Date:Tuesday February 5 2008
The past few weeks have been frantic to say the least. With the 50th anniversary of Munich looming, an array of complications arose around the ceremonies, tributes, one minute silences... But I firmly believe the anniversary should not revolve around these events. We have other tasks at this time.
It started with the club's banner on the stadium: a large picture of the Busby Babes and the words of the United Calypso on it. There were two things about it that caused outrage amongst United fans. First, the line 'a bunch of bouncing Busby Babes' on the banner actually read as 'a bunch of bouncing Babes', the legendary Sir Matt's name omitted from it.
It predictably and rightly brought an uproar and the club quickly acted to correct it. But the AIG logo remained, prompting either Glazer-haters or simply morons to attack the banner with paint bombs. It was cleaned rapidly and fortunately, at the time of writing it suffered no more abuse.
Then came the feud between MUTV and BBC. The guys at the Beeb were reportedly outraged to learn that they will have to pay 5000 pounds for pictures of tomorrow's memorial service, pointing out that it's quite indecent to try and cash in on an event like that.
MUTV responded that BBC can't complain as they charged the club channel for using pictures of George Best's funeral. The Beeb responded it was donated for charity but MUTV wanted proof of it...
How childish, really. It really had the look of a playground bickering over some toys because it's clear for everyone with some common sense that the amounts of money quoted wouldn't have sent neither the BBC nor MUTV into financial oblivion. Fortunately, the aforementioned common sense prevailed and Beeb will be free to show pictures of the ceremony at Old Trafford.
The came the silence or applause issue. First, both City fans and the FA were of the opinion that the applause would be less dangerous, given that morons are prone to disrupt the silence before the two games (England v Switzerland and United v City). Common sense prevailed again and there will be one minute's silence before both games - but nobody is quite sure these are going to be honoured.
'There could be a mixed reaction,' Fergie himself admitted.
'You never know because England fans are a mixture of supporters from all different clubs. I just hope that it goes well because, if it weren't to, it could give encouragement to City fans to misbehave themselves at the derby.'
Why did I write down all these instead of wisely ignoring these things? Why did I bring them up again despite stating we, fans, have other tasks?
Well, exactly because my point is that you have to ignore these things. The Munich tribute is not about some cavemen who can't understand why it's tragic when 23 men die. And it's not about whether the AIG logo should be anywhere near a memorial banner.
I believe the whole anniversary should about what Munich means to you, to me, to us. To us, as United fans. And regardless of what's happening around us, we can all make our very own tributes to those who lost their lives in that crash.
It is not even difficult: you just have to forget Glazers, sponsorship, commercialism. You just have to ignore those who interrupt the silence in any way on Wednesday and particularly, on Sunday. If, understandably, they annoy you, still ignore them. There will be a time to remonstrate with stupid people.
I suggest that you all pay your quite tribute to those players, to the event that shaped Manchester United as we know it now. Only our feelings of this matter, not how the club decide to honour them or how other clubs' fans behave.
Date:Tuesday February 5 2008
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