What Alan Davies *actually* said about Liverpool
** I've blocked a few people already. I'd rather not have to. I'm not in for personal attacks; I'd much rather the conversation were about the subject at hand. I'm inï»¿ support of Alan, but I'll happily allow comments that go either way provided it's not rudeness for the sake of it. ** Let's put this to bed. He clearly says that the Hillsbrough disaster is one of the worst things to happen in his lifetime. All he's really saying is that life goes on, and actually their policy of refusing to play on a specific day is unique among many clubs that have suffered similar tragedies. What's more, their policy also has consequences on other teams: in this case Chelsea have got a tough evening kick off on the Sunday three days before having to compete against the strongest team in European football currently. (As an aside, his observations about Kenny Dalglish are spot-on.)
Now that there have been a lot of comments (both in support and against Alan Davies), I wanted to offer a few thoughts that come across.
1) The notion that being offended or outraged adds to an argument is fallacious. Perhaps Davies could have formed his argument in more careful language, but that doesn't change the essence of his argument.
2) It strikes me that detractors of Davies react in a very similar way to the way religious people react when they feel their religion is being questioned. For example, there are a lot of catholics out there that become very defensive over the issue of child abuse in the catholic church: it's as if someone else's scrutiny somehow reflects very personally on them, when in fact there was a larger issue at stake to begin with. *I'm not for one second comparing Hillsbrough to child abuse*, but I do think there is an allegorical nature to the two: it is impossible to criticise an idea without criticising people who subscribe to that idea, because to the recipients of such an act, the two are indistinguishable.
3) As an extension of (2), the unwillingness of Davies' critics to see beyond the coarse language and examine his issue at face value has another consequence: it makes talking about the Hillsbrough disaster almost taboo. It creates a climate where any opinion offered that isn't in whole-hearted support is to be damned, no matter how valid that opinion is.
4) What Davies said and a more general support for the Justice for 96 campaign are not incompatible. In fact, to bring up that campaign sidesteps the issue of memorials somewhat.
5) I think the part that leaves me feeling slightly uncomfortable is that all this special dispensation gives the notion that one death should mean more or less than any other. All deaths are a tragedy, and Liverpool's insistence that the ones they've suffered merit a higher consideration than, say, Munich '58 devalues those deaths a little. Now that United have played on the anniversary, if they asked the FA next season to not play on their date,ï»¿ would they agree? Or has the precedent been set?
6) If we take that Liverpool aren't ever going to play on the 15th, then why don't the FA always ensure that FA Cup weekend doesn't clash with it? For example, the FA cup semis could have just as easily been staged this weekend just gone. That way, if Liverpool were to have a game postponed, it would just be a league match. Part of the problem here is that the FA are extra-reluctant to schedule the FA Cup match at any point other than this weekend. The FA know about the sensitivity of this date, and could have taken steps to anticipate Liverpool being in the semi-final well in advance. Rescheduling league matches happens all the time: suppose it was a league match this Saturday: it could have been brought forward to the Friday (to Chelsea's advantage).