SI­LENCE WAS BEST TRIB­UTE TO TRAGIC 96

The Football League Paper - - CHRIS DUNLAVY -

DID any­one else feel un­com­fort­able about the Hills­bor­ough dis­as­ter be­ing marked by a minute’s ap­plause dur­ing last weekend’s FA Cup semi-fi­nals?

Gen­er­ally, I’ve got noth­ing against clap­ping. It is harder to sab­o­tage, less prone to ac­ci­den­tal in­ter­rup­tion. And it is of­ten more ap­pro­pri­ate to the per­son who has died.

You don’t want a minute’s si­lence for Ge­orge Best, for in­stance. He rev­elled in his talent and he rev­elled in his fame. Though al­co­hol took ev­ery­thing he had, he re­gret­ted noth­ing and begged no sym­pa­thy. His was a life to cel­e­brate. You don’t want a minute’s si­lence for Tom Fin­ney ei­ther. He was 91 when he died, his time richly spent. That day at Deep­dale was a chance to ex­press grat­i­tude for his ser­vice and ad­mi­ra­tion for his bril­liance, not mourn the death of an old man. His, too, was a life to cel­e­brate.

But the deaths of 96 people, many of them teenagers, killed in the most aw­ful way thanks to the in­com­pe­tence of po­lice who then tried to blame them for it? Fam­i­lies de­stroyed, mar­riages wrecked, fu­tures snuffed out?

If the rel­a­tives of those in­volved think dif­fer­ently, I apol­o­gise. But to me there is noth­ing to cel­e­brate about that. It’s why I stayed silent at Wem­b­ley last week

end.

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