Munich memorial: Parker and his possible darker motive

With the Munich Memorial / Manchester Derby coming closer, there is a sense of unease in Manchester.

MPs, including the Sports Minister Gerry Sutcliffe and the MP for Manchester Withington John Leech, are calling for caution when the match occurs on the 10th February.

However, it is the role of the Official Man City Supporters’ Association Kevin Parker, who wants a minute’s applause instead of the proposed silence, which is threatening the occasion.

It is natural to be apprehensive with such a sombre occasion coming up, and with 3,000 City fans travelling to Old Trafford. It is also true that the behaviour of several people could light the blue torch-paper. Being a Manchester United all my life, I have often been subjected to the Munich chants and the slurs from ignorant City fans, who perhaps forget that one of their own, Frank Swift, was also killed in the tragedy.

Even so (and this may seem misguided and naive to some of you), the majority of City fans I know fully realise the significance of the event, and wouldn’t dare cross that border between deep rivalry, which I am all for, into an area that would constitute an act of sheer provocation.

And this is why the unease that is being created and voiced is misguided. The handful who could use the occasion to provoke will be out-numbered by the many who will be respectful, and I fully believe that the acts of the majority will stifle that of the minority.

However, for City fans, where’s the trust? Where’s the responsibility? If I were a City fan, I’d be incredibly upset and angry that the head of my supporters association doesn’t trust the fellow fans of my football club. City fans are in danger of being tarred by the same brush.

The fact that Parker has called for a minute’s applause is arguably attempting to protect the provocative and ignorant few, and also misses the point completely. How can you celebrate the lives of Duncan Edwards, Geoff Bent and Roger Byrne with an applause, when their chances to achieve were so tragically taken away?

An applause celebrates a fulfilled, detailed history (perhaps the idea of the applause, a modern take on mourning in this country at least, could also represent the possible inherent lack of respect currently present in football, but that argument is for another day). But the Busby Babes who perished in the Munich Air Disaster do not have one, because they were never given the chance. It is a time to mourn, not celebrate.

This is an event for an entire city, not just for a sect of fans. Parker’s belief that a minute’s applause would be better for the occasion and for Manchester as a whole, could well represent a more selfish motive.

However, it doesn’t help matters when you sport your advertiser on a commemorative mural…:

Mural AIG

What d’ya think? Utter rubbish? Good point? Provocative in both senses of the word? Tell us!


(Image: © MEN, taken from The Daily Mail)





Filed under Barclays Premier League, Comment, English Premier League, Football, Manchester City, Manchester United, Opinion, Soccer, Sport

4 responses to “Munich memorial: Parker and his possible darker motive

  1. Jamie Brown

    “The handful who could use the occasion to provoke will be out-numbered by the many who will be respectful, and I fully believe that the acts of the majority will stifle that of the minority.”

    David, I have to take issue here – how do you work this one out? How can a majority standing in respectful silence stifle a minority making a noise?

    The only way the section of City fans that will go there specifically to shout ‘munich scum’ (for the entire match by the way – the minute’s silence is the least of the worries here) could be stifled would be to make so much noise that they can’t be heard. That stands to reason surely?

    I agree with you that a minute’s applause isn’t the most appropriate treatment here. But the suggestion represents a commonsense view from people’s whose only concern is keeping the peace. The best thing all round would be if this match was not played at all. United should not play on this day – that would be an appropriate mark of respect.

  2. I’ll admit that yes, it does sounds rather tenuous and naive, and that perhaps I hold too much faith in mankind for the pressure of the decent majority to quell an idiotic minority who’ll be hell bent on cause a disruption.

    However, I’m going to stick with my judgement here, because the pressure from Man City and those fans in general to mark the occasion will be too great.

    All they have to do is remain quiet; they could turn their backs during the silence if they wanted, or make their displeasure known through other quieter means.

    But to have to back down for the sake of the ignorant few seems quite damning not just on City fans in general, but on football. How can you keep having to back down for the idiots? You can’t. I think this should be used as an opportunity to see if fans can be trusted, rather than admitting defeat already.

    Anyway, we should hopefully have the view of a City fan himself on here shortly; that’ll definitely put the cat amongst the pigeons, as they say heh.

  3. As the City fan who is expected to be putting the cat amongst the pigeons very shortly, I don’t want to give away all my best remarks just yet, but a few observations won’t go amiss while I gather my thoughts. I’m afraid to say that Parker’s fears are probably justified: the song that starts “who’s that lying on the runway, who’s that dying in the snow…” is sung by some fans at every away game, and I don’t think that ‘the golden jubilee’ (as it was reportedly referred to recently) will be any different. To judge by what I’ve been reading in the fanzines and blogs, most City fans are very worried about how this minority will behave on the day, and how that will make us look – especially given the (undeniable, sorry David) pro-United bias in the national press. The argument most frequently made is that both clubs should have noticed the fixture when the computer threw it up over the summer and discreetly moved it so that if United had to play around the anniversary of Munich they’d do it against a club unlikely to raise controversy.

  4. Jamie Brown

    David, I think the misjudgement you’re making is in believing that the kind of person who makes these chants cares what anyone thinks of them. Moreover the publicity this is receiving, and pressure being applied on these fans to keep quiet, makes it more likely to happen, not less.

    What you are asking is that we, as a collective of ordinary people, appeal to the sense of decency of a group of animals. It simply doesn’t exist in the first place in the kind of person who dreams up such filth as Harry quoted.

    What you must also remember is that the most likely response to any disruption to a silence from a City minority is further disruption from their opposite numbers in the United fraternity – the kind for instance that come up with similarly pleasant reminders of the Hillsborough disaster whenever they visit Anfield.

    United have had fair warning about what is likely to happen – remember the Leeds’ fans chanting all over the minute’s silence for Sir Matt Busby before a game against Blackburn some years ago. A minority of Leeds fans who had organised themselves thoroughly for the occasion took their opportunity. The worrying thing is that on that occasion United weren’t involved in the game and there was no media hype to stir anything up. I think the way this has been covered in the press has now created a ‘dare’ for the City fans.

    There is no way this is going to end well. It would not be ‘backing down’ to anyone to change the plans now, it would infact be a show of strength to say that no one is to be allowed to ruin the commemoration of this event, no matter how inconvenient it will be to reorganise everything at such short notice.

    Furthermore, a league game, with vital points on the line, has to be played properly once the whistle sounds. United can’t afford to let points slip in the Championship race for sure, and the usual cheating, whining and two-footed tackles that feature in the average premier league game these days are likely to ensue. A most inappropriate way to honour these lost greats of the game.

    A testimonial fixture would surely have been (surely still is?) the appropriate choice.

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