In his latest Metro column, Colin Murray says if football’s sick chants cannot be silenced, then the best alternative is to make sure no-one hears them. Anfield will be more atmospheric than ever for the visit of Manchester United on Sunday (Picture: Rexmailpix) There is not a single thing I can write to change the minds of the small minority of football ‘fans’ who take pleasure in taunting rival supporters about past tragedy. By the same token, there is no magic wand one person can wave that will bestow the same heartless mob with more brain cells or a higher level of moral fibre. The good news is, however, that I don’t need to find the right words or discover some suitable sorcery, because we don’t need to pander to the tiny mob in order to change football culture. We can do it ourselves, and quickly. Last Saturday, at Old Trafford, the vast majority of Manchester United fans were shocked by a pocket of home support who sang, ‘Always the victims, it’s never your fault,’ despite a call from Sir Alex Ferguson himself for respect. These are the people who will tell you it’s just ‘banter’ and ‘part and parcel of the game’, but I have checked the rules and nowhere does it sanction mocking of the dead. What followed was a familiar story, in which the world gets to read and hear more about the negatives than the positives, because the unwanted minority make it their business to drown out the majority of right-thinking, compassionate, positive people. So, all eyes this Sunday will be on Anfield as Liverpool host Manchester United, less than two weeks after the results of the Hillsborough report were published, the contents of which upset and angered many, but provide an opportunity to rebuild bridges. Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has called for an end to the bad taste chanting (Picture: Action Images /Jason Cairnduff) All fingers are crossed ahead of a game that could be the start of a redrawing of the lines between the two great football institutions, a coming together at a time when one club is hurting, a reaching out that emphatically states no longer will either fans accept mocking of the dead, be it Hillsborough, be it Munich, be it anything else. But from now until Sunday there will be a nagging fear that, once again, so few could spoil it for so many. Well, don’t let them. The key word is ‘minority’, and it doesn’t take hard-hitting sanctions or sweeping new regulations to rid our terraces for good of this abhorrent setlist of songs. There is a reason why the majority is called the majority, and that is because there are more of us, and I have first-hand experience of just how effective the majority can be. I know this sounds simplistic, but it works. I have seen the decent majority win the day with my own eyes at Windsor Park, Belfast, as Northern Ireland fans continue to pull together to keep religion and politics away from international football. And while the Football For All campaign still has work to do, not only has it made Windsor Park a more enjoyable and safer environment, the vibe is more electric than it has ever been before – rubbishing the idea that taking gross offensiveness away comes at the expense of atmosphere. One of the key secrets of Northern Ireland’s success has been the bulk of fans singing louder than the few, and that’s all that needs to happen at Anfield this weekend. Drown out chants of ‘victims’ with screams of ‘Glory Glory Man United’ and engulf mentions of Munich with ‘The Fields Of Anfield Road’. It’s simple but it works, without having to confront the bully boys who threaten to ruin it for everybody else. It’s time for the vast majority to sing louder, and for the small minority to be silenced by a sea of positivity.
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