#jft96; a personal view

Date: 13th June 2016

jft96By Donald C Stewart

Rather than rush out to join the millions of people who felt as I did, that justice had finally been done for the 96 souls that left home and never returned from Hillsborough, I thought I would take a month or so to digest it all. I had expected that we would see some anger and plenty of relief and that came in bucket loads; mainly from the footballing community. I expected dignity and resolve; and that came from the families. What I did not expect, and on reflection, I should have realised it would be coming, was the fan based lesson that has emerged from Merseyside.

I follow Ayr United and have therefore long been of the opinion that anyone with a KA1 postcode may either be dodging soap or hooked up on benefits. With the BBC weighing in with the poverty porn that was The Scheme, those of us who had Kilmarnock down as bitter rivals took more than a moment to chuckle with glee.

Let’s be fair, had The Scheme been filmed in Whitletts or Dalmilling in Ayr, then the laughter would have been 15 miles north of our fair town as we get as good as we give.

And so such rivalry was tested when, as a Director of Ayr United’s Football Academy a new chair some time ago, was proposed who was an ex Chief Executive of Kilmarnock FC. That I have known him for decades did not diminish the questions that I was asking myself as we approved his appointment. Of course such utter nonsense was quickly dispelled as the Academy grew from a pipe dream into the massive success story it is today, thanks in part to his stewardship.

As I listened to the people being touted as successors for Ronnie Deila’s position at Celtic I heard talk of there needing to be someone from the Celtic family. There is a requirement with some that they know the club and its traditions, are aware of its philosophy and its creed and can fit in to be the bridge between the club and the dwindling number of fans sitting in the stands. There was even a suggestion that Aberdeen’s Derek McInnes would not be contemplated because he had played for… (whisper it) … them.

Parochialism remains alive and well, even in the 21st Century.

It was not long after hearing all this on the radio that I saw this video on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o2qU0_P8aVY ) where Liverpool’s rivals, Everton gave the families a minutes applause because of the victory gained for Merseyside, for fans everywhere and for the justice system that never deserved such attention. And yet whilst Merseyside United ensured that pressure was felt for good from two sets of competing fans we still have that awful tribalism that thinks it is all right to refuse a successful manager’s candidacy because he was once an employee of a rival firm; surely an Auld argument that deserves to be binned?

And so the fans that combined their efforts got justice; wouldn’t such effort reap more rewards if we saw it repeated between rivals all over the country…


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