In the aftermath of ugly scenes at Athens’ Olympic Stadium prior to the AC Milan/Liverpool Champions League final, UEFA director of communications William Galliard has dubbed the latter’s fans “the worst in Europe”. The Fiver’s Barry Glendenning and Tom Lutz respond in their typical fashion.
“What other set of fans steal tickets from their fellow supporters or out of the hands of children?” he wailed. “We know who caused most of the problems in Athens.” Monsieur Gaillard’s outburst prompted a predictable level of whining on Merseyside that was so high-pitched only dogs with particularly good hearing could make it out it. Luckily, the Fiver’s highly literate pooch Despond was able to translate and, for an extra bowl of Winalot and a 10-minute scratch of his flea-infested tum-tum, was happy to tell us what Liverpool chief executive Rick Parry had to say.
“The shortcomings in the management of the situation in Athens were apparent to anyone who was there,” aye-ayed Parry shrilly, neglecting to mention that the shortcomings in question were particularly apparent to (a) the thousands of ticketless supporters who took full advantage of them by storming the gates of the stadium and risking a repeat of the Hillsborough disaster and (b) the thousands of ticket-bearing fans who were locked outside by security staff who were, presumably, trying to prevent a repeat of the Hillsborough disaster.
Liverpool FC supporters’ club spokesman Les Lawson was equally miffed. “This is typical of Uefa,” he fumed. “Rather than look at their own shortcomings they want to shove the blame somewhere else.” Although Les is correct … up to a point, his attitude is typical of Liverpool fans. Rather than look at their own shortcomings they want to shove the blame somewhere else.