For the weeks preceding the Manchester derby, there were worries that some City fans would spoil the minute’s silence planned in honour of the Busby Babes. After attending plenty of Manchester derbies, I felt as though disruption to the minute’s silence could not be avoided, hearing the blue side of Manchester sing about Munich year after year. I have been called “Munich scum” by City fans more times than I care to remember, and whilst recognising the vast majority of blues are not scum bags, there are enough in the minority who I believed would spoil the day.
The season before last, I was at Old Trafford as United played out a painful 1-1 draw with City. Noel Cantwell, who captained United in the 1963 FA Cup final, as well as winning the league with us in 1965 and 1967, died two days prior to the match. The minute’s silence had to be stopped half way through, after the away section started singing Munich songs. Would this same set of fans be able to sit through silence dedicated to the Babes? I didn’t think so.
Yesterday, the referee blew the whistle to signal the end of the minute’s silence and it had been observed perfectly by the City fans. In the second half, the City fans launched the chant “There’s only one Frank Swift” which was in turn applauded by the United fans.
After the match, both City manager, Sven-Goran Eriksson, and City captain, Richard Dunne, spoke out out in praise of their fans. “I would like to say a big thank you to our fans,” said Sven. “They were absolutely fantastic before the game during the minute’s silence and of course during the game.”
“Our fans were fantastic – everyone within the club knew they would be,” said Dunne. “We are very proud of them and hopefully they are very proud of our performance.”
Now, whilst I am appreciative that the City fans kept their mouths shut, I’m not too sure why they should be lavished with praise. They behaved like normal human beings. Congratulations, you’re not sickos who sing songs mocking innocent people who died. Managing to observe a minute’s silence for the sake of 23 people who lost their lives, one of whom was a legend for their own club, makes them “fantastic.” Do me a fucking favour!
The low expectations the manager and captain have of their own fans says a lot about the blues. For the captain to feel “proud” of their fans for joining the human race is quite frankly embarrassing and patronising.
On a lighter note, I hope the events of yesterday will have a positive effect on City fans in relation to Munich. A bitter in my local was hopeful that maybe we will see the despicable chants die down on derby day, but I think he is kidding himself. Saying that, I thought staying silent for one minute to remember the Babes was beyond them, so maybe there is some hope for them yet.