Paper Round: Time to end Hillsborough chants

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers is the latest person to speak of the need for fans to stop the hateful chants over Hillsborough.

Premier League - Cameron's Hillsborough statement in full

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1999 Liverpool Hillsborough tribute

The disaster has been exposed as one of the country’s biggest scandals this week, with Liverpool fans cleared of any suspicion of blame, and prosecutions talked about for the police who covered up their own failings.

The Daily Mail is one of several newspapers which quote Rodgers, who attended a vigil for the 96 victims of the 1989 tragedy, saying that long-standing chants between opposing sets of fans mocking the tragedy should stop.

"I speak as a human being and I don't ever like to hear anything like that, whatever club it is, that associates with other people's tragedies and death,” Rodgers said.

"Unfortunately you have a very small percentage of idiots at any club who will always try to smear another club's reputation.

"Of course, it is obvious these are chants that no one wants to hear about any club. Unfortunately there are that minority of supporters who will maybe disappoint but let's hope we can all move on and we can all learn from this whole process."

Sadly, Liverpool fans are not alone in having tragedies from their past dredged up by pockets of rival fans.

Manchester United have also famously been subjected to chants mocking the 1958 Munich air disaster, in which members of their team lost their lives in a plane crash.

And while Rodgers is right to call for those chants to end this week, Paper Round doesn’t think there were too many people thinking this time seven days ago that they were completely fine.

Rodgers makes the comments in a wide-ranging series of reflections on Hillsborough and his role in moving the club forward from it.

In the Guardian he reworks the legendary phrase from former Reds manager Bill Shankly (who may have had his tongue in his cheek when he said it) – that ‘football isn’t a matter of life and death – it’s much more important than that.’

"Football is wonderful,” said Rodgers. “It has given me a wonderful life and I love every minute of being a manager, but life is more important. Life, health and families are more important, but what football can give to the victims and the survivors is hope."

Of course, football can be a force for good, but it does have a knack of being dragged into desperate territory, and there’s a reminder of that in today’s papers.

The Daily Mirror leads their back pages on the possible meeting between John Terry and Anton Ferdinand when QPR host Chelsea at Loftus Road tomorrow.

Terry, injured and unavailable for England duty in midweek, has been training hard to get back on the pitch, and if he makes it will mean football will have to revisit the fallout of the corresponding fixture last season, which led to Terry’s court case for a racially aggravated public order offence (he was found not guilty).

“John Terry will plead with Roberto Di Matteo to let him play in Saturday's hate-filled clash at QPR,” the Mirror reports, “even though Anton Ferdinand is set to shun him.

“Rangers manager Mark Hughes sounded out Ferdinand on Thursday over whether he was going to shake Terry's hand during the traditional pre-match routine.

“And the defender made it clear he is still determined to refuse to not only blank Terry but also his Chelsea team-mate Ashley Cole.”

While Paper Round tries to work how a clash can be ‘hate-filled’ before it’s ever happened, it looks like football moving on from schisms is easier said than done.

You may have already guessed, but transfer rumours are thin on the ground today. Top of the bill is a report in the Daily Mirror that Miroslav Klose turned down a move to Tottenham from Lazio this summer.

The Mirror also supply the only other half-decent rumour today with the suggestion that Blackpool are keen to re-sign DJ Campbell from QPR, and could take the striker on loan first.

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