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  • Robert M Robert M Apr 17, 2012 16:54 Flag

    Disgraceful Chelsea fans

    As is common when I write stuff on this board that the locals don’t entirely agree with, the thread has split into a number of people commenting on my blurb. Rather than tackle them all individually, at various levels of temper on both sides, I will try in this post to explain why my comments have come out as they have. (You may not like it.)

    First, thank you to Hobitez and Sideshow for your kind remarks.

    The stuff I wrote about Hillsborough and my criticism of the Chelsea fans the other day was sincere, and will no doubt be echoed in other threads in due course. And I sincerely hope that both Chelsea fans and Liverpool fans refrain from using this as an excuse to have a go at each other in the cup final, or at Anfield. Both sets of fans have a responsibility not to wind things up.

    I raised Heysel and this needs explaining as it is behind quite a lot of what I have written. So at the risk of upsetting you further I will explain that.

    I am angry with LFC over Heysel. (Don’t even think of saying it was 27 years ago: that’s only slightly longer than Hillsborough.) I am not specifically holding an on-going grudge about the specific events, although when I review it in detail and think about my reactions on the night I get just as emotional as I do when thinking of the events at Hillsborough. No, I am angry that LFC doesn’t treat the Heysel victims with anything like the same reverence or concern as it does the Hillsborough victims.

    Every Heysel victim is just as important a tragedy as every Hillsborough victim. LFC has rightly taken on a self-imposed responsibility to care for the Hillsborough victims’ families, through remembrance and campaigning in various forms. I believe LFC should have taken on a self-imposed responsibility for the Heysel victims too. Why? Because, to put it bluntly, but accurately: 39 Juventus fans died because of bad actions by Liverpool supporters. (Compare that with the thread title.)

    We are rightly told that “some things are bigger than football”. Yes, Hillsborough was and that may well justify you not playing on April 15th. So was Heysel. Many fans died at both and they are both part of your history. One you (the LFC family) have no culpability for. The other, some. Yet you want to remember the former and not the latter.

    Dave says: As for Hysel, I was not there yesterday, but from the coverage on LFCTV I saw it was not mentioned. I'm not sure why it should be as they are two separate and unrelated events. We don't mark the anniversary of Hysel in the same way as Hillsbrough, but why should we, it did not effect the club in the same way.

    I’m angry because it affected me in the same way. I saw innocent football fans dying in two stadium disasters on what should have been festivals and happy occasions. I think if some things are bigger than football, then it damn well should affect LFC in the same way, because of the involvement of its fans. I think LFC has as much responsibility to remembrance of the Juventus victims in some way as it does to remembrance of the Hillsborough victims. I’m not asking you go and have services in Italy, I’m not even asking you to boycott 29th May, although that would show an agreeable consistency, but I’m asking for something better than the appearance of wanting to wash it under the carpet.

    Loki: Heysel was on 29th May. Why would we even mention it on 15th April?

    Because here is your opportunity to show that you mean it when you say some things are bigger than football. Your Hillsborough services should have a minute’s silence for the Juventus fans, or some other recognition. At the very least. Show that you want to remember Heysel for the human tragedy in the same way as you want to remember Hillsborough. Have some remembrance for what your fans caused, not just for what was caused to your fans.

    I’ll get me coat.


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    • Now now Robert, this is a good discussion.

      You are right about Heysel also being beyond football. I suppose we could have a service on 29th May, why would any of us be against it? But as someone has already said, we do have links with Juventus over this, and I think we do send a delegation over to Turin every year, but beyond that I don't know why we don't have services here too.

      Somebody has already said that Hillsborough had a greater effect on LFC than Heysel, and that is true. On Remembrance Sunday, do the British remember the German dead? I don't think they do. That's the best way I can explain it I suppose, with that example.

      With regards to the actions of Liverpool fans at Heysel, and yes they rushed the Italians, but the finger of blame should also be pointed at UEFA. The club wrote to UEFA months before the final, saying that the stadium was not fit to host the final, and as is usual in these cases (we saw it again at the Athens Olympic Stadium in 2007), the powers that be decided that they would ignore our concerns. Furthermore, they decided to put us next to Juventus' fans with only chicken wire separating them. This concern was also ignored. I don't know whether you are aware, but every time we play in Italy, particularly Roma and Napoli, (and by 'we' I mean British fans) there is always trouble from the Italians. More or less anywhere else, there's no real trouble. They started throwing stones in to our pen and spitting, what is the human reaction to that stuff? Turn the other cheek like Christians tell us to. Unrealistic not to expect a reaction. So fans decided to fight back, so yes, Liverpool fans rushed the Italians. As they fell back, one of the walls crumbled in that unsuitable sh*thole causing the deaths of those poor people.

      I'm not excusing our fans, but not everything is as it seems with Heysel. Maybe the only fact that matters is that Liverpool fans' actions resulted in the wall to fall. Cause and effect. But if you are going to go down that route, then you have to say 'If UEFA listened to us in the first place, this couldn't have happened' - how far back do you go for blame?

      I would be against remembering Heysel at any Hillsborough memorial. In fact I would be outraged if that happened. April 15 is for Hillsborough victims only in my opinion, as they are separate incidents. As I've already said, I would not be against a another service.

      Returning to your many points about our selfishness, you are essentially saying that we should miss our mothers' funeral because it's your birthday party, otherwise we're selfish.

      Anyway, this subject is becoming truly tedious to me. I shan't comment on anything other than football coz I've said everything I have to say on the subject.

      • 1 Reply to Loki
      • All the most due respects to everyone and everything that's been said about the mentioned tragedies and events that occured on these horrible days..

        Gee, isn't it oh so ironic that the topic of the post "Disgraceful Chelsea Fans", has taken an ugly turn into a never ending, opinionated debate over inflammatory events, with the usual suspect right in the middle..? The baby is crying, it wants attention, it wants it's shiny new toy and keeps hurling things to be heard...

        This is going to turn into a 79 comment thread, that as usual, has nothing to do with with the actual players of Liverpool Football Club, or anything to do with football dominating the message board! Just the way one likes it..

        Let's see, we're on the eve of Champions League Semi Finals between Bayern Munich and Madrid, followed by tomorrow FC Barcelona and .. hey wouldn't ya know it, they do have a club, Chelsea FC.. Then we have the Fa Semi Victory to still talk about, the Fa Finals which will be played at night for the first time since 1993 to talk about, the end of the season run in to talk about, and summer / transfer speculations to talk about..

        Nah... Let's leep this going, over tragic events hearing the word selfish, not being able to come close to winning a valid point, and after Hillsborough and Heysel have been dragged through this unnecesary debacle, perhaps we can jump back into the Suarez incident?


    • Robert M, I don't think you know enough about Heysel to comment actually. At least it sounds that way. I have been there and paid my respects, and it was a tragedy in the same way Hillsborough was.

      However it has a lot of similarities to Hillsborough, in that the circumstances were very much outside of the control of the fans inside the stadium and the club itself. This was NOT a case or organised hooliganism of the sort seen in the vicinity of many a Chelsea game. This was pure fear and panic, the roots of which were sown in a game a year earlier. In a stadium not up to hosting the game, and set up for a disaster. The club requested the game be moved beforehand, and had grave concerns over the policing and segregation of the fans (there was barely any).

      Perhaps you need to read a bit more about it, because the blame for Heysel lies squarely with UEFA and the belgian authorities/policing. Or perhaps you believe the Thatcher myth.

      I'm not saying our fans were blameless, but it was not what you think it was, and you should not say so as freely as you have. Shame on you.