“Gary Neville is a red, he hates scousers” goes the popular chant at Old Trafford. Whilst Neville is a legend at Old Trafford, he’s a hate figure at Anfield, something which no doubt makes the United skipper very proud.
His brother, Phil, who could have had a long term career at United had Roy Keane left the club in the summer, rather than leaving a few months in the 2005-2006 season, is subjected to a watered down version of the abuse from Liverpool fans.
The phrase goes, “my enemy’s enemy is my friend” and that is certainly the case for Philip Neville. As a lifelong United fan seeking a footballing career elsewhere, Phil opted to join our most hated rivals’ hated rivals, Everton FC. Upon doing so, he signed himself up for a future of abusive treatment from the dippers.
In the Merseyside derby at the weekend, Everton fans were heard singing insulting songs in the direction of Liverpool captain, Steven Gerrard. Whilst the most offensive songs we had on offer last weekend were relating to his transfer requests and aspirations to join Chelsea, Everton fans had far harsher chants on offer.
It is well documented away from the mainstream press that Steven Gerrard’s bird, Alex Curran, has been playing away throughout their relationship. Rumour has it their child is fathered by a local drug dealer, who goes by the name of “Pancake”. Everton fans decided to exploit this.
“The baby’s not yours” and “What’s that coming over your wife, is it a gangsta, is it a gangsta?” was bellowed from the Everton fans in the direction of Gerrard.
Rafael Benitez had plenty to say about the Everton fan chants (it’s funny how he’s been quiet about the Munich chants his fans sing every time our clubs meet). “I am sure some players will be really pleased about that win and I am really pleased for them. I don’t like to hear some of those things and it is a lack of respect,” he said.
Everton have responded furiously to these claims by Benitez, suggesting the the Spaniard is in no place to criticise fans. “In calling for Everton supporters to respect his players, Mr Benitez should perhaps remember his comments of 12 months ago,” a spokesman said. “Then he sought to belittle one of world sport’s oldest and most respected institutions by describing us as a ‘small club’. Respect is a two-way street. While we would never condone the singling out of individual players for vitriolic insults, it is a shame Mr Benitez chose to ignore the actions of his own club’s supporters. Not only was Joleon Lescott subjected to an afternoon-long barrage of quite disgusting and quite audible abuse, Phil Neville was seemingly spat at several times and was also punched in the back by a supporter as he took a throw in. We have asked the police and our safety officer to look into the matter.”
Before condemning the fans of Everton FC, maybe Rafa would like to take a long hard look at the fans of his own football team.
These are the fans who during the FA Cup 5th Round threw shit at our fans in 2006. These are the fans who ambushed Alan Smith’s ambulance as he left Anfield with a broken leg, again, in 2006. These are the fans who desecrated Old Trafford with graffiti concerning Munich and Harold Shipman when playing their FA Cup semi final against Chelsea.
Liverpool fans have behaved atrociously in Benitez’s reign, with their most recent stint of bad behaviour coming at the European Cup final last season, when their fans were stealing tickets from women and children alike. They were named the worst in Europe last season, yet Benitez still feels he’s in a position to criticise the fans of other clubs. Not to defend the fans who sing “Die die, Rooney Rooney, die” (to the tune of “She’ll be coming round the mountain”), but to question the legitimacy of where these comments came from.
“Phillip Neville’s still a red, he hates scousers” we sing in The Trafford on matchdays. Him scoring that own goal for United in that emphatic 4-2 win at Goodison Park last season saw that song sung all the more loudly.
Phil Neville lost his game against the dippers, but his brother saw his team win it convincingly the week before, and that is all I’m concerned with.
All teams have a minority of fans who behave in an unacceptable manner and I’m not saying United are any different in that respect. However, the worst of Liverpool fans behave in a way that is incomparable to the other fans of this country. I report this story on this site, cite the occasions when Liverpool fans should been vilified but managed to more or less creep under the radar, with the total anticipation no other source will join the dots. The point isn’t really about which fans are worse than any other though, but my sheer disbelief that Benitez would have the nerve to criticise anyone else’s fans, particularly on a day when his own fans were so vile. So do take on Rafa’s words without feeling much heartache for Stevie Me, as his fans have sung far more cruel songs than ones about illegitimate children.
The question is, will Liverpool fans face any comeuppance for their actions towards P Nev?
Made in Manchester is available for just £5. It includes 30 articles from the country's best football writers about graduates from the Manchester United academy. Everyone who buys a copy enters a competition to win the new home shirt. All profit goes to Trafford Macmillan so please support this fantastic cause.