Sports Letter: Inevitability of spoiled silence

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The Independent Online
Sir: I am a Leeds United fan, and have been since I was a young boy. I am a season ticket-holder and I have joined the Club Membership Scheme, which is the only means of obtaining away game tickets. I could not attend the Blackburn game, and watched it at home.

There have been games, at which I was present, where the crowd was asked, as a mark of respect, to hold a minute's silence. This could be for an anonymous Fifa official, England's World Cup-winning captain or for a manager held in high regard in the game. At the Arsenal-Leeds fixture, you could have heard a pin drop for the minute set aside for Bobby Moore. I was awestruck by the emotion generated by such a large crowd paying homage to a model professional. I knew, however, that Sir Matt Busby would not be afforded the same treatment.

Shortly after the premature death of Don Revie, through illness, Manchester United fans began a truly distasteful form of baiting us. It would appear that motor neurone disease had some sort of humourous ring to it, and it caused them great hilarity. I believe this line of comedy was fostered by the equally horrifying Munich air crash repertoire of songs, but was indefensible. The seeds were sown for heightening antagonism between the two clubs.

Our chairman, Leslie Silver, has rightly apologised on behalf of the club to Manchester United FC. Incidentally, the club has done everything in its power to curb the Munich songs. I have heard this sort of abuse only twice this season.

Yours faithfully

R M O'SHEA

Beckenham, Kent

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