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Day: March 16, 2012

Mission Accomplished: FC United Of Manchester’s Great Leap Forward

In amongst all of the filth and fury of this week, one simple truism has remained unchallenged: it has to be like this. Although modern fashion likes to talk of football supporters as if we are “valued customers” or even – God forbid – “stake-holders”, the truth of the matter is that, by and large, we’re not. Customers wouldn’t put up with being treated in the way that football supporters are as a matter of routine. They’d take their business elsewhere. Stake-holders wouldn’t tolerate perpetual hyper-inflation and the implication that, somehow, we owe those that deliver the game to us a debt of gratitude rather than the other way around. As such, the relationship between a football club and a supporter of a football club might be be more akin to the relationship between a drug dealer and a junkie. They feed our addiction. They charge what they can get away with – and we don’t even know what the upper limit of that pricing policy might be yet – and we grumble, but we still turn out in our millions. If we complain too loudly, there is a reasonable chance that we will simply be cast asunder, in the full knowledge that there are plenty of others that will take our place. We are divided and conquered, beaten into submission. We are treated with such suspicion by the...

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The Hillsborough Leak: Why Now, And By Whom?

The devil, as so often in these cases, is in the detail. While the reflex reaction to this weeks leaking of documents concerning the Hillsborough disaster of 1989 may be to focus on the word “drunk”, it may be more informative to focus on the use of the word “Merseyside”, in terms of which police force it was that was making unfounded claims with regard to the behaviour of Liverpool supporters in a broader sense. But who, after almost twenty-three years, would leak such information into the public domain and why? It’s a question that many will have wondered aloud over the last couple of days or so. Labour MP Steve Rotherham, whose impassioned speech in the House of Commons last year was one of the defining moments in the long battle for justice, has his suspicions and is calling for an inquiry into how these documents came to be leaked, and the families of those that lost relatives that day will be asking much the same thing. Could it merely be a coincidence that a document featuring the word “drunk” was released into the public domain shortly after it was confirmed that the full report into the disaster, which should include the release of previously classified documents regarding what was being said at the top level of government in the immediate aftermath of that days events? The use...

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