THE Sun and Liverpool. You know the story. If you don’t, you should. The Hillsborough Independent Panel’s report 13 months ago brought it all back: four days after the disaster a front-page report with the headline ‘The Truth’ relayed a series of lies about April 15, 1989, including scurrilous claims that Liverpool fans had urinated on police officers resuscitating the dying and stolen from the dead.
It led to a boycott of the newspaper on Merseyside. A boycott that still exists. A Don’t Buy The Sun Campaign runs to this day – stickers and posters are on display at every Liverpool fixture, a Don’t Buy The Sun concert has toured the country.
Awareness may not stretch the length and breadth of the UK, into Europe or worldwide, but in Liverpool it’s hard to plead ignorance. Feelings run high to this day, and most are aware of that fact – particularly those working in the media.
With this in mind, the news today that an organisation bearing the city’s name – The Liverpool Press Club – has a President, David Wooding, who works for The Sun on Sunday is staggering.
The Liverpool Press Club may be little more than a backslapping excuse for a drink. But Wooding – a ‘Liverpool FC fan’ according to his Twitter account – uses it as validation, describing the title on his public LinkedIn profile as being ‘honoured by his home city’.
He also claims to have been ‘unanimously elected’ on his own website – yet several members of the club have tonight confirmed that a) they were unaware Wooding was the President b) they certainly didn’t vote for him.
At least two members have resigned from the club since learning of Wooding’s position and more are expected to follow.
Allowing Wooding to put his name to what, on the surface at least, appears to be a position of power in Liverpool is naïve, insensitive and crass.
The Sun’s lies blackened the name of Liverpool – the people, the city and the club.
We ask that Wooding’s position, and exactly how he was ‘elected’ is clarified by Liverpool Press Club. And we ask that powers-that-be at Liverpool Press Club, whoever they may be, recognise their mistake, strip Wooding of his title and no longer allow him to justify the uncomfortable duality of his position at The Sun on Sunday and his claims to be ‘a Liverpool fan’.