Obviously it would be preferable if City did not use the label “Munichs” as a derogatory term for their neighbours and rivals, but they do, and have been using it for many years. Regrettable as that may be, and distasteful as the whole topic might appear to anyone with a normal sense of values, it is possibly worth saying that the use of a nickname is not quite as offensive as imitating aeroplanes and singing the infamous runway song.

Sorry, have I somehow managed to find my may on to an angry City forum from The Guardian website? Why on earth is calling United “Munichs” less offensive than imitating an aeroplane?

Offending the other lot is what football rivals like to do, though it is debatable whether City fans are trying to offend United fans with the term “Munichs” as much as differentiate themselves from the event that defines the other half of Manchester. Reviewing the programme United in these pages on Monday, Richard Williams noted that the drama showed how the Old Trafford club came to acquire a special place in the hierarchy of football, and how a near-universal sympathy endured throughout the years in which Matt Busby and Jimmy Murphy led United back to success with a team that everyone could admire.

It is a great story as well as a tragic one, but how were City supposed to react to it? What could the other club in Manchester do, short of packing up and going home in the knowledge they could never compete with such a powerful backstory, a mythology carefully layered into United’s present-day omnipotence?

As if suggesting there are disagrees of how offensive “Munich” may be to us, Wilson has the nerve to suggest that City fans aren’t intending to offend us when calling us “Munichs”. After receiving blanket criticism for the loud chants at Blackburn in the press, it’s as if Wilson is trying to find a gap in the market, an alternative angle, but instead is alarmingly insulting whilst defending the vile behaviour of so many blues.

There is a difference, and I have come across City supporters who say they would never chant anything unpleasant or inflammatory about Munich but see no issue with using the word itself as shorthand for United and their supporters.

I am not sure if that is a worthwhile distinction, and it would probably be best for all references to Munich to be laid to rest and left in the past where they belong.

It would “probably be best” if City fans stopped calling us “Munichs”? You think?

Read the article in full, if you can stand to.

Feel free to contact the newspaper to complain at: football.editor[at]guardianunlimited.co.uk and/or the Press Complaints Commission.

[edit] Ian Ladyman has written a good response in The Daily Mail and seems to be making a dig at Wilson in his article…

It was suggested to me by more than one person that City’s latest song was acceptable because it was not about the Munich disaster, it merely referred to United fans as ‘Munichs’.

This, apparently, is an accepted term of reference for United followers in Manchester these days. It is, I was told, just like calling City fans ‘Bitters’ (Bitter Blues).

Another correspondent suggested it was acceptable because most people singing it ‘don’t really know what it means’. Munich is, apparently, ‘just a word’.

One wonders what families of Munich victims would make of these peculiar and witless arguments. What would relatives of Frank Swift – the former City goalkeeper who lost his life at Munich while working as a journalist – think of this twisted strain of logic?

The answers, of course, are obvious. ‘Munich’, ‘Hillsborough’, ‘Heysel’ are not just words. Just like ‘n****r’ and ‘paedophile’ and ‘P**i’ are not just words either.

Used in the wrong way they are weapons capable of taking our game hurtling back towards the dark ages. Anyone who does not understand this really should go back to school.[/edit]


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