It’s unfortunate in many ways, but a seeming apprehension over how fans will respond to the Hillsborough commemoration is overshadowing the match itself between Manchester United and Liverpool this weekend. Sir Alex Ferguson has written a letter appealing to fans to uphold the great traditions of the club.
He also responded to questions about how it might affect his players’ preparation:
“It’s a possibility, I don’t deny that,” said Ferguson.
“Human nature can be that way. When we played Manchester City for the 50th anniversary of Munich the place was so flat in the dressing room before the game. I even felt it myself.
“We just couldn’t perform and were glad to get it out the way.
“It was such an emotional day for us and it could be that way on Sunday.”
I suppose a major commemoration was inevitable, but after such a simple and tasteful gesture at Everton, to have this kind of media build-up seems to have undermined the purpose of remembering an event that affected all English football supporters, a lesson further underlined in light of evidence of warning letters written to the FA over the ground before 1989.