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.
Spot on again, a thoughtful piece of writing echoing the views of many. Time to kick out the biggots associated with football, what was once a game of sportsmanship and consideration. YNWA
Superb. Neatly sums up the whole chimp mentality that permeates through football support.
Loved it.I’ve refrained from voicing my feelings about the ‘Minute’s silence’ before the London derby on Sunday.I knew it would happen too;80 odd thousand supporters pissing it up in the pubs before a tea-time kick off?!I understand the Chelsea dickheads..(oops ‘in the bubble’..)did pretty much all of it & the Spurs fans showed superior class by keeping quiet;also,as you pointed out it could have been them in 81′,& they had the brains to understand this. I’ve refrained from lashing out because i understand that Liverpool have a few nobbers too.I’ve seen it in myself a few times in the past…I remember being on Cocaine & alcohol & singing the ‘Munich Song’ with a couple of my Scouse mates on the way to some Festival back in the 90’s.I feel ashamed about that now..it was of course ‘the bubble’ that made us do it..Thanks Gareth! Now following on twitter…
Spot on. The United fans are trying to claim that they’ve sung it ever since the Suarez case, but a) they could’ve not sung it on that particular date and b) I still don’t get why they would sing about Liverpool when they’re playing someone else (and winning). And to top it off, the minute’s silence was also for Piermario Morosini, he too deserved full respect.
My point is.
Why don’t we leave these idiots in their bubble.
We shouldnt expect their respects.
Human dignaty does.
But clearly it’s causing issues that will always be discussed year in year out.
Let’s US Remember them LFC.
Forget the fans who have different motives and are happy to taunt and disrespect the dead.
Do LFC supporters have a bubble as well, or are you uniquely able to see the truth that no one else can?
Can only assume you either didn’t read the piece or you are trolling. Anyway, here it is again…
“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.”
Great piece Gareth.
Did my ears deceive me or were the Everton fans at Wembley singing “always the victim…” just before they scored? I think that generally they were brilliant on Saturday – but cant understand why they’d sing that on Hillsborough anniversary weekend.
Great article Gareth – spot on as usual. Not point scoring – just making people think about things a little deeper. Good work mate.
Excellent piece, Gareth. A very calm way of explaining, while not excusing, why these outbursts happen only in football where anywhere else in society it would be unthinkable to question a day devoted to remembering a massive tragedy, no matter who was involved.
It is everyone’s right to grieve how they choose and Davies, nor anyone else, can dictate to the people of Liverpool how they should remember their loved ones.
I actually think in a sideways attempt he was trying to help by suggesting methods for grieving. If you’ve been through the grieving process, you try and share your experience with others in an effort to help them. But the problem arises when you realize that no matter what, everyone does, and more importantly, is allowed, to grieve how they feel is right for them.
At the end of the day, there will always be people who disrespect Liverpool, the 96, and the families and loved ones of the deceased. But there is nothing gained in giving any attention to it as it really has no relevance. Whether it be booing, chanting, or discussing the topic on a podcast as Davies did, people will say what they want and try as we might, we can’t control what others do. All we can control is how we react to them, and honestly, they deserve no reaction at all. That’s what they want, so let’s not give them the satisfaction.
Liverpool (the fans, football club, and the 96) know they’ve done what is right for them. That is all that matters.
Excellent piece Gareth.
Personally, I am growing tired of public apologies that then go on to attempt to justify the very thing that the individual is supposed to be expressing remorse and regret about. The Alan Davies piece in The Times was nonsense from start to finish and only added to my view that he had no concern at all for the impact of his original thoughtless comments.
The very fact that he only appears to feel obliged to apologise for the tone rather than the content of his remarks speaks volumes.
Tony Evans reckons Alan Davies can say what he like as he is entitled to his opinion. If Mr Davies was stupid enough to denigrate the black or gay community then we would soon see how much Mr Davies is entitled to an opinion.
Great work once again.
Great piece. I think I was in the ‘bubble’ when I brought Davies’ comments to the attention of the Twittersphere – and press – on my blog, causing a row of proportions even I didn’t imagine. For those who didn’t see it, the original piece is here:
I apologised for my insensitivity in a subsequent blog:
Hopefully we’ll all learn something from this and take football to a better place.
Great writing Gareth, enjoyed reading this. I think most people have forgotten that this really isn’t about football, it’s about life and actual people.