I’m not sure if you’ve had the displeasure of coming across Antoine Zammit, a rabid Liverpool fan behind Empire of the Kop. Local lad Antoine, from Malta, doesn’t like RoM very much.

Some people, like Zammit, don’t like the song “we won it three times” and that is fair enough. Although a distinction should be made between this and those about Munich and Hillsborough, which mock the dead. “We’ve won it three times” is not a song mocking the dead, there’s no reason for United fans to speak badly of Juventus after all, rather confronting Liverpool fans with what happened in 1985. Why would we need to do that, you might ask. Quite simply because Liverpool FC denied any wrong doing at Heysel and in the aftermath, chairman John Smith had the audacity to claim it was Chelsea fans, at the European Cup final between Liverpool and Juventus in Belgium, who caused the deaths of those 39 Italians.

Zammit keeps claiming he is against any song about a tragedy, that this isn’t about doing well in a silly blog award and it certainly isn’t just a United vs Liverpool thing. Whilst there’s a clear distinction between Heysel from Munich/Hillsborough, he, like many fans of any club, thinks that it is wrong to reference what the Liverpool fans did at Heysel in our “We won it three times” song.

However, as you will be aware, Liverpool FC’s official supporters union, Spirit of Shankly, had a party at the end of the 2009 season. They hadn’t won anything but wanted a get together and a sing song. During this party, a man got on the stage and started singing a song and chanted “Munich!” in the chorus, whilst the attendees of the party joined in. This union was being quoted in the papers as the voice of Liverpool fans yet at their party, they’re singing Munich.

 

 

Weeks after the party, footage of this sing song was released on the internet. The men behind SoS admitted they were at the gathering, obviously, but claimed they “didn’t know what to do” when the chanting started. A simple suggestion would be to go on stage and ask the man to stop singing. They didn’t ask him to stop though. They stood there and watched (we couldn’t presume they joined in with everyone else there). Despite doing nothing to stop the chanting, they claimed on their website that they did not approve of the chants.

Given Zammit’s apparent stance on these chants, you would imagine he would have been the first to condemn SoS for allowing this to go on, right? Wrong. You’ll be very interested to know that Zammit was one of the Liverpool fans who came out in full support of SoS after this footage was released.

Today, after spending the past couple of days bombarded with abusive e-mails and messages on Twitter on the back of his campaign, I e-mailed him and asked him if he had any links from his blog which he had written in response to the Munich songs at SoS.

He was more than happy to oblige. One was entitled “100% Pure Manure” and the other “Empire of the Kop continues to back Spirit of Shankly”.

I responded and asked whether backing SoS following the Munich songs which mock the dead, whilst hating our chant, made him a hypocrite. He claimed he was against Munich songs but supported the union and denied being a hypocrite.

I told Zammit that I was going to write this article, comparing what he had said about me, calling me vile and disgusting, with what he said about SoS in light of the Munich chants at the party.

And would you believe it, he deleted both articles off his site! Now, this would have been incredibly irritating… had I not already copied and pasted what the articles had said, anticipating that he’d clock that he had been rumbled.

Videos were posted on the internet last night of songs about the Munich disaster being sung at the Spirit of Shankly end of season party. Spirit of Shankly have made a statement condemning those singing the songs and apologising for the song starter getting on stage as he was not scheduled to perform.

The supporters Union has done a number of great things over the last year with regards to the ownership of the club and allowing the fans voice to be heard on other matters. The Union has arranged affordable transport to away games and has organised a number of charitable events and given a large amount to charity itself, as shown in the financial report for the year.

It is a shame what was a great end of season party was ruined by a small number of individuals who chose to partake in the chanting, the Union have condemned those contributing to the chants, stating it has no place at any Spirit of Shankly event.

We are members of the Union and will continue to support it despite this error, everyone makes mistakes, especially when organising and running an event as big as an end of season party. Let’s not let this over shadow the great work the Union has done for fans in the past and hope it doesn’t hinder on what the Union will be doing in the future.

If you’d like to join Spirit of Shankly- The Liverpool Supporters Union log onto www.spiritofshankly.com

If you go to the links he gave me, here, you’ll see it now says “page not found”. Fortunately, to prove I’m not making it all up, the articles still show up on Google.

In the other article, you’ll notice how he says our rant against the Munich songs at SoS was “disgusting”. Feel free to read the rant here and decide whether you think condemning the Munich songs is “disgusting” like Zammit claims it is.

For the most part, the SoS disgrace wasn’t picked up in the media. God only know what would have happened if footage was released of hundreds of United fans chanting about Hillsborough at a MUST do. A few months later, an article written by Barry Glendenning appeared in The Guardian which made reference to the chants: Our audience is more tolerant than Liverpool supporters’ union Spirit of Shankly, who showcased the fabled Scouse sense of humour by swooning like Victorian ladies overcome by the vapours when a board member from “their” club responded to a series of emails from a disgruntled fan by inviting him to “Blow me, fuckface”.

The carefully worded email sent by Tom Hicks Jr, Dallas-based businessman and adult son of Liverpool owner Tom Sr, prompted howls of faux outrage and wounded indignation from Spirit of Shankly, who despite all their protestations to the contrary, were almost certainly beside themselves with delight that a fan had managed to prompt such a juvenile response from the Liverpool boardroom.

Having called for, and subsequently secured the resignation of Hicks Jr, who has since apologised for sending the email, SoS posted a statement on their website this afternoon. “Spirit of Shankly welcomes the resignation of Tom Hicks Junior from the board of Liverpool FC and its parent company,” it chirruped. “This club has standards – on the field, off the field, on the terraces and in the boardroom.” As luck would have it, the group made no mention of its own standards, which are so low that last year’s end-of-season party climaxed with this rousing ditty making fun of the Munich air disaster.

While it could be argued that the raucous, mob-handed celebration of a plane crash in which 21 people died is considerably more offensive than some dumb Yank losing his rag and sending a chippy email, it’s interesting that SoS chose not to disband or call for mass resignations from among their own rank-and-file in the wake of the notorious sing-along.

The Fiver is as wholeheartedly in favour of football fans sticking it to The Man as the next beret-wearing promoter of people-power, but we find it bewildering that the high standards expected from all connected with Liverpool FC “on the field, off the field, on the terraces and in the boardroom” evidently don’t apply to those most anxious to see them rigidly enforced.

I wonder if Zammit finds Barry Glendenning’s condemnation of the Munich songs “disgusting” too?

Essentially, he’s feigned outrage over the whole issue. If he genuinely cared about our “we’ve won it three times” chant he would have at least had one critical word for SoS after the Munich songs. Instead, he backed them 100% and wrote on his own blog that RoM was “disgusting” for criticising the behaviour of SoS and their members.

So, not a nice slanging match, but I felt it should be exposed to what depths Zammit would sink for the sake of a bloody blog award. It isn’t a competition and I don’t enjoy this petty shit but after badmouthing me for days and inciting scousers to send me all kinds of nonsense, I thought it was only fair to put the record straight.

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EDIT: Zammit has since put the page back up. After telling him that deleting the link was an admission of his guilt as a hypocrite, it returned. To people who asked on Twitter, he claimed the page was never deleted and told me that it was “database maintenance”. This is a lie. After he deleted the articles I did a quick search through his site to see if he defended SoS elsewhere and every single article was still there. The only ones missing were the two he had sent me earlier where he defended SoS in light of the Munich chants.




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