Football: Aberdeen aim to identify 'moronic' fans

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The Independent Online
Aberdeen fans who tainted a minute's silence for the former Rangers player George Young, who died last Friday aged 74, were yesterday exposed by fellow supporters.

It emerged that those who marred the tribute to Young on Sunday were, according to witnesses among the 1,000-strong travelling support in the Glasgow ground's Broomloan Stand, in fact "celebrating" the 1971 Ibrox Disaster when 66 fans died.

Neil McDougall, a former chairman of the Aberdeen Supporters' Association, said: "When I heard a minority start to sing about the Ibrox Disaster, I put my fingers in my ears, shut my eyes and prayed for the minute to end. I have never been so ashamed in all my life. Those morons have left all Dons fans tarred with the same brush."

The current Supporters' Association chairman, Roddie Arnott, labelled the outburst "indicative of a general decline" in crowd behaviour. "I can only apologise to Rangers and the family of George Young for what was absolutely disgraceful behaviour," he added.

Condemnation was wide-ranging after Rangers manager Walter Smith had called it "the worst I can ever remember" and the Aberdeen chairman, Ian Donald, issued a plea to true fans to finger the guilty minority.

Donald issued a statement yesterday which read: "It goes without saying that Aberdeen Football Club does not condone in any way the mindless behaviour of a small minority of so-called fans yesterday.

"On behalf of the club, I would like to apologise unreservedly to Rangers Football Club for what happened. These people have let the club down badly. The vast majority of our support observed the minute's silence with the proper respect and some people must be aware of those who did not.

"If anyone does have information which may help finding these people, I would urge them to contact the club. Any information received will be treated in strictest confidence."

Last month, Aberdeen threatened to ban supporters who threw missiles at the Rangers team coach outside Pittodrie a few minutes after a match. The bus was undamaged and nobody hurt. So far the culprits have not been traced.

Arnott does not believe the Ibrox incident was connected to the bad feeling which persists when the two clubs meet despite a string of recent incidents. "I don't think it was down to that on this occasion," he said. "I simply think it was a lack of respect which shows a general decline in standards.

"It used to be years ago when a minute's silence was held it was exactly that. All you could hear was traffic outside the ground or somebody coughing. I would hate to think this incident had anything to do with the Rangers and Aberdeen fixture. I wasn't there myself but friends who were there say it was only 10 or 20 fans who shamed themselves.

"I can think of no explanation as to why someone shouldn't show some respect for someone who has died. Perhaps what we need to get over to these people is how would they feel if it was their relative's funeral and something like this happened."