THE football bubble is simple. In it, anything goes. People think and act differently. They take leave of their senses. Common sense goes out of the window. Dignity is forgotten; respect means nothing.
Abuse is fine in the bubble. Ditto racism, violence and bigotry. Petty theft? No problem. Bit of criminal damage? Step right in.
It’s behaviour that wouldn’t be accepted anywhere else. But if it’s in, around or about football? Well what do you expect, seems to be the mantra.
Alan Davies was in the football bubble when he decided it was just fine to rant about Hillsborough.
The vocal minority of Chelsea fans who jeered and shouted “Murderers” during a minute’s silence for the 96 victims of the disaster on Sunday were also in the football bubble.
And the section of Manchester United fans that sang “Always the victim, it’s never your fault” during their match with Aston Villa on the same day – they were in the bubble too.
There’s plenty of our own in the bubble. Do you use ‘Munich’ as some kind of throwaway term to describe anything or everything connected to Manchester United? Then you’re in the bubble.
“Liverpool and the 15th, that gets on my tits that shit,” Davies said.
That’s right, it ‘gets on his tits’ that families attend a memorial to mark the anniversary of the day they lost their sons, daughters, mums and dads at a football match.
It’s ‘shit’ that a club, a team and its supporters think paying their respects in a dignified manner at Anfield is more important than playing a match for one day a year.
How dare they, hey, Alan?
“What are you talking about, ‘We won’t play on the day’? Why can’t they?” the alleged funnyman went on to say during a podcast that, let’s not forget, is supposed to be about football. Arsenal, to be exact.
Davies had seemingly decided Liverpool and the Hillsborough families were responsible for Chelsea playing at 6pm on a Sunday.
And they should have been more considerate. After all, what’s more important – human emotion, respect and compassion or a bunch of millionaires getting an extra 24 hours’ rest?
If Davies wanted someone to lash out at why not the FA? Why not the TV companies?
They controlled the timing and venue of the FA Cup semi-finals not the families who lost children as young as 10 years old at a football match.
Liverpool have never played on the 15th. They’ve moved league games and Champions Leagues games in the past – no issue.
But because the FA refused to sanction the common sense option at the weekend – let the Merseyside teams fight it out in the North West (Old Trafford) and leave to the London clubs to play in, er, London – it became a problem.
Outside the bubble, it’s easy to see the solution. In it? Well it’s just them whining Scousers again. Not football fans. Not people. A rival team. A rival city. Someone ‘we’ hate.
A Chelsea fan called a national radio station on Monday and said – without tongue in cheek – that he couldn’t understand why Spurs and Chelsea were asked to respect a minute’s silence for victims of Hillsborough on Sunday.
“It didn’t involve Chelsea or Spurs,” he said.
There’s that bubble again. Hillsborough could have happened to ANY club or ANY set of fans.
Eight years before 96 fans perished in the Leppings Lane end, 38 Spurs fans suffered crush injuries in the same terrace, in the same ground…in an FA Cup semi final.
Lessons were not learned, an out of date safety certificate was ignored and football fans died. That the game is so safe now, and the grounds so modern, is a legacy of the disaster.
Yet a fan can’t see beyond his own team. He can’t compute why a silence is appropriate in the same fixture of the same competition on the same date as those supporters were crushed.
Even Davies – still – can’t see why he’s wrong. He might think he’s Quite Interesting, and that can be the only explanation for why he decided on Monday to continue to fan the flames.
Davies penned a piece for The Times trying to explain his comments but he just dug a deeper hole.
After banging on about faceless thick people who had pawed death threats into Twitter at him, he tried to explain the right and wrong way to cope with losing a loved one.
It was rules of grief according to Alan Davies.
Stop and think about that for a moment.
When else would anyone in the public eye tell a large group of people how to grieve for their dead?
The answer is never. Because there are no rules.
Except in the bubble.