Wednesday, 11 April 2012

The Alan Davies Imbroglio

I have thought long, and I have thought hard, about whether or not to write a piece on the recent furore around Alan Davies' comments on Hillsborough. On balance, I think I may add something to the debate and - therefore - step into a fairly troubled landscape. I intend to tread lightly and I do not intend to linger too long. 

Let us be absolutely clear: Alan Davies has the right, within certain boundaries set out by the law of the land, to say what he wants. He was totally within his rights to question whether or not Liverpool Football Club should play games on April 15th. 


That said, Liverpool fans - equally - have the right to defend their club's position, to rubbish and rebut his views and to tell the world he is wrong.

The beauty of living in a country where (relatively) free speech is prized means that people can say things that they feel. They can say things that we do not like. They can say things that are upsetting. They can say things that are offensive. We can rebut all of those things. I have enough faith in the people of this country to know an idiot when they see one and to know the lilting sound of idiocy when they hear it.
That is not to say that I agree with Davies. Far from it. I thought his comments were, at best, unhelpful and ill-informed and, at worst, distasteful and deeply upsetting. They were the words of a man who has not considered what he is saying or the ramifications of those words. In a country where free speech is prized and where our words and thoughts are increasingly broadcast via various media sometimes when we say things we wish we hadn't, or haven't considered, end up out there forever more.

The Telegraph today published a disingenuous article. They say that, as part of a wider trend of collective mourning running out of control, Davies has committed a ''thought-crime against the post-Hillsborough cult of emotional correctness''. The article is disingenuous because it says he ''merely'' asked why Liverpool don't play on April 15th. That isn't quite true. 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?''.

As Christopher Hitchens said, his majestic ''Unfarenheit 9/11''  and I quote in full here (my underline. That is the critical part):

''So I know, thanks, before you tell me, that a documentary must have a ''POV'' or point of view and that it must also impose a narrative line. But if you leave out absolutely everything that might give your ''narrative'' a problem and throw in any old rubbish that might support it, and you don't even care that one bit of that rubbish flatly contradicts the next bit, and you give no chance to those who might differ, then you have betrayed your craft. If you flatter and fawn your audience, I might add, you are patronising them and insulting them. By the same token, if I write an article and I quote somebody and for space reasons put in an ellipsis like this (...), I swear on my children that I am not leaving out anyhting that, if quoted in full, would alter the original meaning or its signifcance. Those who violate this pact with readers or viewers are to be despised'').



The fact that the Telegraph piece does not quote the ''that gets on my tits, that shit' was telling and, bluntly, very poor journalism. Davies *probably* didn't mean to be so flippant (indeed, the man has apologised for offence caused and offered the Hillsborough Justice Campaign £1,000 as way of penance whilst all the while dressing up as a comedy Scouser. My view is that this was PR advice that he chose to follow to diffuse the row) but I don't think it is a useful contribution to the debate to talk about Hillsborough as ''Liverpool and the 15th - that gets on my tits, that shit''.


All that said, the behaviour of some Liverpool fans has been repugnant, disgraceful and abhorrent. Debate the man on his arguments, explain why we refuse to play on April 15th and explain why we would rather be booted out of the FA Cup than play any game on that day (but especially an FA Cup Semi-Final. Rather than call him an idiot why not prove that he is one?

It seems odd to me to complain about a man's lack of sensitivity and then decide to delve far below his level. Revelling in his mother's death? Sending him death threats? We are better than that. Or, at least, we should be. That behaviour is beneath contempt whatever replica shirt you wear. We should not be afraid to say so.

Away from that, I did want to clear up another few matters. Lots of commentators have said things such as ''But what about Munich? What about Heysel? What about Ibrox? What about Bradford?''.


Each and every one of those was a profoundly sad day in football history. I would respect absolutely Manchester United if they said that they would not play on February 6th. I would respect Rangers, Juventus or Bradford City honouring their own dead as they saw fit - and if that included a request to their respective football associations not to play on the anniversary of the tragedy I believe that is a reasonable request.

I do not know enough about any of those tragedies to comment in depth. What I will say is that to many Liverpool fans Hillsborough feels so much worse because of the cover-ups, the lies, the untruths, the mistruths and the slanders. I do not wish to go into too much depth on that here.  All I will say is that no football fan should go to a football game and come back in a bodybag. Liverpool fans may genuinely feel that Hillsborough is different. I can assure you that it will not feel like that if you lost your son at the Ibrox disaster. I cannot even imagine what that feels like and, I'd guess, very few of my readers will either.


Some fans - unsurprisingly and maddeningly - begin to focus particularly on Heysel. This is not, usually, out of a concern for those thirty nine fans that died and the many who were injured but to rear inter-club politics to play. That said, If Hillsborough was the darkest day in my club's history, Heysel was the blackest. My understanding is that Liverpool have never played on May 29th and - again - it is my understanding that they would not do so in future.



Two final points: First, what motivated Davies' rant?

It was that he felt that it was unfair on Chelsea that they had to play three days before a Champions League semi-final against Barcelona? I think most people can agree that it would be preferable for Chelsea not to have to play three days before their Champions League Semi. That does not, however, mean that Liverpool should have to be forced to play on April 15th.

Rather than turning his ire on Liverpool perhaps he should have turned his ire against the Football Association.

Why do they insist that the games had to take place on that weekend - and not the weekend before or after? Why do they insist that the games must be spread across the weekend? Why do they insist that the game on the Sunday must be at 6pm rather than 12.30pm (as the Saturday game is)? Why do they insist that both games must take place on Wembley? Why do they insist that Liverpool fans and Everton fans - regardless of the date - have to travel to Wembley to play a semi-final when there are two large stadia in Manchester where the game could be played?

The answer, of course, is the FA have to pay off their stadium but that is not Liverpool's fault.
 

Second, more importantly, and counter to almost everything I've written above: We shouldn't focus on these comparatively minor issues about who said what and why. We should be focusing our energies on helping those affected most deeply by the disaster to gain closure and to help their wounds heals as best they can. We can only do this by continuing the fight for justice for those who died, and those who were injured and scarred, that afternoon. Why, in a country that prides itself - apparently - on due process - are we still waiting for justice to be done? That's the issue here and it has always been the issue.

That day in April 96 fans went to watch a football game and didn't come back. They didn't see us win an FA Cup against Everton a few weeks later. They didn't see Davies' beloved Arsenal steal the league title in the embers of the season. They didn't hear the slanders against their name. And still we await disclosure of all the facts about that bleak day and we still await justice for them.


And before I sign off. Let us not forget our brethren across the city. This has been dressed up as a Liverpool Football Club matter. That misunderstands the nature of the Hillsborough disaster. It underestimates the pernicious ramifications of media coverage afterwards (and how that coverage affected the city as a whole). It even doesn't get the nature of Liverpool as a city - that red and blue can live in the same house, be from the same family and drink in the same pubs.

Many Everton fans were profoundly affected by Hillsborough. Many Everton fans lost family members and friends that afternoon. Many Everton fans have suffered just as much as Liverpool fans have. I guess that many Everton fans did not want the FA Cup Semi-Final to be played on 15th April because, they too, want to attend a memorial service for their friends and family. Even those that do not understand why Liverpool will not play on that date.

A
s the derby seems to get ever more poisonous, it is important for all on the red side of Merseyside that ever since that dark day we haven't walked alone.

RCM

54 comments:

Can Okar said...

Rob, I'm realy disappointed by this piece. Normally, you are erudite and on the mark.

This time, you've taken your own team's weird victimisation way too far.

1) Alan Davies is correct. Chelsea have got to play a semi final against the best team in the world. The FA should organise around that very contemporary reality.

2) Are Liverpool saying that no semi final involving Liverpool should ever be held on April 15?

3) Alan has a point that Liverpool don't have the same sensitivities about the other fans that died in teh awful 80s. Where is the "Justice for Heysel" campaign?

4) This guy is a comedian by profession. Getting het up about a comdian's writings seem weird.

5) Liverpool is a club that supported Suarez. The fans of a club that might struggle to finish top half are merely seeking another way to find satisfaction.

Mark said...

Sorry Rob, agree completely with Can. Your piece the other day was very thought-provoking, but this was pulled straight out of the Liverpool martyrs' handbook.

Manos said...

Shockingly, I'm on Rob's side on this one. I've read one article too many this year about this comedian being racist or that one being discriminatory against demographic x, y or z. I don't know why seeing the word "mong" in a comedian's tweets is worth discussing, but taking a piss on the collective grief of an entire city isn't.

If Liverpool do not want to ever play on April 15, they should have the right to. Some things are more important than TV contracts and other contemporary realities. Chelsea's matches can be scheduled separately, as long as the FA has the decency to be sensitive about this issue.

As far as Heysel goes, http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/europe/4409501.stm may serve as a swift reminder of how Liverpool fans expressed their feelings on that issue.

Finally, Suarez. The club openly blasted him for not shaking hands. I'd much rather never see him play in a Liverpool shirt again. However, I doubt that Liverpool is a 'racist' club, or more racist than other clubs in the PL, or any of that sort.

Can Okar said...

Manos (and Rob), you're both clever guys. You both realise that the entire world does not revolve around you. Listen to what Alan Davies actually said (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b1XBPA5drFo).

Can you give me even one thing that is wrong with what he said?

Manos, our dads died? Do we stay at home on the anniversary?

Do other teams not play on anniversaries of horrendous events tied to that team?

Does Dalglish not look like a sour-mouthed guy in every interview?

Is this not unfair on Chelsea (a team that I hate but a team that is in the CL semi-finals)?

I'm sorry but bad things happens every single day of the year. April 15th is one of 365 days of the year. If you can't deal with bad things happening and if you can't accept that the way time works is that dates repeat, you should look at yourself.

I stand by what I said. Rob has written a really bad piece. If it was any other team, he would be having a field day. I hope he comes back to his senses because I usually love what he writes. Even when I disagree with him, what he writes makes me think.

On this occasion, it has disgusted me that such a fine mind has written such an oddly stupid article.

James said...

(1/2)

I'm absolutely staggered by Can's comments.



"1) Alan Davies is correct. Chelsea have got to play a semi final against the best team in the world. The FA should organise around that very contemporary reality."

- You completely overlook a whole section of the post which explains why the FA *could* plan around that but for their insistence to 1.) play the semi-finals on this weekend and no other, and 2.) not play both semi-finals on one day at different venues (including ones much closer to Merseyside, saving the vast majority of the 63,000 or so fans attending the game having to travel 210 miles to London by midday).


"2) Are Liverpool saying that no semi final involving Liverpool should ever be held on April 15?"

- Presumably, yes. A memorial service, which the players and coaching staff have always attended, is held on the afternoon of the 15th every year. Although you're probably outraged by that.


"3) Alan has a point that Liverpool don't have the same sensitivities about the other fans that died in teh awful 80s. Where is the "Justice for Heysel" campaign?"

- No. Alan doesn't have a point. God almighty. You have no idea how ignorant you are. Go away and acquaint yourself with the MOST BASIC FACTS about Heysel before even mentioning it.

The reason the only time you'll hear "justice for Heysel" mentioned is by points-scoring United and Everton fans is that, unlike in the wake of Hillsborough, those responsible for the tragedy at Heysel, including Liverpool fans and stadium and police officials and match organisers WERE brought to justice. People were held accountable, people went to jail. Before you pipe up trying to sling mud, familiarise yourself with your subject. You'll spare yourself a lot of embarrassment.

Oh, and you also completely ignore where Rob points out that Liverpool have *never* played on the 29th of May, and, to his knowledge, would refuse to. Think about it: very rarely is there any fixture that late in the club football calendar anyway. You'd only ever be likely to get a Champions League final on that date, and even then it'd only be every six years or so at most. The odds of that happening when either Juventus or Liverpool (who'll do bloody well to even qualify for the Champions League in the next few years) contesting it on that date are slim. If they did, only then it'd be an issue, unlike the 15th of April, which falls at a busy time in the football season.

James said...

(2/2)

"4) This guy is a comedian by profession. Getting het up about a comdian's writings seem weird."

- Ahh that's alright then. He can say what he wants, no need to worry about tact or not antagonising people on what is understandably a sensitive subject.

"5) Liverpool is a club that supported Suarez."

- Without wanting to drag up the whole tedious issue, what else were the club going to do when their own player protested his innocence, and when the 'evidence' upon which he was found guilty basically amounted to the word of one other man, branded a "liar" by his native football federation and who was previously found to have given "exaggerated" and "unreliable" evidence to an FA investigation into similar allegations.

Which incidentally, isn't to say thay Liverpool and Dalglish didn't make a complete mess of how they handled the whole affair from a PR perspective (nor that the media as whole didn't disgrace itself in its bone idle, half-arsed, sensationalist coverage).

Finally, the fact that you even bring this up, when it's not even remotely relevant, betrays your pathetic hatred of the club and totally undermines every word you write.


"The fans of a club that might struggle to finish top half are merely seeking another way to find satisfaction."

- Ahh, so *that's* what it's about. A juvenile dislike for and spite towards Liverpool so strong that you'd actually accuse the club's supporters - a fair proportion of whom were directly or indirectly affected by Hillsborough, and all of whom are tarred by malicious, wilfully ignorant, hateful chants about the causes from opposing fans abuse, of using that tragedy to seek petty "satisfaction" because of frustration at the team's (very) poor league form.

Besides the point, but I think there's enough "satisfaction" to be gained from the prospect of a possible cup double.

Get a grip of yourself. If you weren't so utterly blinkered by such dislike for and spite towards Liverpool and its supporters, you'd be embarrassed at what you'd written.

James said...

Can, let's address the rest of your resentful tripe laughably and ill-fatedly passed off as legitimate comment.


"Can you give me even one thing that is wrong with what he said?"

- I’ll give you three:

“Liverpool and the 15th. It gets on my tits that shit. What are you talking about ‘we don’t play on that day’, why can’t you?” Wrong. A pretty crass way to speak about the anniversary of 96 people dying at a football match in an unsafe stadium due to a failure of police crowd control and inadequate emergency provision. If you can’t see that, you’re a moron.

“Do they play on the date of the Heysel stadium disaster?” – Well that’s wrong because the answer (‘no’) undermines the crass argument Davies is alluding to.

Having a pop at Dalglish and talking about “hating” him for daring to state the club’s position with regard to playing on the 15th of April. Wrong.


"Manos, our dads died? Do we stay at home on the anniversary?"

- If you wanted to, would you expect anyone to object? How would you feel if they did? Particularly if your dad had been killed by official negligence which had been covered up, and you had been the target of false blame, if I may extend the analogy?


"Do other teams not play on anniversaries of horrendous events tied to that team?"

- If they don't want to, that's entirely up to them and should be respected.


"Does Dalglish not look like a sour-mouthed guy in every interview?"

- Can you explain how this 'question' is even faintly relevant? Because by including it you make yourself look like a semi-literate child trying to pass a petty grudge off as respectable opinion.


"Is this not unfair on Chelsea (a team that I hate but a team that is in the CL semi-finals)?"

- It's unfortunate, but that has more to do with the FA holding both semi-finals at Wembley for commercial reasons (at great monetary and logistical expense to fans of any any clubs outside the south east contesting them), which means they have to be played on separate days.


"I'm sorry but bad things happens every single day of the year. April 15th is one of 365 days of the year."

-Exactly, it's ONE day of the year. Is it so much to ask that Liverpool don't have to play on that ONE day (although I know your view on that. I just don't respect it because I know why you hold it).


"If you can't deal with bad things happening and if you can't accept that the way time works is that dates repeat, you should look at yourself."

- I'd be more inclined to look at myself for dismissing people's right to remember a tragedy as they chose because I don't like the club they support. That's a lot sadder.


"I stand by what I said. Rob has written a really bad piece. If it was any other team, he would be having a field day."

- If it was any other team, you almost certainly *wouldn't* be having the "field day" you currently are.


"I hope he comes back to his senses"

- I'm just laughing at this point.


"On this occasion, it has disgusted me that such a fine mind has written such an oddly stupid article."

- Disgusted! DISGUSTED! Haha, God almighty, your outrage is hilarious. You hate Dalglish. You hate Liverpool. We get it.

Now get a grip of yourself. It's not healthy.

Rob Marrs said...

Hi, all,

Thanks for this. I did try to make clear that was a different style of piece from my usual writing.

To go through the points, quickly:

(1) The fact that Barcelona are the best team in the world has nothing to do with when Chelsea should play (if Chelsea were playing Bangor Town it would still be an issue). As I say in the piece, the real issue here is the FA making both semi-finals on different dates. Both semi-finals *could* take place on 14th. One at Wembley, one at Old Trafford.

The FA could have found ways round this but won't do so. If I were a Chelsea fan I'd be more annoyed with the FA than with Liverpool.

(2) Liverpool are against ever playing on April 15th - semi-final or otherwise. The FA could have forced us to do so. We just wouldn't have played and given Everton a walkover. (As I say, I don't think Everton would want to play Liverpool on April 15th).

Interestingly, UEFA have always endeavoured not to make Liverpool play on 15th April in European competition - even if that has meant changing games from usual prime-time.

(3) Justice For Heysel is curious.

Marina Coppieters, the pre-eminent Belgian judge, led an 18-month investigation into the disaster. It concluded that the sole blame rested with Liverpool fans. UEFA banned Liverpool and all other English clubs (albeit for a lesser amount of time)from competitions for an indeterminate time. FIFA followed this with a worldwide ban (excluding friendlies).

27 were arrested on suspicion of manslaugher. In 1989, 14 English fans were given 3-year sentences for involuntary manslaughter. No football matches took place at Heysel for another decade.

You might - credibly - argue that more should be done there. That UEFA should be investigated for allowing the game to be held in a crumbling stadium or that the punishments against Liverpool fans should be harsher. They have, at least, been found guilty in a court. I think, however, for those reasons it is fair to say that justice (in that context) has been served.

(4) I'd accept the comedian defence if he (i) had said it in a routine (ii) had used it himself. What he has done is (a) say something (b) then apologised (c) then donated a 1,000 to the Hillsborough Justice Campaign (d) dressed up as a comedy scouser. How contrite.

(5) I don't believe that is the case. I think - if you read back - my writings on Suarez have been significantly different to those held by many Liverpool fans. If the piece had been written by someone who had defended Suarez, and Liverpool, you might have a point. It wasn't so you haven't.

(6)Yes, I think the line ''Liverpool and the 15th. That shit gets on my tits'' was needless. Crass at best, upsetting and insulting at worst. As it happens, I think there is a debate to be had about whether we ever play on 15th (I'm against doing so) but I think that part of his speech was needless.

Continues....

Rob Marrs said...

continued (part 2)



(7) How you and Manos mark the passing of your fathers is up to you. I would bear you no grudge if you decided not to work that day.

(8) Other teams playing on the anniversaries of their disasters? Up to them. I mention in the piece why I think Hillsborough is different but, acknowledge, it won't feel that way to others who have suffered. If Manchester United didn't want to play on 6th February - fine. If they - particularly - didn't want to play a European Cup game that day, fine.

(8) I didn't have a pop at Davies for his caricature of Dalglish so that is irrelevant. Although the irony of an Arsenal fan laughing at the dour-ness of any other team's manager is quite something. That said, Dalglish has a unique relationship with Hillsborough. My understanding is that he went to every single one of the funerals of those who died. I can well imagine why he feels so strongly that his club shouldn't play on that day.

(9) It is unfair on Chelsea. Play both games on the same day (April 14th) at different stadia at different times. Simple. I've solved your problem.

If this was any other weekend, we'd be pointing out it was bloody stupid for Liverpool and Everton to have to travel to London AT ALL for a semi-final when Old Trafford, Eastlands and Villa Park are all much nearer.

(10) If this were any other team I wouldn't be having a field day. I think - shock horror - that some things are more important than football. I think this is one of them.

RCM

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Can Okar said...

Yes, it is absolutely hopeless from the FA that these games are being played at Wembley. We grew up at a time when Wembley was special - it was wrong to make it a semi venue and the FA *could* have easily played a tie up north.

I still disagree with you guys once the FA have made their stupid decision. What we have here is a football club saying that they will refuse to play and will demand changes to the fixture list on the same day, every year. Now you say you can grieve your dead however you like. I say that isn't true, not without consequences, not forever. Before I say that, I think both James and Rob have actually said this isn't about grief or remorse. This is about justice. This is a publicity stunt. If it was grief or remorse, you would try to rearrange the whole world to fit your emotions on other days too.

Back to grief though. Four years on from the death of my father, there might be moments when I want to not work but the world doesn't stop for me. If, every year, I said no and changed the plans of everyone in my business life, we would be unable to progress. If I actively disadvantaged them, I would say that they would have a right to question why it was that I was still unable to deal with a fact of life. It wouldn't matter how he died. As I've written above, that is a difference between grief and righteous indignation. All the while you think you're arguing for the right to grieve (which I don't even see as an absolute), but really, by noting that it is important *how* people die, you are arguing for the right to be publicly angry.

Now would I have that right nonetheless, whether it is to grieve or to be angry? Yes, yes I would. But my business partners would equally have the right to terminate their relations with me if I didn't work on specific days in the year, regardless of the context and regardless of whether they were disadvantaged by my stance.

So perhaps there is another option. Once fixtures are organised, Liverpool should be allowed to forfeit any game they want on any date in the year. Take the 3-0 defeat and grieve and be angry however you want.

Incidentally, James, I don't hate Liverpool and I never have. I find this version of Liverpool disappointing in that it has an almost cartoonish level of introspection and high self regard which stands in complete opposition to the modern reality of a club that is pretty average at football and has become a merry band of woman-beaters, golf swingers, racists, bar fighters, serial impregnaters and ageing donkeys.

One other thing on which I do agree: I think Alan Davies' original speech was spot on. Nothing wrong with the tone, nothing wrong with the content. I absolutely agree that it was stupid to offer money to charity, to apologise or to dress up as a Scouser. A PR somewhere should be fired.

Perhaps the confusing display of contrition had something to do with death threats (something I know you stand against but which came from people who purport to support your club).

Can Okar said...

And James, yes. I react to this whole issue with disgust. You have a comedian who makes fairly funny comments that do no disrespect to the dead but which do disrespect a football club and its self-centred, egocentric "shit". The response is death threats.

Even if Rob says "no, no, the death threats are wrong", weighing in on this issue is Daily Mail-like and not up to the normal standards of this blog. The issue itself is toxic because stupid online keyboard warriors made it so.

I just really hope that Liverpool one day come out of this phase. They are a great club with a great history. Right now, they do a disservice to that history by acting like a bunch of mawkish dilettantes, from the top of the club to the bottom.

Rob Marrs said...

Can,

Thanks, again, for your comments.

''Yes, it is absolutely hopeless from the FA that these games are being played at Wembley. We grew up at a time when Wembley was special - it was wrong to make it a semi venue and the FA *could* have easily played a tie up north.''

Agreed. They still could. They chose not to - I notice you don't question their decision-making the same way you do about individual fans with, you know, no power to do anything about it.

''I still disagree with you guys once the FA have made their stupid decision. What we have here is a football club saying that they will refuse to play and will demand changes to the fixture list on the same day, every year.''

Agreed. This has - you'll note - never been a problem before. Have Chelsea been inconvenienced? Yes. Have they made a big fuss about it? Not as much as you have.

''Now you say you can grieve your dead however you like. I say that isn't true, not without consequences, not forever. Before I say that, I think both James and Rob have actually said this isn't about grief or remorse. This is about justice. This is a publicity stunt. If it was grief or remorse, you would try to rearrange the whole world to fit your emotions on other days too.''

I don't necessarily compartmentalise my feelings the way you seem to. I think this is about grief for many individuals involved and and I also think it is about justice. The two aren't mutually exclusive. Indeed, the two are intertwined.

''Back to grief though. Four years on from the death of my father, there might be moments when I want to not work but the world doesn't stop for me. If, every year, I said no and changed the plans of everyone in my business life, we would be unable to progress. If I actively disadvantaged them, I would say that they would have a right to question why it was that I was still unable to deal with a fact of life. It wouldn't matter how he died.''

As I say, you can grieve how you wish. I would point out that I would have no problem with - say - a coalmine closing on the anniversary of a disaster as a mark of respect.

''As I've written above, that is a difference between grief and righteous indignation.''

Sure there is. I don't think anyone is disagreeing with you.

''All the while you think you're arguing for the right to grieve (which I don't even see as an absolute), but really, by noting that it is important *how* people die, you are arguing for the right to be publicly angry.''

No. I'm saying that because of how the individuals died, and because of the subsequent matters such as media coverage, police collusion etc, that the grief and anger are intertwined.

I explained Heysel in-depth because you asked not why we didn't grieve for them but why we didn't have a Justice For Heysel campaign. I'm happy to answer the questions you ask but I can't mindread.

Continued.

Rob Marrs said...

''Now would I have that right nonetheless, whether it is to grieve or to be angry? Yes, yes I would. But my business partners would equally have the right to terminate their relations with me if I didn't work on specific days in the year, regardless of the context and regardless of whether they were disadvantaged by my stance.''

Sure. And as I said, if the FA had been so minded they could have forced us to play. We'd either have (a) reluctantly played or (b) (more likely) forfeited.

''So perhaps there is another option. Once fixtures are organised, Liverpool should be allowed to forfeit any game they want on any date in the year. Take the 3-0 defeat and grieve and be angry however you want''.

Fine. This isn't another option. It is the status quo. I don't think anyone has argued otherwise. But seeing as clubs move fixtures all the time (notice Liverpool asked Wolves to move a fixture earlier in the season because it was on transfer deadline day) I don't see why that is needed. Most clubs understand that games can be moved and most clubs do so (although Wolves didn't in that instance).

''Incidentally, James, I don't hate Liverpool and I never have. I find this version of Liverpool disappointing in that it has an almost cartoonish level of introspection and high self regard which stands in complete opposition to the modern reality of a club that is pretty average at football and has become a merry band of woman-beaters, golf swingers, racists, bar fighters, serial impregnaters and ageing donkeys.''

I'm confused. Would our stance over Hillsborough be ok if you preferred the players? Or if the players were of a better standard? I'm not sure I see the relevance.

''One other thing on which I do agree: I think Alan Davies' original speech was spot on. Nothing wrong with the tone, nothing wrong with the content. I absolutely agree that it was stupid to offer money to charity, to apologise or to dress up as a Scouser. A PR somewhere should be fired.''

I actually agree. I think his reaction has made things a lot worse. But why then did you try to use the comedian's defence earlier on? Either, he was a comedian just saying shits and giggles or he wasn't. But I'm not sure you can have your toast and have it buttered too.

You'll note that I haven't attacked his right to say it. I merely thought he was wrong. You think he was right. That's fine.

''Perhaps the confusing display of contrition had something to do with death threats (something I know you stand against but which came from people who purport to support your club).''

If we are being blunt (and you seem to be keen to be so) these aren't *really* death threats. They are idiots mucking about as keyboard warriors (I've had similar to my private email from Celtic and Rangers fans ''We hope you die'' etc). That is still abhorrent and disgusting but I don't think they actually intend to kill, or threaten to kill, Davies. I'm sure you know that. I'm sure he knew that.

Regardless, I still think they should get what is coming to them in terms of legal retribution.

Of course, if I am wrong on this, and, even if I am not, these people are utter scum.

RCM

Niall said...

Does anyone want to talk about Israel and Palestine?

dearieme said...

''But what about Munich? What about Heysel? What about Ibrox? What about Bradford?''.

Spot the odd one out.

Scott said...

Ok I stopped reading the comments.

I think its best I just respond to the article and the issue.

As a Rangers fan I have to say we always want to play on the 2nd of January & always against Celtic. Both sets of fans & clubs respect that date and we have a minutes silence and lay wreaths at the memorial. The last anniversary we both laid wreaths at the centre circle.

I know someone who lost their dad that day, a father they never met. He can't go to Ibrox even though he supports the team and likes that the fans honour and care about that day.

Just because thats what we do doesn't give me the right to dictate what other teams do on their own tragic days. I would like to see liverpool play that day but understand why they don't and respect that.

The FA have to answer questions, why could they not move the Chelsea game in date or even play it on the Saturday away from Wembley. Obviously TV & the fact they need to pay for Wembley come into play but we are talking about a sensitive issue and looking for a fair compromise.

Alan Davies...

Look he apologised. He has the right to say what he said but his tone and certain use in language was offensive. He spotted that & apologised. Offered a nice donation which was stupidly refused in my opinion.

The Telegraph...

Bad reporting in the media doesn't shock me to be honest.

I appreciate your efforts Rob but as its a topic I have tried to stay away from in my own blog.

James said...

Can, let’s make no mistake about the fact that you’re only react with “disgust” because of your clear dislike for Liverpool. You’re not fooling anyone.

How many death threats? Let me tell you Can, I’ve seen a lot more Liverpool fans condemning the excesses of the responses of a minority to Davies’s stupid comments than I have issuing threats of violence.

As for the “cartoonish level of introspection” as you term it, I’m pretty sure that’s been there since 96 of our fans went to an FA Cup semi-final and didn’t come back because the police screwed up and denied the emergency services access, since hundreds more were injured, hundreds bereaved and thousnds psychologically scarred for life, and since the police covered their tracks, and together with a malicious tabloid press, sought to put the blame on the fans. If you can’t understand the response to that, well, that’s just utterly crass.

And regarding the “merry band of woman beaters, golf swingers, racists” etc. etc. who are so morally blackened in comparison to the monks, church bell ringers and Salvation Army volunteers on the books of all other Premier League clubs, as Rob asks, is it the character of the playing squad that makes the club’s stance on the anniversary of IT’S OWN tragedy so repugnant to you?

The only thing worthy of disgust on this page is all the disingenuous, crass, spiteful bollocks you've posted.

Can Okar said...

James, why would I hate Liverpool? I'm not a United fan (and even they just laugh at you these days), I'm an Arsenal fan. You haven't been a sustained rival to us since the 80s (when, of course, we were largely terrible). I don't really particularly look forward to fixtures with you like I would for United, Chelsea, Spurs and City. Liverpool are a formerly great team that I don't really think about. I can't imagine that is going to change any time soon (as long as King Kenny continues to sabotage you from within!).

Unfortunately, this year something really weird has happened at Liverpool. There was always the victim complex but this year, it has taken on surreal levels of absurdity. Your manager has been routinely dismissive of the media and outright rude on more than five occasions. Your fans booed a black man whose sin was to say he had been called a "negro". Now, your fans have poured vitriol on a man who at most veered into a serious sentence with not enough decorum.

You are not a pleasant club any more. It actually has a chilling effect on football blogging, writing and discussion when one team, more than any other, responds to every perceived slight with the atomic option.

This is a case in point here. Your club has damaged the already vanishing chances of a British team to do well in Europe. The FA weren't out to get you, they have to play the semis at Wembley (stupid decision, yes, but a decision that was taken in 2008). By simply stating "Liverpool don't play on April 15th", you slammed the door shut on a fellow football club.

Now let's say that this is legitimate (every griever has a different process etc). Was it right that a comedian was attacked almost universally by the entire Liverpool community for simply questioning you?

The fact that the knee-jerk reaction comes from your boss and that you are outraged by everything but never ashamed of anything (my reason for pointing out the character flaws of many of your players), it is not surprising when the fans follow suit into the bunker.

In short, someone at Liverpool (presumably the owners) has to put a stop to what Liverpool are becoming. Perhaps if they hadn't been acting like spoilt brats all year, I and many others would be more understanding when they stamp their foot for the umpteenth time this season...

Anonymous said...

Would be interesting if Liverpool were in the Champions League Semi next week against Barca and had to play Sunday, I wonder if they would then want the game moved.

Rob Marrs said...

Can,

''Your manager has been routinely dismissive of the media and outright rude on more than five occasions.''

Is this so different from Arsene ''I didn't see it'' Wenger? Is this so different to Alex Ferguson taking our licence fee money (via MOTD highlights) for years and not appearing? Hell, Ferguson has banned nearly every media outlet over the years including MUTV. I'm not defending Dalglish but I don't think he is any better or any worse than nearly any manager. Even Saint Harry occasionally treats the press with outright contempt.

That doesn't justify Dalglish - of course it doesn't - but it certainly puts it in some context. If he was the only rude, dismissive manager then criticise him. If it is part of the wider managerial trend, try and change the trend.

''Your fans booed a black man whose sin was to say he had been called a "negro".''

And I've spoken out about this at length. The fact that fans were wrong, at one point, doesn't mean they are wrong here.

Remember, also, the ''racist fans'' of Liverpool actually had 0 racist arrests in 2010/11 season. Fewer than most premier league clubs.

''Now, your fans have poured vitriol on a man who at most veered into a serious sentence with not enough decorum.''

*Some* of our fans did, yes. And they've been criticised in the piece. What you've done is hop between saying ''he's a comedian don't take it seriously'' to ''I agree with him and he shouldn't have apologised'' to now ''he was making a serious point without decorum''.

Which is it? Serious or not serious?

''You are not a pleasant club any more. It actually has a chilling effect on football blogging, writing and discussion when one team, more than any other, responds to every perceived slight with the atomic option.''

I don't believe it does. As the Telegraph piece I dissect proves.

But no one here is being vitriolic. The most vitriolic person in this discussion is you followed, closely, admittedly, by James.

As it happens, the three ''worst'' groups of fans I've seen in five years of blogging (to me personally) have been: Arsenal, Celtic and Rangers. In that order. That is by the by but given I've been blogging since 2008 it might be worth considering.

''This is a case in point here. Your club has damaged the already vanishing chances of a British team to do well in Europe.''

No we haven't. We asked if the FA would move the semi-final. They didn't have to but they did. Blame the FA if you want. Liverpool made a request. It didn't need to be accepted.

Rob Marrs said...

''The FA weren't out to get you, they have to play the semis at Wembley (stupid decision, yes, but a decision that was taken in 2008). By simply stating "Liverpool don't play on April 15th", you slammed the door shut on a fellow football club.''

(1) I'm not sure what moral responsibility any club has to any other in helping them win trophies. (2) Even if there is one, we didn't. The FA did. They didn't need to agree to Liverpool's request. We would have forfeited. That's fine.

''Now let's say that this is legitimate (every griever has a different process etc). Was it right that a comedian was attacked almost universally by the entire Liverpool community for simply questioning you?''

No. This is just bollocks. It was attacked by some Liverpool fans. Hardly the ''entire Liverpool community''. If he thinks that my piece was an attack - or you do - you need to re-read it. I'm not sure you could have got a more gentle disagreement.

''The fact that the knee-jerk reaction comes from your boss and that you are outraged by everything but never ashamed of anything (my reason for pointing out the character flaws of many of your players), it is not surprising when the fans follow suit into the bunker.''

It isn't knee-jerk. We've never, ever played on 15th April since 1989. It isn't as if this has just come along.

As I say, our manager's behaviour is not much better than any other. Look at any club and you'll see rogues within it. Liverpool aren't any better or any worse. I'd imagine, as it happens, that as Dalglish was at Hillsborough and that he went to 96 funerals of fans of his club he might be disproportionately affected by it. Do you?

''In short, someone at Liverpool (presumably the owners) has to put a stop to what Liverpool are becoming. Perhaps if they hadn't been acting like spoilt brats all year, I and many others would be more understanding when they stamp their foot for the umpteenth time this season...''

Because you disagree with other matters doesn't - or shouldn't mean - you disagree with this matter.

But here we see another change of opinion. Earlier in the discussion Davies was right. Now you are saying that if it hadn't been for other things you might have sided with Liverpool. Which is it?

Can, you were European debating champion. You didn't do that by swerving every point your opponent made (as you have here - or, at least, my points) or hopping about regarding your position.

RCM

Can Okar said...

I haven't been jumping around in my position. I have tried to accommodate what others have said. For example, I believe that what Alan Davies said was completely on the ball. There is scope to say that it lacked sufficient decorum but I don't happen to believe that. I also believe that when things are said by funny people on funny shows, they have additional leeway regarding decorum. It is perfectly justifiable to hold all of these positions at the same time.

On Liverpool being bad at this kind of thing but also everyone else being bad, I absolutely agree that Arsene Wenger can be very petulant. I have never seen him look as though he is about to nut someone but the way he sometimes refuses to shake hands with opposition managers is a tarnish on our club. I also absolutely agree that some of our fans can be nasty pieces of work, particularly when it comes to anti-semitism.

What I think is important for Liverpool to recognise is that everyone mocks Wenger for his "I did not see it" mentality and Arsenal fans have had to suck it up. When you say something bad about Dalglish, I am telling you, the abuse you get is very, very different. Do you think that it is at all possible that maybe the whole world has a small point when it comes to the "victim complex"?

And so I come back to the point. If Liverpool had asked, simply asked both the FA and Chelsea, we would not be having this conversation. What they did instead was simply say "Liverpool do not play on April 15th". What I am pointing out is that this is unflexible and given the context I've just provided above, seems intransigent and part of a wider theme of victimisation and exceptionalism that borders on narcissism.

The reason I was initially annoyed with this post was that it appeared to be adding to the flames on an issue that is so divorced from football and was causing a lot of very nasty things to be said. I should take back some of those stronger comments because as it turns out, a lot has been discussed as a result of its posting.

I still hope that some of the intelligent Liverpool fans, no doubt a quiet majority, can think about why so many fans of other clubs are a bit sick of Liverpool right now. And how the aggressive, belligerent "fans" who you so want to disown are taking their cues from the club and from their manager.

The day Arsenal fans get that kind of cue from Wenger or Kroenke and we follow it by calling anyone who questions us a "cunt", I expect you to challenge me. I hope it doesn't happen to us and I hope your club cleans up its house.

Can Okar said...

Just so that I can't be deemed to have swerved a very specific question you asked, do I believe Liverpool should be forced to play on April 15th in an ideal world? No, I don't. Dalglish and Gerrard are personally affected by the events of Hillsborough and the wider Liverpool community wants to remember its dead on that day. Under normal circumstances, the fixture list can be compiled with that request in mind.

I don't think that is the same when conditions on the day mean that another club is seriously disadvantaged by a statement that goes "we don't care about anyone else, we just don't do football on that day".

I have mentioned elsewhere that a somewhat perfect storm was created this year. The FA legally has to play the semi-finals at Wembley ever since they sold season-tickets to pay off the gargantuan debt. They do not have flexibility there. The games have to be dictated by ITV because they pay a shedload of money to be able to broadcast the games. And Chelsea are still in Europe and the Cup and normal procedure gives our European representatives as much of an advantage as is possible.

Given all of this, the problem is not the FA or at least not a problem that the FA can solve. It is Liverpool and the way in which they addressed this storm.

steveNKS said...

"I'm an Arsenal fan. You haven't been a sustained rival to us since the 80s (when, of course, we were largely terrible). I don't really particularly look forward to fixtures with you like I would for United, Chelsea, Spurs and City. Liverpool are a formerly great team that I don't really think about."

Misguided Can Okar, what have Arsenal won the last 6 - 7 years, when Liverpool were collecting the Champions League title, FA Cup and the Curling Cup, amongst others?

Grow up, you may be a man but the way you're portraying yourself is purely juvenile. I would be so ashamed to be associated with you if I am an Arsenal fan.

James said...

Can, what it comes down to is this: You stated your “disgust” (and that’s a very strong term) at Rob simply for having the temerity to write a sensitive, measured and balanced blog in which he dares to state that IT IS UP TO LIVERPOOL how they remember THEIR tragedy, a tragedy from which the wounds remain very much open (and the mud stubborn) due to a police cover-up and smear campaign and over two decades of government negligence and inertia.

I find that incredibly ignorant and insensitive.


“There was always the victim complex”

- There we are then. Your contempt ISN’T anything new, by your own admission. Try having 96 of your own fans crushed to death because the police screwed up and denied ambulances access to the injured, and then being falsely blamed for it, and see what it does for Arsenal’s “victim” complex.


“This is a case in point here. Your club has damaged the already vanishing chances of a British team to do well in Europe.”

- Have we shite. The club merely *requested* that it not play on the 15th. I refer you again to the FA, whose intransigence regarding semi-final venues, and, consequently, scheduling, are where the buck stops. Without that both semis could quite easily have been played on the same day at different venues.


“By simply stating "Liverpool don't play on April 15th", you slammed the door shut on a fellow football club.”

- “Slammed the door shut?” All a little bit emotive isn’t it, considering you purport not to be that arsed about Liverpool?


“Was it right that a comedian was attacked almost universally by the entire Liverpool community for simply questioning you?”

- 1.) Drop this comedian point, it’s not in the least bit relevant to what Davies said or how he said it. 2.) Given the antagonism and lack of tact with which he questioned such a sombre matter, it’s *entirely* understandable that he attracted criticism.


“The fact that the knee-jerk reaction comes from your boss”

- Let me echo Rob’s point that the “boss” guilty of the “knee-jerk” reaction that has so outraged you was not only present at Hillsborough (and fearing for some time that his own son could have been in the part of the ground where the crush occurred), but attended the funeral of every single victim. Now consider the wisdom of attacking the man for a “knee-jerk” reaction, and of accusing the club of “stamping their foot” or “acting like spoilt brats”.

And incidentally, with regard to taking the high horse over racism: as an Arsenal fan, you might want to put the lock, stock and barrel finger pointing at Liverpool on the back burner until your fellow supporters have grown out of the anti-semitic abuse directed at Tottenham through the years, the hissing in allusion to the gas chambers of the holocaust and suchlike. Outraged by everything and ashamed of nothing?

Finally, I would echo just about every other point Rob has made that I haven’t. Dalglish, whatever you think, really is no worse than Wenger has often been, and has nothing on Ferguson who bans journalists from Carrington left right and centre and is the only manager in the Premier League to ignore the mandatory post-match press conferences as a matter of habit. So cool your indignation towards the man.

Kevin Ward said...

There is a long and interesting debate here which the imminent start of the working day precludes me from reading all of so I'll make just a brief comment.

Rob, the Telegraph should be the focus of your ire not Alan Davies who has been forced to apologise by the forces of outrage and mock horror and has done so.

His comments were to some degree offensive yes - he is a comedian - but not deeply offensive by any stretch of the imagination.

I think it would be much healthier for Liverpool if they could play on the 15th, I know the Scouser victim complex is a gross exaggeration but this sort of thing does tend to add fuel to it. Closure can be the most beautiful thing in the world sometimes.

All of this being said I have no love for Chelsea and even though it would be the right footballing decision to give them more time before the CL semi I am happy to see them suffer every disadvantage going.

Can Okar said...

I'm going to take a slightly different tack here just to illustrate what I am saying. The debates we have about our football clubs and the language that we tend to resort to when we defend them tend to represent the culture and the tribe from which we come. That is to say, I cannot disown Arsenal fans who hiss in the ground or the disgusting anti-semitic chants that happen in some North London pubs. They are still Arsenal fans. The most I can do is condemn them and support anti-racism initiatives that come from my club.

Similarly, I am angry with Wenger for his attitude to other managers and the short shrift he sometimes gives referees. There are times I agree with the content of what he says but Rob will know I am an open critic of his behaviour.

I have already written both of these things in this discussion - what my club does or does not do is no defence for what your club does. I have never believed "well, you guys do x" to be a defence.

There is one error into which I fell in this discussion and that is in writing "On this occasion, it has disgusted me that such a fine mind has written such an oddly stupid article." I have known Rob for over 10 years and I'm sure he can handle that strength of wording from me. It was still way too aggressive but it really is to do with my respect for him as a person and a writer that I hold him to very high standards. I hope to hold myself to those standards as well so I can only apologise for that ONE SENTENCE.

In response, though, I have been called "ignorant", "blinkered", "laughable", a "semi-literate child", "disingenuous", "spiteful", "crass", "juvenile" and "embarrassing to my club". At no point in any of this discussion have I engaged in ad hominem (even the sentence that I apologise for unreservedly was very positively ad hominem and attacked the article itself).

Now much of what I write is held as a view by many people in the country that are not Liverpool fans. You clearly have your views that are different - it is obvious that our views are not going to overlap very much at this point. That is perhaps the result of being in a tribe.

I just worry that your tribe engages in this kind of personal attack, that bites at the very being of the opponent, rather than at the words or thoughts they have expressed. "Call Suarez a racist? You're a United dickhead". "You saying we have to play on 15th April? You're a cunt". "You ask me about a handshake? You're out of order". "You saying my club has a victim complex? You don't even deserve a response".

It should be noted that Rob and I don't do this. When he tells my I'm wrong, he points out that I'm letting myselt down as a debater and that's the kind of banter that is completely legitimate. I wonder why you guys take a different approach? And why almost all Liverpool fans have been like this this year? Disagree with me, by all means. But as you do it, maybe you're proving me right on some things (not all).

The loss of 96 friends, colleagues, fellow members of a tribe, even under the unjust circumstances in which they were lost, does not and can not justify the kind of language and attitude that emanates from Liverpool on an almost daily basis, particularly since Dalglish returned.

X102 said...

Sorry, but of all the posts I've fallen over, both here, there and everywhere, I've the need to respond to this one.

1) Alan Davies is correct. Chelsea have got to play a semi final against the best team in the world. The FA should organise around that very contemporary reality.

Alan Davies' emphasis was placed firmly upon Liverpool being at fault - I think we can all agree that "this gets on my tits" is proof-positive of this. If he intended for his rant to be to the FA, then he would have instigated his mock-anger at the FA to begin with.

Whether or not they're playing the best team in the world (for arguments sake; as an LFC fan, I'll agree, though Barcelona may have something to say about that).

But this line of discussion about the timing of the matches bears no relationship whatsoever to the delivery of the comments he made, and his express feelings of what he felt about Hillsborough and the reasons behind Liverpool not wanting to play. Don't confused the message with the means of delivery.

2) Are Liverpool saying that no semi final involving Liverpool should ever be held on April 15?

Liverpool are saying that they will not play on the 15th for any reason until such time as they feel fit. Unti that time arrives, they wish to pay respect to those that lost their lives.

I'm sorry, but claiming that just because you do or don't do something (such as visiting the graves of your relatives) is; at best, and deductive fallacy.

3) Alan has a point that Liverpool don't have the same sensitivities about the other fans that died in teh awful 80s. Where is the "Justice for Heysel" campaign?

Ahh, now we're on to the ad hominem attacks. Several reasons for this being inapplicable are mentioned above - but I'd add that this has nothing to do with what Alan Davies was attempting to get across - if it were, then at which point did Alan qualify this as his reasoning when he attempted to apoloise for his error?

4) This guy is a comedian by profession. Getting het up about a comdian's writings seem weird.

Yeah, that excuse works brilliantly - maybe you'd like to see the Black & White Mistrels back on TV? Alf Garnet? Maybe we should have a comedy about how a bunch of disabled people and how useless they are (do NOT for one moment think that I believe any of these should happen) - but you get my point. Sometimes you just don't do it - no matter how much comedy you believe can be gained from following such a topic. You will also notice from the recording that up until Alan started to make his comments on Hillsborough, the others in the studio were laughing almost on demand - even I'd admit he was quite funny, but then you could sense from the increasing calm that something wasn't right. His guests were no longer ROTF, and were a little taken aback by what he'd said.

The "because he's a comedian" arguement? Honestly... I expect better.

5) Liverpool is a club that supported Suarez. The fans of a club that might struggle to finish top half are merely seeking another way to find satisfaction.

Now were in full ad hominem mode - and this is a recent classic. There's an old joke about an American and a Russian arguing over the joys of their respective countries. Eventually, the American turns to the Russian and says "so how many months would the average Russian have to save in order to afford a car" - to which the Russian responds "A u vas negrov linchuyut" - this basically translates to: "but at your place Negroes are being lynched".

I'm sorry, but all of the points you have made are fallacies - none of which have anything to do with the initial point by which the LFC fans were enraged by, that Alan delivered a potentially positive point in a crass and unfeeling manner.

Can Okar said...

And steveNKS, I'm sorry if I don't view Liverpool in the correct way or with the necessary deference. I was really delighted when they won the Champions' League. I hope one day we do too.

But let us be honest. As an Arsenal fan, we were rivals with Liverpool between 1987 and 1991 (and of course in the 1950s and parts of the early 1970s). At other times, we have been fighting United, more recently Chelsea, even more recently Man City and always Tottenham. I'm not saying they're a bad team - the CL was a massive win and the cups are nice. I'm saying they are a formerly great team. From Arsenal's perspective, we have no reason to hate Liverpool and no reason right now to see them as a rival. In our list of rivals, they are fifth. Is that too harsh a thing to say and one which makes me juvenile and an embarrasment to my club?

steveNKS said...

There you have it. Re-read what you have written from the very beginning, from a third person's and objective perspective, and see if you do not feel a sense of shame, just a little. If you don't then you are a dishonourable person you're now trying to project yourself to be. Enough said.

Can Okar said...

It is not ad hominem to point out that more than one disaster has taken place in the history of football. Heysel might not be the best example (and it helps everyone involved that 29th May is a date that UEFA can easily avoid) but the point is about Liverpool acting in a way that is different to other fans.

It is also not ad hominem to say Liverpool stuck up for Suarez but that hundreds of your fans called Alan Davies a "cunt" and thousands of them booed the victim of Suarez's words at Anfield. I have gone on record as saying that Suarez may have been misunderstood but Evra did not deserve vitriol.

Finally, it is not ad hominem to say Liverpool might be acting in this way right now because they are no longer at the top table of football.

It is, on the other hand, ad hominem to attack a person with adjectives about their personality. That is the meaning of ad hominem.

And just so we're clear, comedy cannot mask intention, so comedy doesn't act as a defence if you are being flagrantly racist or abusive of disabled people. But comedy can certainly be used a defence is all you are attacking is the tone of what someone says. The tone of comedy, it's timing, it's flippancy are parts of the genre.

Can Okar said...

steveNKS, that is such a cryptic response. What have I said that attacks you or allows you to state the conditions under which I am honourable or not? At what point, throughout all of this, have I directed a single word at you or anyone else about their personality, their honour, their maturity? I wrote harshly about Rob's article, and I apologise for that but that is very different. It's also very indicative of what it often feels like when you write words that do not fit with the Liverpool view of the world.

Everything I have written has been aimed at a club, its actions and its perception. When I say I view Liverpool as our fifth greatest rival right now, how is that a matter of honour. It is only an honest response to a claim by James that I am motivated by hatred for Liverpool. I'll also add you could say it is better to be a former-great club rather than Arsenal, who have never been truly great (no European Cups, not as many league titles, no period of absolute dominance apart from in the 1930s).

Or give me examples of statements that contradict what I'm saying now and what I've said over the course of this thread. Give me examples of things which should should shame me and which if I do not agree with me, I will be considered dishonourable. Do it. I'm waiting.

steveNKS said...

Can Okar, you are as deluded as you're junvenile. One minute you're this and the next you're that. Let's stick to your delusion; your version of recent times when you mentioned Chelsea, that would be the last 6 - 7 years? I am sure you know better than me, how many times did Arsenal finish above Liverpool in the league table during this period beside the last two seasons?

Have you ever really been fighting Chelsea, and lately Man City? Not even close. The fact that you even mentioned Tottenham just go to show that you're not even living in the year of the "Invincibles". Yours is a fantasy world.

Talking about tribe. Have your ever heard about fans having a "second" club?

Glad that you were delighted Liverpool won their 5th European titles.

"I hope one day we do too".

How about x5?

steveNKS said...

I am referring the way you switched and changed to justify your argument.

Anonymous said...

Great discussion. I agree with everyone who has agreed with Can Okar and Robb Marrs.

Bill

X102 said...

"It is not ad hominem to point out that more than one disaster has taken place in the history of football. Heysel might not be the best example (and it helps everyone involved that 29th May is a date that UEFA can easily avoid) but the point is about Liverpool acting in a way that is different to other fans."

You state that we don't have the "same sensitivities" with regard to Heysel. Throughout your repeated use of Heysel, you have used the following logic: "A makes claim P. A has also made past claims which are inconsistent with P. Therefore, P is false."

Head to Google and look up "Tu Quoque".

"It is also not ad hominem to say Liverpool stuck up for Suarez but that hundreds of your fans called Alan Davies a "cunt" and thousands of them booed the victim of Suarez's words at Anfield. I have gone on record as saying that Suarez may have been misunderstood but Evra did not deserve vitriol."

And yet at no point throughout your posts do you highlight this fact - again, I reiterate my original point, and add that such logical fallacies as this are only to serve the need for obfuscation and to highlight that just because Liverpool were wrong in how they handled the Suarez case (which I believe they were), means that we are wrong to support Alan Davies and his methods of delivery.

"Finally, it is not ad hominem to say Liverpool might be acting in this way right now because they are no longer at the top table of football."

With all due respect, this is purely speculatory. Just because something may exist, does not mean that it must exist. This has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with anything related to what Mr Davies said in his original comments. Then again, if I take the time to go through all your posts and take the last paragraph of each, then I'm likely to find that alot of these speculatory comments - whose intentions appear to be nothing more than fuel for the fire.

"It is, on the other hand, ad hominem to attack a person with adjectives about their personality. That is the meaning of ad hominem."

Correct.

"And just so we're clear, comedy cannot mask intention, so comedy doesn't act as a defence if you are being flagrantly racist or abusive of disabled people. But comedy can certainly be used a defence is all you are attacking is the tone of what someone says. The tone of comedy, it's timing, it's flippancy are parts of the genre."

So answer me this then? Why did Alan Davies apologise for being insensitive?

Could it be because... he was?

I'd also highlight the fact that his apology went nowhere toward resolveing the problem - in that he added a caveat to his apology. Something you just don't do.

It's like telling your girlfriend "you have a fat arse". Soon after, you say "I'm sorry I said you have a fat arse, I was only joking, but..."

And it's that the moment you finish saying the word "but" that you feel a slap coming. You just don't say "but" when you aplogise - end of. It's like saying "No offence, I think you're a really nice guy, but..".

Can Okar said...

steveNKS, you're still doing it. Why do you feel the need to pepper your beliefs with cusses and put-downs? And where have I ever changed my view, except to apologise for saying I was disgusted with Rob's article when really I was disgusted by the whole affair?

Since Wenger arrived, we've been above you in the league in 13 out of 16 seasons. In many of those seasons, particularly very recently, it hasn't really been close. I am not saying this to put down your club. I was saying it to show how there is no reason for my to have an irrational hatred of Liverpool.

Even if you think I should view Liverpool as a rival, you can't change how I feel about them. A few years back (I think 2008/09), you briefly became a top-tier rival again. Right now, you're fifth in my personal list of teams that I see as a challenge. You'll note I still fear Liverpool or look forward to games with them more than Newcastle or Everton, even if they are temporarily above you.

However, right now, the other clubs I've mentioned are the big boys, both in terms of set-up, performance and long-term prospects. When this changes, I will reassess.

By all means, don't view my team as a rival. We don't win anything these days and perhaps Liverpool are now a cup team. I won't demand that you fear or loathe my team. Don't ask me to do it for you.

steveNKS said...

5) Liverpool is a club that supported Suarez. The fans of a club that might struggle to finish top half are merely seeking another way to find satisfaction.

Another way to find satisfaction? Of choosing not to play on the 15th? Which Liverpool never did since the Hillsborough.

Isn't this just one example of a juvenile statement to make? Other commentators have pointed out others.

And objectively if you don't feel shameful about it, just a bit, like an honourable guy would, then you are not an honourable guy. That's what I meant.

Can Okar said...

steveNKS, the satisfaction I was talking about is the satisfaction of being righteously angry and swearing at a man in unacceptable ways because he said something with which you disagree. It is the satisfaction of the cornered, the victim that I believe has fuelled Liverpool this year. Obviously, there is no way to read that comment which would suggest that not playing on the 15th would give satisfaction.

As to why Alan Davies apologised: I believe he might have done it (with caveat) because he was receiving so much hate that he was a little bit scared. I know Rob has noted that the death threats weren't "real" death threats but the sum result of receiving well over 1,000 comments which call you a "cunt" or "dead man" might be a bit of fear.

As for tu quoque: I have never said that A says P and things that are contradictory to P and that therefore P is wrong. I have said that Liverpool have taken a non-flexible position that disadvantaged another team and that this was unfair. Others have said that they merely requested a change but I think Dalglish was quite clear that "Liverpool don't play on the 15th April".

It is important to note that there now a few different arguments going on:

1) Should Liverpool be allowed to boycott a day each year? We disagree about this but we've given reasons.

2) Should people be able to question whether Liverpool can refuse to play on a given day in the year? There's more agreement on this one (many would say yes) but disagreement about how one can question it. Fine.

3) Are Liverpool a club that is susceptible to outrage in a way that is different to other clubs? We all accepted that all clubs have their problem fans but we've disagreed over whether Liverpool are worse. I've raised t-shirts for Suarez, booing of Evra, unacceptable harrying of Davies, Dalglish's behaviour throughout the year as part of a theme which is different. Others have not accepted this. Again, fine.

4) We've then had a discussion about tone in football chats. No-one has actually differed from me because everyone's been silent. So I ask, go to twitter. Look through this thread. Look at the original thread on Rhubarb Grumble. Try to tell me that the way in which we go about trying to make our point is not different.

James said...

Interesting, Can, that it took you until your sixth reply to 1.) acknowledge how ridiculous you were to express “disgust” at such a balanced and well-reasoned post from Rob (which you seemingly failed to read properly), and 2.) realise how offend you were by the ad hominem “attacks”

Why?


Anyway, let’s go through these “attacks”.

I *likened* you to a semi-literate child rather than calling you one, and I did so in response to a remark about Dalglish looking like “a sour-mouthed guy in every interview” which both poorly articulated and, more importantly, like a lot of other things you’ve had to say, not in the least bit relevant to the debate or the issue of whether or not Liverpool play on the 15th of April. And yes, reading it, it did make me think of a fairly dim-witted 13 year-old wind-up merchant on a message board. So I stand by it. This kind of thing (as well as other things I’ll get to) was also why I described your posts and your attitude as “juvenile”.

I termed you “blinkered” in relation to your clear dislike for Liverpool, which was demonstrated by the way you dragged the Suarez affair – another issue not remotely relevant to the debate about Liverpool playing the 15th of April – into your argument in your first post. You also demonstrated this with your spiteful, insulting and frankly, downright preposterous allegation of Liverpool fans seeking “satisfaction” from the issue of not playing on the anniversary of the worst tragedy in English football history, which involved their club, and directly affected both staff of the club and many supporters, in lieu of a respectable showing in the league. So I stand by that.

I was absolutely correct to call you “ignorant” in relation to your comments regarding Heysel, because you clearly were ignorant and poorly informed on the subject, yet choose to use it in your argument anyway. So I also stand by this wholeheartedly.

I used the word “laughably” in response to you trying to present your opinion as one not tainted by your dislike for Liverpool, a dislike which, just as laughably, you deny, despite dragging up Dalglish’s demeanour and the Suarez affair when they have nothing whatsoever to do with the issue at hand, and make distasteful remarks about a “victim complex”. So again, I stand by that. I used the word “disingenuous” for the same reason, and also stand by that.

The word “spiteful” was used in relation to your *posts*, not you. And for reasons that should be fairly obvious from some of the things I’ve referred to already, I also think that was correct. Likewise the word “crass”.

Finally, nowhere have I called you an “embarrassment to your club.” So if you’re going to accuse me of things, at least the time and the trouble to stick to the truth. I did, however, point out that you’d spare yourself a lot of embarrassment by refraining from baseless and woefully ill-informed comparisons between the campaign for justice for the 96 and the feigned outrage, outright ignorance and pathetic attempts at points scoring and antagonism of chants/slogans like “justice for Heysel.” And again, I stand by that completely.

Can Okar said...

James, it is almost impossible to engage with you on any meaningful level. You continue to believe that using belittling words adds something to your argument, without ever engaging on substance. You won't read this with any open-mindedness perhaps but I'll try one last time.

1) I actually commented much earlier that I had been too aggressive but merely pointed out when going through the tone and demeanour of everything that is written here (entirely in order to discuss Liverpool fans and the ways in which discourse plays out) the exact phrase where I believe I erred. Going on, I'm never offended by words but I think it is a sign of a person's approach to others in a discussion if they revert to language that is belittling, essentialising and/or trivialising.

2) Not everything that is written in this world is written about you. Case in point, "embarrassment to the club" came from another commenter.

3) Dalglish has been a problematic manager for you in a number of ways but let's actually go back to why I raised it. It was in direct reference to what Alan Davies said and I merely asked whether there was factual inaccuracy? Did you see his interview after the Blackburn game, a game that you won? I don't care if SAF or Wenger are also bad, I was asking a question about him.

4) The behaviour of Suarez and Dalglish is entirely relevant to this discussion. The discussion was never just about 15th April, it was about the wider spirit that emanates from Anfield, particularly over the last year. In the space of four months, Liverpool have been involved in crisis after crisis after crisis and their fans have lashed out uncontrollably at anyone in their way. This is part of the context in which Alan Davies spoke and very much a part of what I was saying in direct response to Rob and why I believe that the original post was unhelpful.

5) I don't think you're in any position to judge the ignorance or otherwise of a person you have never met. We could have a discussion about John Smith's words, we could talk about whether Juventus ever believed there was justice for their 39 (14 guys serving about a year in jail doesn't sound like it) or how many of their fans forgave you in 2005. We can talk about all of these things. I don't believe it is off-limits to talk about Heysel, nor are comparisons with the grief of other clubs. Regardless, I'm not sure that name-calling because someone raises something that you don't like raised is particularly useful.

Ultimately, James, I'm ambivalent about whether you're happy that your tone is perfect and that your approach to any criticism of your club is perfectly reasonable. I don't agree with you on either count but I have to realise when someone is clearly entrenched in their views and their behaviour.

I only hope that no-one gets hurt as Liverpool continue down this awful spiral where dissenters from within are shut up online and where outsiders are seen as the enemy. It is terribly sad to watch a club with so many good supporters behave like this. You'll never believe me but trust me, this effortlessly tribal inability to accept any dissent or push-back is dangerous. It's what leads to people getting their head kicked in on a day out at the football.

If you want to see the ugliness, go to RAWK. Go to twitter and search #jft96 cunt or Alan Davies cunt. You will be disgusted as you read page after page after page of abuse, vitriol and hatred. And then maybe question how this happened and how it is that you become a part of that culture.

Red Symms said...

"We can only do this by continuing the fight for justice for those who died"

Damn right. It's about time someone prosecuted all those hundreds of police who pushed into a crowd of screaming people and kept pushing and pushing even as the screams got louder, because they'd turned up late because they couldn't drag their arse out of the pub in time.

James said...

(1/2)

Can,

1.) I’ve explained precisely why I stand by every “belittling” word I’ve used. Would you care to go through them, one by one, and tell me precisely why I shouldn’t?

2.) No one on this page has called you and “embarrassment to your club.” You’ve made that up. I searched the page for that term in my previous reply and it doesn’t appear other than where erroneously quoted by you. Search for yourself.

3.) Had Alan Davies got any business relating Dalglish’s demeanour to the issue of whether or not Liverpool play on the 15th? Why (and I’m referring to you again now) ask a question relating to his demeanour with the interview after the Blackburn game (and yes, I did see it) in mind? How is it relevant to the issue here? Do you not see how questions like that make your perspective on the actual issue look like it’s one of bitterness? How many times do you need to be reminded that Liverpool’s position on playing the 15th of April has been the same for 23 years, and has nothing to do with Dalglish being the manager or how he conducts himself with the media?

4.) No it isn’t. And no, neither the blog nor the subsequent discussion were about *anything* other than the 15th of April. You just want to claim that they were because you’ve got a self-righteous hard on about other things. Do not for one moment equate the Suarez issue or Dalglish being a prickly old swine with the largely justified offence at Alan Davies’ inflammatory and distasteful comments on an issue which is far more sensitive.

James said...

5.) Okay Can, I’ll quote your initial comments on Heysel:

“Where is the "Justice for Heysel" campaign?”

I explained that why the only “justice for Heysel” campaign that exists is one ‘led’ (predominantly) by United and Everton fans feigning outrage over a disaster they know little about and looking to take the moral high ground and mock and attack the campaign for justice for the 96 in a very offensive way. In short, because justice, at least in the legal sense, WAS done in the wake of Heysel.

If you refuse to accept that querying “where is the “Justice for Heysel campaign?” was ignorant and ill-advised in light of that, then I’m at a loss. I really am. If you can’t recognise that it was an ignorant and stupid thing to say, well, it’s you who is ignorant and stupid rather than merely the comment itself. Ooh, there’s I go again, an ad homenm attack.

Heysel most certainly *is* irrelevant if you wish to draw likenesses with Hillsborough in terms of those responsible for the loss of life being dealt with appropriately, so actually, you couldn’t have put me in a better position to judge your ignorance if you’d tried. Comparing Heysel, where as many of those responsible whose guilt it was possible to prove in court were convicted of involuntary manslaughter and sent to jail, and Hillsborough, where, despite a report finding that the disaster was caused and worsened by a series of police errors, and followed by attempts at a cover-up and blame shift, nobody responsible was held to account, is offensive.

And frankly, I wouldn’t expect Juventus fans to “forgive” Liverpool fans for Heysel, even if the estimated 100 or so actually involved in the violence that day represented about 0.4% of the estimated 25,000 or so Liverpool fans present that day.

Additionally, I wouldn’t dispute that John Smith and the club’s response in the immediate aftermath of Heysel left an enormous amount to be desired. It is however quite pathetic that you think that or the feelings of Juventus fans somehow excuse your nonsensical and inflammatory initial barb about “justice for Heysel.”

On the issue of “name-calling”, again, I explained in great detail why I think everything I said about you and your comments was entirely valid. Maybe you’d like to tell me, one-by-one, why I’m wrong to think so.

You talk about an inability to accept “dissent”, but the comments of the likes of Davies, in their tone, go beyond that and stray into antagonism, antagonism which is in especially poor taste given the subject.

Finally, it’s a little rich that you question my entitlement to judge your ignorance when you end your post by lumping me in with a predictable minority who have issued threats of violence and murder, a minority who have been widely and vocally condemned by an awful lot of Liverpool fans. You might want to reflect on that and think about taking it back, just as you did your comments about “disgust” towards Rob’s initial post.

Can Okar said...

I have seen the light with your last post. This discussion is essentially pointless - it is like discussing God with someone who is religious or politics with someone who has taken an oath to a particular ideology.

It is a shame when any community becomes a bubble. It is also a shame when any person views an apology or self-analysis as something to avoid personally and see as weakness in others. It is a strict authority model and is suggestive of serious flaws in understanding, socialising outside of the tribe and finding cooperative solutions.

It is the same reason that the way in which you argue, James, is not identical to but is borne from the same hermeneutic cirle that leads thousands upon thousands of people to call a man a "cunt" or "dead man" for no other reason than he was, in your words, at worst insensitve. The immediacy of the desire to discredit, undermine and cause to retreat of any perceived threat is a shared theme. The language may differ but the tactics are identical.

The startling difference in reaction to Heysel and Hillsborough is one example of this hermeneutic circle (anger and threats to Richard Keys for questioning Liverpool's motivations, even if he was wrong, anger and threats to Alan Davies). The expectation that everyone must apologise when Liverpool perceive themselves to be slighted but Liverpool can never apologise is another sign of the weakness at the heart of the club. Even where an apology comes, it is often very late and highly caveated. I believe, for example, that Evra has still received no apology for being booed and I certainly know he is still a hate figure for many.

And Dalglish is right now the epitome of this introspective satisfaction borne from hating others. Contrary to everything you've said, he is completely relevant to this discussion. It was him who said "we don't play on the 15th", which takes away from the narrative of request and not force. He said it in the context of being an aggressive and unflexible man who earlier in the season had seen nothing wrong in booing a black man for saying he'd been called a "negro". He is the face of a club that is piling up boycotts, hatreds, grudges and judgements of others without ever questioning that the problem might occasionally be them.

All of these things are interconnected. However, even if you were to see this, I now recognise that it is impossible for you to accept that in public or to step back from a single point you ever make. It is impossible because your club culture appears to view apology as failure and iron-clad belief in one's own virtues, otherwise known as narcissism, as a key tenet.

Fanaticism or fundamentalism of any kind is something that I fear. Perhaps this is why I am just a little bit fearful of what Liverpool fans are becoming en masse and what they might one day do, either en masse or as individuals defending the cause.

steveNKS said...

"This discussion is essentially pointless - it is like discussing God with someone who is religious or politics with someone who has taken an oath to a particular ideology."

You should apply this statement to yourself, Can? Or Can you not?

Can Okar said...

I am perfectly willing to accept that my tone has been off on occasion or that my club has a lot of problems that I can't simply disown but have to take responsibility for if I am to be part of that tribe.

I realise that a lot of football clubs are introspective and have their own, unique hermeneutic circles. Arsenal fans can be right bastards sometimes and their hatred and/or irrationality can be infuriating. When this is pointed out, however, you will find many Arsenal fans who are able to say, "That is wrong and we need to change it".

Over the last few months, however, it is Liverpool that has become downright scary to anyone who writes about or thinks about football. The sheer scale of the backlashes is fear-inducing and chilling, whether in this case, in the case of Evra, in the case of any Liverpool blogger who questions Dalglish or any other part of the Liverpool mythology (whether it is disowning Liverpool fans who buy the Sun or wondering whether Dalglish is becoming a liability).

I am not a religious fan. I have my prejudices, naturally, but I hope I can enter a discussion about football without resorting to name-calling or narcissistic love for myself and my club.

So no, I don't think it necessarily applies, not in the same way that it appears to when Liverpool fans (again, over the last year in particular) get their backs up about something and go on the attack.

Can Okar said...

Having said that, if there is one cult-like issue that existed at Arsenal it was the cult of Wenger. Those that questioned him over the last few years could be subject to unacceptable levels of abuse. I think now that we are past it but no set of fans should be immune to the occasional bout of reflection about their beliefs and the ways in which they deal with dissent, from within or from outside.

James said...

(1/3)

“This discussion is essentially pointless - it is like discussing God with someone who is religious or politics with someone who has taken an oath to a particular ideology.”

- No, Can, it isn’t. What this goes back to is you wading in with an idiotic remark about being “disgusted” at Rob’s view. Think about that again. You basically said you were “disgusted” at the idea that Liverpool were entitled to treat the anniversary of their own tragedy as it suits them. You’ve since acknowledged how wrong that was.

And actually Can, I’ve no problem whasoever with acknowledging when I’m wrong or with self-analysis. Quite the opposite. It’s simply that in this case, I think you’ve been talking rubbish.

And again, you’re grouping me with wasters who threaten people’s lives beyond the veil of anonymity. I find that both offensive and ridiculous.

For the record, I agree with Rob that Davies and anyone else has every entitlement to wonder why or question why Liverpool don’t wish to play on the 15th of April, not least because, on the face of it, there are several other clubs who play on the anniversary of tragedies in their history and because there’s an argument not totally without merit to suggest that going ahead with a fixture that happened to fall on the anniversary itself might actually do a bit to raise awareness and increase understanding of a tragedy in relation to which the pursuit of answers, honesty and accountability goes on, and surrounding which there is a still a great deal of ignorance (some of it wilful).

However, as a point of principle, I come down on the side of the view that it’s never really anyone else’s place to tell others, be they individuals, groups or institutions, how to mourn or remember a tragedy. And from a practical and historical point of view, Hillsborough also differs from some other disasters in the sense that it’s more recent (and larger in scale not just in terms of loss of life but survivors affected), and there are many who were affected by it, either through bereavement or surviving, who still attend games or who are still professionally involved with the club, many of whom bear psychological scars.

Also, as Rob also points out, there is – to the disgrace of the various authorities - a lack of closure regarding Hillsborough given the ongoing political and legal campaigns for the disclosure of information and review of inquests and coroner’s reports and so on, all entirely legitimately. There is still a very acute sense of injustice, and it’s yet to be put to bed to any degree (not that it ever can be truly). If eventually it is, and with the passage of time, things may change and it may be easier for those close to the issue to begin to move on. Until then, I don’t think it’s reasonable to be telling people how they should mark the anniversary.

So question why, fine. But if you are going to question it, for God’s sake, do it respectfully, and with tact. Davies singularly failed to do that, and by throwing around terms such as “disgusted” and attacking Liverpool as though they have single-handedly ruined Chelsea’s hopes of reaching the Champions League final (like it’s their problem), so did you to be quite honest.

James said...

(2/3)

As for not apologising, for all the club’s failings (which I’ve acknowledged) in response to Heysel at the time, you might want to remind yourself of what took place before the Champions League meeting between Liverpool and Juventus in 2005. You might also want to read Kevin Sampson’s chapter about Heysel in a book called ‘Here We Go Gathering Cups in May’ to get some understanding of the great efforts Liverpool supporters went to offer gestures of friendship and to build bridges with Juventus fans, even if the immediate response of the club itself left a lot to be desired.

Regarding the lack of apology to Evra, it’s worth considering that Evra had 1.) admitted to abusing Suarez himself *before* allegedly being racially abused by Suarez, 2.) has quite the track record for telling tales, having been branded a “liar” by his own football federation and found to have given “unreliable” and “exaggerated” evidence to an FA inquiry into another incident of alleged racial abuse in 2008 at Stamford Bridge, 3.) changed his own claims about the term he alleged Suarez used towards him and the amount of times he alleges it was used several times, only after he’d rushed to tell French television after the match that he’d been abused “more than ten times” and 4.) had been antagonising the Anfield crowd during the fixture in which he alleged Suarez racially abused him. In short, he was far from innocent or an admirable character himself.

None of which excuses Suarez if he was guilty, nor Liverpool’s poor handling of the issue and failure to clearly restate its reasons for supporting Suarez beyond an overly-aggressive initial statement, namely his insistence that he was innocent, the very limited and fairly weak evidence against him (not one other player in a crowded penalty area from either side was able to corroborate Evra’s accusations) rather than (presumably) a blasé attitude towards the severity of the alleged offence. It should be noted, however, that this was not helped by a lazy media preferring to generate controversy and sensation rather than read between the lines of the club’s support for its player. Before my time, but I suspect I’m right to assume that no one accused those who protested the innocence of the Bridgewater Four of condoning murder.

James said...

(3/3)

“It was him who said "we don't play on the 15th", which takes away from the narrative of request and not force.”

- My understanding has always been that Liverpool would simply forfeit any fixture scheduled for the 15th of April which could not be moved, and that, officially, it was actually a request, which the FA accepted.


“He said it in the context of being an aggressive and unflexible man who earlier in the season had seen nothing wrong in booing a black man for saying he'd been called a "negro".”

- I don’t see how this “context” you speak of is relevant, or how Dalglish, crabby as he often is (it’s an act which has worn thin with me for a while), is any more unreasonable than the likes of Ferguson can at times be, or indeed Wenger at times. I do however agree that Dalglish was wrong to laud both sets of supporters for their conduct during the Liverpool vs. United matches subsequent to the Suarez – Evra case, not least because the United contingent, as they always do, spent most of the game making antagonistic and distasteful reference to Heysel and Hillsborough, and because the Liverpool supporters were wrong to call Evra a “lying bastard”, whatever the suspicions of some. On this issue, I think Ferguson’s stance of acknowledging and condemning the mocking of tragedy and so on has been much more admirable and I respect him a lot for it (though I’d point out that while Liverpool fans have been guilty of chanting about Munich at Old Trafford, it appears to be a much more prominent and prevalent issue among the United contingent, not only at Anfield and Old Trafford, but when not even playing Liverpool).

“He is the face of a club that is piling up boycotts, hatreds, grudges and judgements of others without ever questioning that the problem might occasionally be them.”

- You say this, but given the lies, the wilful ignorance and malice that persist in relation to Hillsborough and the widespread and largely unwarranted antipathy towards and stereotypical views of Scousers prevalent throughout the country (and I’m actually from the Midlands myself), I’d wager that no club’s support is the target of so much antagonism or hatred, most of it far more serious and offensive than mere ‘banter’ relating to events on the pitch. So maybe that “victim” complex is somewhat justified.

And no Can, unlike you, I won’t step back from the points I’ve made. You acknowledging that you were wrong doesn’t indicate a weakness on my part in not making a similar concession. Unlike you, I believe I got it right in the first place.

As for these ideas of group-think, besides the obvious (the death threats from a minority etc.), I could give you a list of things I find unpleasant and distasteful among some of my fellow Liverpool supporters, on top of my criticisms of Dalglish’s conduct. Would that make you happier?

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