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A City United?

The 50th anniversary of the Munich Air Disaster falls this Wednesday, with the tragedy being remembered on Sunday when United take on City at Old Trafford. There has been much talk concerning whether the blues will be able to respect the occasion. As has been noted by several fans, Munich was a Manchester disaster, with it taking place before the fierce rivalry and hatred was felt between the two clubs. Now, with City fans singing insulting songs about Munich every time the teams meet, there has been much concern over whether their fans will spoil the day.

David Gill, however, believes that the City fans will be able to show respect, thanks to the work United have done behind the scenes to educate City on the occasion. “In football there is always trepidation and it’s a very tribal game,” said Gill. “That’s why we’ve worked on the communication and the explanations so we can honour it appropriately and respect it. If you look back and see that 23 people lost their lives, of which eight were footballers in their early 20s by and large. It’s a true tragedy for football so if you’re a football fan, as the fans coming through the gate will be, you should reflect on that and make sure that you behave appropriately. We’ve been working closely with City and discussed it with them. Frank Swift was one of their greatest goalkeepers and we’ve talked to them about the plans for the day. There are 3,000 City fans going through the gate on the day and we’re involving some of their former players on the day. We’re working to ensure they remember that it wasn’t just Manchester United, it was the city of Manchester that was affected and it was the world of football that was affected. We hope and believe that the minute’s silence will be observed appropriately.”

About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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  1. craig mc says:

    Most City fans coming on the day will respect the occassion, I truly believe. They may bring their Frank Swift banners etc, which will be fitting. The whole world will be watching, and all of us should behave, NOT JUST CITY FANS. The relatives and friends of those who died in Munich will be present, and we should all remember that. The rivalry can commence again when the whistle goes to start the derby game.

  2. spiritof1983 says:

    Tough one to answer with certainly of full cooperation. The clubs have done what they can, media certainly has not missed the opportunity to bring it up repeatedly, not necessary a positive thing. I retain hope that if can work and yesterday’s presence of individual City supporters at OT to pay tribute is a positive development.

    However the public disclosure by the media of City supporters request to get us to change to use of applause, and failure to effect change has caused them loss of face and they had to issue an explaination which looked dangerously like an apology to their own fans. These are people with their backs against the wall and few amongst them will surely be resenting the predicament more.

    To me the action not yet taken has been for both supporter groups (lead groupings) to meet in public and declare an amnesty and willingness to work towards the spirit of the day, and to do self policing. This has not taken place. If and when it does I would be very reassured. Till then it is hope for the best.

    When Liverpool was to meet Juventus for the first time following Heysel, they arranged such meetings, for fear of fan violence. They had the will to make this happen because of the want for an uneventful encounter. I question whether we, both red and blue, have this will.


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