January 14, 2009

British Soccer Is Calm And Dignified

Especially when it comes to dealing with the opponents' fans.

It's not particularly rare for Liverpool fans to goad Man Utd fans by referring to the Munich air disaster. It doesn't happen frequently, but it does happen. Equally, Man Utd fans have been known to use the Hillsborough tragedy to taunt Liverpool supporters.

No one condones such chants, but I do appreciate that many English football fans possess a pitch-black sense of humour - and for sure, there is nothing blacker (sicker, you might say) than invoking Munich and Hillsborough to wind up your most bitter rivals.

The two sets of Reds have a long history of abusing each other on the terraces, but I can't recall a player ever getting involved. Until now…

John Lawless, who plays for Merseyside lower-league side Marine FC, faces disciplinary action after making an aeroplane gesture that allegedly alluded to the Munich air disaster.

Lawless was given an official police warning at half time during Marine's Unibond League tie against FC United of Manchester at Bury's Gigg Lane on 20 December 2008.

While trotting over to take a corner, Lawless waved his arms in a spiralling aeroplane gesture, an apparent reference to the 1958 Munich air crash, which claimed the lives of eight Man Yoo players, including the prodigious Duncan Edwards.

Immediately after the perceived taunt, stewards had to prevent several angry FC United fans from going onto the pitch to confront the culprit.

After the game, it transpired that Lawless used to be a member of a charming Facebook group called 'Munich 58 Was The Best Thing Ever' (Incidentally, why does Facebook allow this tasteless group to exist?). Classy guy.

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