By Tony Attwood
Some chanting in football grounds is appalling, but with concerted effort it can be stopped. And indeed over the years Arsenal have made that concerted effort to get rid of certain chants at home games. My perception from afar is that Liverpool and Man U have made less effort, Man U notoriously even allowing a song with the most appalling slanders against Mr Wenger to appear on a set of songs that it sold via its on line shop, at one stage.
We also know that Uefa has been ludicrously ineffective at stopping racist chanting in Eastern Europe particularly, with only occasional bans, and fines that are so small they are hardly noticed.
But now Uefa have had a go at Liverpool over a charge of what Uefa rather oddly calls “illicit chanting”.
When this charge first came out it was thought that it referred to chants by Liverpool fans concerning the Manchester Utd Munich air crash in 1958 and by Man U fans concerning the Hillsborough disaster. These chants have been heard at Liverpool v Man U games at both grounds, but it seems that neither club has found a way to deal with such matters.
However it seems that the chant that offended the Uefa inspector was “Manchester is full of shit”. Rather amusingly, some newspapers have reported this as “Manchester is full of s***” presumably because their readerships are such a delicate bunch of flowers that they a) don’t know what the *** stands for and are thus protected, and that b) even if they did know what the *** stood for, they would be mortally offended to see “hit” written after “s” and thus sales of the paper might go down.
But Uefa is getting into a tangle over crowd affairs these days, having also suggested and then unsuggested that they were annoyed over the booing of the Uefa National Anthem (Uefa now following the line of Fifa in considering itself a SuperState and thus entitled to a National Anthem). But I suppose Uefa is always in a muddle.
Liverpool have already been charged with setting off fireworks, throwing objects, and other forms of crowd disturbances that caused the delay in the kick-off at the start of the second half at Man U – something that Uefa hates since it interferes with TV scheduling. Man U are charged with the fact that their fans blocked stairways and that there were crowd disturbances.