Red and White Kop: John Smith had told reporters that he believed the trouble to be the fault of ‘Chelsea fans’ – it was nonsense, clutching at straws. There had been fans of other clubs there, there always is in major cup finals, but not in any significant numbers.
The families of the 96 have every right to be fuming and sickened with the South Yorkshire police after their inept behaviour lead to the deaths of so many people. The idea of seeking ‘justice’ for their deaths is one we can all understand. If one of mine had died at Hillsborough I’d be as hellbent about getting justice as the families of the 96 are. By failing to accept responsibility they are denying the families the chance to grieve properly.
Likewise, after Heysel, Liverpool FC denied any responsibility for the deaths of the 39. John Smith (the chairman) blamed Chelsea fans and said it was nothing to do with Liverpool. This was a front the club kept up for 20 years until they met Juve again. The fans said sorry and put on a big fuss, but Juve fans turned their backs, stuck up their fingers, and whistled. 20 years too late and 20 years of pain for the club, fans and families of those that died.
Without Killing Anyone we won it three times is not mocking the dead (like Munich and Hillsborough songs do), it is confronting Liverpool fans and Liverpool FC with something they denied for 20 years, something they blamed on Chelsea and a stadium.
The very fact that Liverpool’s die-hard fans, the ones who were able to get tickets for the Merseyside derby (so not some jonny-come-latelys from London, but season ticket holders with plenty of loyalty points), were singing “2-0 to the murderers” makes any anger directed at United fans for singing the song entirely pointless. Liverpool fans refer to the club as “murderers”.
It was wrong for Liverpool FC to deny Heysel was their fans’ fault, it was wrong for them to mockingly refer to themselves as “murderers” but how wrong is it to confront Liverpool fans with their past, a past they denied for 20 years? Would Juve fans want attention brought to the behaviour of Liverpool fans that day? Given how much attention Liverpool fans have wanted drawn to the South Yorkshire police, I’d argue yes.
The chant isn’t in good taste, certainly, just like so many chants up and down the country, but it shouldn’t be lumped with singing about Hillsborough and Munich. United players were singing it after we won in Moscow and whilst that was picked up in the press, there was little to no fuss made about it. If they had been singing about Hillsborough though, it would have been a completely different matter, and rightly so.
Whilst I imagine the Liverpool fans who were there that day have a heavy heart about what happened and several of the fans involved were prosecuted, the fact is Liverpool FC’s official stance was it was nothing to do with them, and it took them 20 years to say otherwise. Had they accepted their responsibility, instead of pointing a finger at Chelsea and the stadium, the chant probably never would have been created, but that’s not what happened.
You could also argue that Heysel has nothing to do with us so we have no place to sing about it, but I disagree. Firstly, I think that any footballing tragedy has an effect on football fans. We know that had our results been better that season, we would have been at Hillsborough. It would have been our fans. It’s something you can relate to. When the anniversary took place last year and you saw parents of children who died at Hillsborough, you’d be a monster not to feel any compassion for them. When you’re a football fan, an incident doesn’t have to happen to your club for you to have a reaction to or opinion of it.
Secondly, they are our rivals, and football fans sing about their rivals. Liverpool fans sing about Chelsea not having any history, but what’s that got to do with them how many trophies Chelsea have won?
Thirdly, Heysel denied us, amongst many other English clubs, the opportunity to play in Europe, after their fans got our clubs banned.
Essentially, the song may not be for you, I’m not trying to force it down your throat or tell you that you should sing it, rather I’m explaining the reason why it is sung by our fans. You may not agree with it and that is fair enough, but this song is not about mocking the dead, it’s remembering what Liverpool FC denied and celebrating our success in Europe.
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