I decided to wait at least 24 hours before writing about the incident prior to the Champions League fixture last night. I wanted to allow time to gather my thoughts, and write the bit from the head, rather than heart.
I also wanted to see what the reaction was. I wanted to see how ex pros, pundits and media in general reported the incident. Two Merseyside police officers were injured in the incident last night, suffering cuts etc. It really surprises me that those where the only casualties.
The scenes, when looked at in the cold light of day, could really have been so much worse. Aside from players being injured from shattering glass, which was the case in Dortmund, fans were so close to the bus. Considering the visibility, and close proximity of the crowd, the driver could easily have lost control.
Social Media World:
From the moment the fixture was announced there was talk on social media of a ‘special’ welcome. It was followed by potings such as the one below.
The Merseyside police have said that announcing a route change didn’t have an impact on the incident yesterday. The fact is that once announced, the route change was retweeted and spread across social media once again.
Two of their officers were injured in the incident, and videos have popped up all over the internet. The Merseyside police have appealed for footage from the night. But with more than a week of knowing what was planned this seems more like going through the motions.
I am not saying the police are to blame. Clearly it was the Liverpool fans who gathered to throw flares, bottles etc who are to blame. I do however think the Merseyside were under prepared to provide the security the fixture clearly needed.
I was shocked, although not really surprised, to hear no real comments condemning the incident. Yes, Jurgen Klopp came out before the game, and that was appreciated. Pundits on ESPNFC failed to mention it on both Wednesday and Thursday nights program.
Had these scenes been in Russia, Italy or any host of other European countries more comment would have been made. In La Liga, in 2014, Valencia fans did similar to the Atletico Madrid bus before their league meeting. We have seen the threats of hooligans from most European countries talked about on a consistent basis since the 1980’s. Fears over violence in Russia is just the latest.
Even in England similar acts have been condemned before. The final game at the Boleyn ground was delayed by 45 minutes because West Ham fans attacked the United bus on its way to the ground.
But what were the back pages after each game? Surely the reaction was the same right? Below was the Sun’s back page from the day after the United bus was attacked:
Anything similar from yesterdays back pages?
Players Refuse To Blame Loss On Attack:
Kevin De Bruyne was the latest Manchester City player to publicly come out to distant the attack from the loss. For me I think it did affect the Blues, they were clearly off their game for the first half in particular. That said, I understand why the comments were made.
When West Ham attacked the Manchester United team bus, Wayne Rooney came out to express his disappointment at the incident. For Manchester City it was Pep Guardiola and coach Manel Estiarte who spoke out over the incident.
Liverpool player, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, has said that the City players were shaken. However he was referring to the atmosphere inside Anfield, not the bus trip into the ground. Yes, the atmosphere inside the stadium was hostile, but I am not sure that was the reason. If it was, then City would not have improved as the game went on.
UEFA Charges Liverpool:
News came today that UEFA are going to be investigating the incident in Liverpool. Charging the Merseyside club on four counts we really shouldn’t hold our breath for significant action. Just ask Thomas Tuchel, whose Dortmund side suffered a bomb attack on their bus.
UEFA ruled that the German side should be okay to play the game a mere 24 hours later. This time UEFA will rule on the incident on May 31st, long after this tie is done and dusted. Any punishment handed down to Liverpool will not take effect until next season.
Being charged for a breach of Article 16, which states the home club is somewhat responsible for crowd safety and control both inside and outside the stadium. It was social media which was used to organize this greeting for the Blues bus, and it could also be social media which brings them to justice.
Footage, from inside and outside the coach, clearly shows what was happening. The claims that it was ‘just a dozen or so non fans’ is easily dismissed. The constant crashing sounds from inside the coach, people standing on top of Police vans and the close proximity to the coach of the fans, with no one getting pulled out by police doesn’t look good.
We have heard figures about how many officers were injured. We have heard that the police are appealing for witnesses. We are yet to hear about how many arrests were made that night.