Check Out My New Site!

Check out the sister site to It's All A Bit Pony and Trap, where Melanie C. Jones reviews stuff, and tells you if it is shit or not (hint: it quite often is) at Is It Pony?

Sunday 15 April 2012

Alan Davies' Liverpool Death Threats

Hillsborough 1989. This was Liverpool FC's 9/11. Except unlike 9/11, which was ten years ago, it is too soon to make any form of joke about anything even vaguely related to it.
Today, Chelsea played Tottenham in the FA Cup semi final. Prior to the game there was scheduled to be a minute's silence, no, not for the Italian player who died during a match yesterday, but for the 23rd anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster. 
Around 2000 Chelsea fans reportedly brought this to an early end with distasteful chants of "murderers". Now, by anyone's standards that is bad behaviour, but I've seen a number of reactions to this that are just plain ridiculous, claiming that Tottenham should have won by default because a minority of Chelsea fans (that's fans, not players) were disrespectful and also because of a dodgy goal being allowed (by the referee, you know, the bloke who awards the goals, not by Didier Drogba or anyone else in a blue shirt. If Chelsea players could just allow themselves goals, we wouldn't be fighting to finish in fourth). So, for things that were not within the players', manager's or overall club's control then? Yeah, that sounds sporting.
I'm sorry, but sometimes goals that aren't goals are allowed. Sometimes, this gets Liverpool into the final of the Champions League and allows them to win something they can then bang on about for the rest of time. Other times, it just makes a game end 5-1 instead of 4-1. In the latter case, who really gives the tiniest part of a tiny rat's ass?
And just as referees will quite royally fuck things up, supporters will make distasteful chants about teams they hate. Here are some examples:
People screaming, are you listening?/Fences rattling, bodies clattering/Oh what a wonderful sight/We're so happy tonight/Walking in a Hillsborough wonderland
That charming little ditty is attributed to some Manchester United fans. Poor Liverpool. Here's another one:
1 Scouse 2 Scouse 3 Scouse 4, all got crushed on a Sheffield floor/96 dead bastards was the final score/But we're still not happy 'cos we all wanted more
Awwwwww. Horrible, isn't it. Another one?
Who's that choking on their vomit/Who's that turning fucking blue/It's a scouser and his mate/Crushed behind the Hillsborough gates/And they won't be singing Munich anymore.
Those Man United people are out of control beasts, relentlessly going on about Liverpool's 9/11. But wait, what was that last line? They won't be singing Munich anymore? What does that mean? Er...
An M, a U, an N. An I, a C, an H/There was an air disaster in 1958!/They went to Red Star Belgrade and crashed the fucking plane/And when they play in Europe I hope they crash again!
What? The Scousers were singing about Munich? But that was the Mancs' 9/11! Does nobody respect anyone else's 9/11 here? 
I'm a football supporter. If you're reading this, chances are you are too. A lot of us are total bastards with quite remarkably sick senses of humour. It's part of the culture. A fun part, really, in a dark way, and as long as we all just keep responding to any other team's supporters' attempts to bait us by going on about our 9/11 distastefully by going on about their 9/11 distastefully, or, if they don't have a 9/11, by saying their wives have massive vaginas (for some reason, Chrome's spellcheck is telling me "vaginas" isn't a real word, and now I'm actually questioning whether it is or not. Maybe it should be "vagini"? No...) everything will balance itself out, and we'll all be equally bad people and none of us will be hypocrites.
So, if that's the tacit arrangement between football supporters, what is it that makes Hillsborough the one taboo? Why is it the only one of the many horrible things that have happened in the history of the sport that can't be touched, even nearly a quarter of a century later? This is where we come to the Alan Davies situation.
It turns out Jonathan Creek there is a big Arsenal fan, and talking on his football podcast The Tuesday Club he had a bit of a rant about Liverpool FC's annual refusal to play on April 15th. Here is what he said:
'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?'
'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?'
Weird, I thought Rangers' 9/11 was, well, this season. But anyway, in response to the above, Alan Davies received death threats from Liverpool supporters. Seriously. 
He wasn't joking about the disaster. He wasn't joking about the victims, or saying anything that was particularly offensive in terms of Hillsborough itself. All he did was express annoyance that due to Liverpool's insistence that they won't play on the anniversary, an insistence which is unique to the club compared with other clubs who have tragedies associated with them, Chelsea were forced to play their match on the Sunday, leaving less recovery time before the Champion's League semi-final against Barcelona on Wednesday. That's an Arsenal fan worrying that something isn't fair on Chelsea right there, which is pretty bizarre, but not worthy of death threats.
Still, surprised by how offended people were, as you bloody shouldn't be if you are suddenly vilified by the quite alarmingly sensitive Scouse, Alan Davies offered a 1000 pound donation to the Hillsborough Justice Campaign by way of an apology. They told him (figuratively, not literally - don't sue me) to shove it up his arse, saying they would rather he "genuinely tried to understand why the decision never to play on the anniversary of the Hillsborough Disaster is so important.". He does understand. He thinks it's bullshit. It's just that that isn't a view you're allowed to have, evidently.
It seems this isn't even the first time Liverpool supporters have got their panties in a bunch about a mention of Hillsborough that is anything other than simpering. In the list of controversial Hillsborough related incidents, there was an issue of Australian FHM pulled, a Liverpool player dropped, some unpleasantness involving Jeremy Hunt, and an apology from the BBC because of, of all things, a line Minty Peterson said on Eastenders. Come on, really? Minty? The most lovable of all the Eastenders characters? Even he can't mention it? There weren't any death threats for Minty, happily, though whether that is because people were scared Phil Mitchell might come to Minty's aid in a fight or because, you know, he isn't real, we can't know.
Look for any similar controversies relating to Munich, or just about any other tragedy you can think of, even those which happened a lot less than 23 years ago, and you will find them few. Come on, Liverpool - do you really want to be seen as the only team that will dish it out but won't take it back?
Please post your death threats below.


  1. Excellent article, brilliantly written and some very good points, it cleared it up for me.

  2. Thanks Matt. That wasn't very death threaty though. Where is MY fatwah from King Kenny's army?

  3. Every club/person/country is entitled to respect any historical incident in it's own way. There is always a "too soon" moment for anything concerning loss of a life of someone we dont know personally. If you where a relation of a lost (I am not) would you find it a light hearted joke?

  4. Well, as Alan Davies didn't say anything about the dead at all, only about Liverpool's decision not to play, I don't see why anyone related to those who died would be offended by him simply voicing an opinion about how the club choose to remember it each year by not playing football.

    Would those who lost people that day really have been that cut up if Liverpool had played against Everton on the anniversary - they beat their local rivals and secured a place in the FA Cup final, which is good going for them considering their atrocious season. Wouldn't that have been a better way to honour the dead than sitting at home tweeting death threats at Jonathan Creek?

    Want an education on Hillsborough? Watch that.

    1. I watched that when it was first aired. It was informative and I felt empathy for those that died and their families.

      However, it is only really tangentially related to what is being discussed here.

      The blog author isn't saying the offensive things, she is discussing the types of people that say these offensive things and quite clearly quoting them, to highlight the fact that there are equal proportions of any club's supporters who partake in this dark comedy. It's a commentary on "gallows humour" in football and nothing else.

      As far as Alan Davis specific comment that was identified - I think he was a bit of a fool merely because the logic of his comment doesn't hold. It is just as likely that the shifting of a Liverpool match to avoid that date would aid the rival team they are playing as hinder them, given the initial allocations of who plays who and when is completly random in every competition. What is important is that when Liverpool decide to stop avoiding playing on that date, at some point in the distant future, the shifts still happen for at least a few years, in order to ensure their is no attempt to gain a playing advantage by someone who is only concerned with the performance of the team at that point.