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24/09/2012 08:52

Papers: United for the 96

Brian Reade writes in The Mirror...

United and Liverpool pay moving tribute
I’ve experienced many poignant moments on Anfield’s Spion Kop. I’ve stood on that old man-made hill built in honour of the hundreds of soldiers from Lancastrian regiments – both Scousers and Mancunians – who died together in a Boer War battle in 1900, and felt the emotions run away with themselves. And yesterday afternoon they were up and running again. When Sir Bobby Charlton walked on to the pitch with flowers and handed them to Ian Rush, their heavy faces fully grasping the poignancy of the moment, the full-throated roar of approval from everyone in the ground was deafening. Tribalism was temporarily cast aside. It signalled the moment a truce was declared in the grotesque firing of death banter between these fans. Let’s pray it continues. There was the usual anti-Scouse and anti-Manc chanting between these two rivals. Such is the intense history between England’s most successful clubs there always will be. But my ears didn’t pick up any vile songs referencing Hillsborough. Maybe that’s because virtually everyone at Anfield seemed conscious of their responsibilty yesterday. They were aware of the fact that the world was looking on, many hoping to see English football wallow in the gutter, and grasped the moment. It was classy, sincere and the tone was just right.

While many of the papers praise the conduct of both clubs at Anfield, Chris Wheeler of The Guardian criticises a small minority of “morons who had their moment.” In his column, Wheeler writes: “When one idiotic Liverpool fan, frustrated at his team’s defeat and provoked by taunts, responded by spreading his arms into the wings of a plane in the time-honoured way of mocking the Munich air crash, the gloves were off.”

The Mirror focuses on a tweet sent by Liverpool midfielder Jonjo Shelvey, who has accused Sir Alex of getting him sent off on Sunday. Shelvey is quoted. “I have apologised to Sir Alex, just where I come from people don’t grass people up to get someone sent off.”

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