In the week when football tried to come to terms with its responsibilities after the Hillsborough Independent Panel Report, Manchester United issued a statement deploring anti-Liverpool chants made by their fans yesterday, while John Terry and Anton Ferdinand refused to shake hands at Loftus Road.
On Friday Sir Alex Ferguson called for an end to the cycle of vicious chanting between Liverpool and Manchester United fans, in which the tragedies of Hillsborough and the Munich disaster are mocked.
However, during Manchester United's 4-0 win over Wigan, a minority began singing: "You're always the victims, it's never your fault," clearly directed at Liverpool. There was some more general anti-Merseyside mockery, with the Stretford End, as many other groups of supporters might in similar circumstances, adapting the words of "You'll Never Walk Alone" to: "Sign on with hope in your hearts".
For Ferguson, who had called on his club's supporters to show their "greatness" when the two sides meet at Anfield next Sunday, this would have been upsetting. He had said: "Both clubs have suffered tremendous fatalities through football and maybe this is the line in the sand."
Last night Manchester United stated: "The club deplores the chanting. The manager has made his position very clear on this. It is now up to the fans to respect that."
At Loftus Road, Ferdinand refused to shake hands with either Terry or Ashley Cole, who had given evidence on the Chelsea captain's behalf during his trial for racially abusing the Queens Park Rangers defender. The QPR captain, Ji-Sung Park, did not shake Terry's hand when the two met for the pre-match coin toss.Reuse content