Counting Cats in Zanzibar Rotating Header Image

Alan Davies is Right…

for once. He usually isn’t on QI. [These are my interjections].

Davies, an Arsenal fan, said that Liverpool’s refusal to play this Sunday, April 15 [anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster in 1989], was “ridiculous”. [It is.]

The club’s stance has forced their semi-final against Everton to be played on Saturday, pushing back the Chelsea versus Tottenham semi-final to the Sunday, only three days before Chelsea play Barcelona in the semi-final of the Champions League.
Speaking on his football podcast, The Tuesday Club, he said: “What are you talking about, ‘We won’t play on the day’? Why can’t they? My mum died on 22 August. I don’t stay in all day on 22 August.”

“Do they play on the date of the Heysel Stadium disaster? How many dates do they not play on? Do Man United play on the date of Munich? Do Rangers play on the date when all their fans died in that disaster whatever year that was — 1971?”

Davies suggested that the priority should have been to give Chelsea an extra day to prepare for Barcelona.

Well that is a point and Chelsea and Barca is a big match. More to the point should such maudlin sentimentality influence anything? I mean we’re British for fuck’s sake!

His comments provoked a wave of criticism and abuse on Twitter [#whatever!], a medium he uses regularly and on which he later apologised. One Twitter user said he was glad that Davies’ mother had died, while another wrote: “You made fun of dead people so the logical thing to do is make you one of the dead people.” [No he didn't make fun of the dead but if that's Scouse logic I'll stick to the other... er... logical logic] Davies retweeted many abusive messages, including one which said: “Absolutely shocking comments from you all respect lost. —- just try going to Liverpool now you will —-ing die.” [from my experiences of Liverpool that's a kinda toss-up isn't it?] The comedian has since made a £1,000 donation to the Hillsborough Justice Fund [the what?] but Sheila Coleman, spokesman for the justice campaign, said they would return his money. She said that, while they accepted his apology for the “crass and insensitive comments” [they were neither], they would prefer that he “educated himself about why people are so sensitive about this” [because they are Scousers who are unbelievably thin-skinned - and "educated"? What is this the Scouseacaust?] rather than make a cash donation. Davies made matters worse by also insulting Liverpool’s manager, Kenny Dalglish. He said: “Every interview he’s given this season he looks like he wants to headbutt the interviewer.

“This tight-mouthed, furious, frowning, leaning-forward, bitter Glaswegian ranting: ‘Liverpool FC do not play on April 15th.’ ” [Fair comment from Davies. Mr Dogleash always sounds to me like a wasp chewing a bulldog. What is it about Scottish former Liverpool players - that's you Hansen - that makes them such profoundly, almost existentially miserablist?]

Davies, also famous for his role as Jonathan Creek, added: “Hillsborough is the most awful thing that’s happened in my life, in terms of football. It’s one of the worst tragedies in English peacetime history. But it’s ridiculous that they refuse to play on that day any more.”

Precisely. It’s like saying nothing should ever be built over New York’s Ground Zero. Great cities rebuild. And if we’re on about panic and crush deaths in England it might be worth considering the 1943 Bethnal Green Tube disaster that resulted in 173 deaths. When I lived in London I used that station a lot and saw the memorial plaque many times. Did it stop me? No. Did it stop other London residents? No. Our histories are built over such tragedies. A great city has a capacity to regenerate – that is what makes it great. What about Warsaw or Hamburg or Hiroshima? What even of Troy or Jericho? Or Atlanta?

The final example is why I am now thinking of the REM song Cuyahoga. I have seen that river and it is red and that’s both geology and metaphor – “This river runs red over red”. I am also reminded of King Theoden, “What can men do against such reckless hate?”. Theoden, with a little coaxing, came to the correct conclusion.

He also received support, with people highlighting that Liverpool supporters and the city as a whole had such a penchant for introspection that has seen it labelled the “self-pity city”.

That’s putting it very politely. The contrast between Mancunian swagger (which can, admittedly, be annoying at times) and Scouse bathos is staggering. If we go back to the Munich air-crash there is a similar thing going on with Leeds fans. When I lived in Leeds I met LUFC fans who were generally despicable. They didn’t celebrate Leeds winning games but Manchester United losing them. Dismal. I recall them singing a song, “How many bodies in the snow?” about that crash n Germany. Many, many years after the event they still “celebrated” that dreadful incident. I bit my tongue (having no desire to end-up at the Leeds General Infirmary) and contented myself by thinking just one word, “cunts”.

But back to the Mersey. a lad I once temped with had done a degree at Liverpool University (a fine institution – motto, “Fiat Lux”). One night he and all but one of his flatmates (who was behind on an essay or something) had gone out for a drink and came back to find the house ransacked and the lad stark naked, gagged and tied to his bed. There was no sexual motive here. A bunch of Scouse scrotes had just taken everything including a student’s underpants (they’d also taken everyone else’s clothes and even the tinned food unto the cans of Tesco Value tomatoes). In the long and lamentable chronicle of complete and utter human scumbaggery that is well up there. I mean it’s hardly suave international art theft material with George and Brad capering is it? They stole the socks he’d stood up in as well.

In his apology, he conceded that the “tone I take on the podcast was inappropriate for this subject.”

Davies shouldn’t have apologised. That was his mistake. Never apologise if you’re right. It’s just like those Motoons of Doom. God alone knows what Scouse Muslims are like for taking offence…

12 Comments

  1. JuliaM says:

    “More to the point should such maudlin sentimentality influence anything? I mean we’re British for fuck’s sake!”

    Ah, if only that still meant what it used to mean. But, since Diana…

  2. Sam Duncan says:

    “Do Rangers play on the date when all their fans died in that disaster whatever year that was — 1971?”

    1902 and 1971. And yes, of course they do.

    “What is it about Scottish former Liverpool players – that’s you Hansen – that makes them such profoundly, almost existentially miserablist?”

    Shellshock. They escaped crime-ridden, self-regarding Glasgow, only to discover that we’re just playing at it. Scousers take that shit seriously.

  3. Tim Newman says:

    I mean we’re British for fuck’s sake!

    Yes we are. But they’re fucking Scousers.

  4. Zaph Camden says:

    Good God, everything about this affair is screwed-up, but the thing that really takes the cake is the returning of the £1,000 from the Hillsborough Justice Fund. A (presumed) charitable/non-profit organization basically saying “your money’s not good enough for us?” Well, they’ll never get a penny from me.

  5. Ian B says:

    Never apologise if you’re right.

    Wise words. Couldn’t agree more.

  6. Tim Newman says:

    Never apologise if you’re right.

    With one exception: on those occasions when you’re arguing with your wife. Or is the default position that you’re always wrong?

  7. Talwin says:

    NickM. What an insensitive post this is. Your timing is appalling: shame on you.

    For, are most of us not coming to your missive on what might otherwise have been an occasion of unalloyed sporting joy involving those chirpy Scousers?

    I refer, of course, to the sporting and cultural feast which is Aintree’s Ladies day.

    Or, perhaps not. I see the ‘Mirror’ dubs it, “The most humiliating sight in sport”.

  8. Or is the default position that you’re always wrong?

    It’s not just the default position, it covers the fallback position, the regrouping position and the “Rule 2: If your wife is wrong, refer to Rule 1″ position.

  9. Mr Ed says:

    I don’t recall seeing a memorial to the 39 dead from Heysel stadium on my occasional trips to Liverpool, but dead non-Scousers killed by aggressive Scousers, as opposed to Scousers killed inadvertently without malice by other Scousers shoving and crushing their fellow Scousers, abetted by police bungling, presumably are still in many Scousers’ thoughts, no doubt.

    In fact I blame Thatcher’s ‘cuts’ for Heysel, as well as the fact that there is no statute to the 39 dead Italians, and John Lennon’s death.

  10. Sam Duncan says:

    No, no, no, Mr.Ed. Lennon’s death was a response by a fanatical right-winger to Reagan’s impending victory. Thought he’d be lauded as a hero in Ronnie’s New Amerikkka for striking back against degenerate hippie culture, see. He had a list of targets: Lennon, Dylan, Shaggy out of Scooby Doo…

  11. bloke in spain says:

    Liverpool – The Hell that spawned Cherie Blair

  12. I refer, of course, to the sporting and cultural feast which is Aintree’s Ladies day.

    Or, perhaps not. I see the ‘Mirror’ dubs it, “The most humiliating sight in sport”.

    For the hard of stomach and soul, some pictures are up on the Beeb. I think the pale blue tutu on image 8 just epitomises the place.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: