the 23rd anniversary of the Hillsborough Disaster, giving Chelsea a day less to prepare for their Champions League semi-final v Barcelona.
He told his Arsenal based podcast:
“Liverpool and the 15th, that gets on my tits that shit. What are you talking about, ‘We won’t play on the day’? Why can’t they? My mum died on 22 August. I don’t stay in all day on 22 August. Do they play on the date of the Heysel Stadium disaster? How many dates do they not play on? Do Man United play on the date of Munich? Do Rangers play on the date when all their fans died in that disaster whatever year that was – 1971?”
These are all valid points if you’re not involved with Liverpool, or affected by Hillsborough, but he’s chosen an aggressive tone mixed with his – his word – ‘hate’ for Kenny Dalglish. It’s worth pointing out that Liverpool have not played on the 15th April long before Kenny Dalglish returned to LFC, so his rant is misguided.
Davies has since apologised, stating his support to the Hillsborough Justice Campaign and even making a donation to the cause but doesn’t agree with the club’s stance on the refusal to play on that date.
Manchester United do indeed play on 6th February but that maybe because a large amount of time has elapsed. Were they to decide not to, I doubt if anyone would bat an eyelid. There are far more important things to life than football and this is one of them.
The fans’ viewpoint, and mine, is that it is still too soon after the event and playing on that date would be incredibly disrespectful to those who died that day. Furthermore, if the club chose to play on the 15th, the attendance would be at an all-time low. For one thing, Anfield plays host to the annual memorial service on the 15th April. Many Reds, again me included, would rather drop out of the FA Cup than play on that day. It’s that important and it’s not borne out of a need to be different or unhelpful. We just don’t play on that date and if we did play, we just wouldn’t attend.
Davies has a right to raise the question, but not in that tone. If people don’t know why, then at least they’ll know now, so maybe some good will come of this.