Finnan hurt by “lies” against him

Steve Finnan has told the official Liverpool FC website that he was hurt by allegations he made racist remarks at Old Trafford in January.

Two Manchester United supporters reported Finnan to the police after claiming they lip-read the player making comments of a racist nature to Patrice Evra towards the end of the clash between Liverpool and United. Liverpool were absolutely stunned to hear the accusations, especially considering the first the club knew of it was through the media. Liverpool brought in a lip-reader to look at the alleged incident and this lip-reader confirmed the allegations were false. Ian Cotton the Liverpool club spokesman was clear: “The first either the club or the player knew about this matter was through the media. There has been absolutely no contact from the Greater Manchester police. We have subsequently had a video of the match analysed by a lip-reader, who has told us there is nothing to support this outrageous slur. The player vehemently denies these allegations. He has not used any such language.”

Greater Manchester Police confirmed they were “investigating” the complaints, which coincidentally only appeared after Liverpool had knocked Manchester United out of the FA Cup.

Speaking to the official LFC website, Finnan made it clear how upset he was at the allegations: “I was astonished when I heard of the accusations and I categorically deny them. It was disappointing to read the stories in the press. To suggest I would use racist language is very hurtful.”

Finnan says he shouldn’t really need to say anything about this, but
feels he better put his side of the story across: “I don’t really feel
I should have to come out and say I didn’t say this or I didn’t say
that, but because of what has been said and written I think it’s
important I do respond and set the record straight. I didn’t say what
has been alleged. It’s all lies.”

Liverpool’s win over United in the FA Cup has prompted what seems
higher than ever levels of dubious reporting by the media.
Unfortunately with football it’s virtually impossible to be passionate
about the game without being passionate about your team. One reporter,
who has recently taken great pleasure in emphasising all of the
negatives about Liverpool, whenever he’s been able to, is the
Guardian’s Daniel Taylor. Daniel, or Danny as he’s known sometimes, is
a Nottingham Forest supporter. Forest are a team we remember as
Liverpool fans for various reasons, but it turns out that Danny feels
Liverpool are one of his most hated clubs. He’s written a book on his
beloved Forest and made it clear in interviews at the time of its
launch that he does not like Liverpool. Why the Guardian allows him to
report his sensationalist stories – stories that would not look out of
place in the paper we don’t buy – is beyond us. Maybe nobody checks
them, maybe they believe him. Either way, his stories lack any real
balance, and are as out of kilter as those written by Joe Lovejoy, the
Manchester United fanatic who writes for The Times.

Rick Parry wrote in LFC magazine this week about the FA Cup victory at
Anfield which seems to have set off the anti-Liverpool reporting. The
Reds chief executive said: “Our victory was marred by the dreadful
injury to Alan Smith and the subsequent bad publicity about some of the
chanting. This was followed by an attack on the ambulance taking the
player to hospital. Of course we were quick to condemn the behaviour of
some of our fans following the injury. It’s unacceptable and we won’t
shy away from saying so although we acknowledge those who gave the
player tremendous applause as he left the field. We utterly condemn any
Munich songs or offensive gestures. Some of the chanting against Gary
Neville, regardless of his previous behaviour, was also near the
knuckle.”

Parry had no need to mention these incidents in the official club
magazine, but was quite brave to do so. Unfortunately his general
policy of apologising unconditionally leaves him open to those who are
looking to twist the knife. He apologises, and says that nothing makes
any of the behaviour acceptable. This is true, none if it is
particularly acceptable, but is it understandable? Gary Neville is
still saying he did nothing wrong at Old Trafford in January, appealing
against his fine and making out that he should be able to do all the
crowd-baiting he likes. Hopefully the FA will answer him with a
suspension, but that would be out of character for the FA. He’s
dragging something on that could have been more or less forgotten by
now. The chanting against Smith would have been funny had the words of
the song not been true. Had Smith walked off the field after five
minutes of treatment there would be no condemnation now. What’s more
upsetting are the allegations that Liverpool fans sang songs about
Munich. If those songs were sung they certainly weren’t sung by great
numbers of fans in some big rendition like we have for You’ll Never
Walk Alone. Many match goers genuinely say they heard none of these
songs. There is no excuse for singing those types of song, even if it
is in response to what some United supporters were doing and singing.
Jibes about Hillsborough and Heysel amongst others have been clearly
heard being sung by United fans – even some members of the press box
managed to turn off their selective deafness and admitted hearing it.
Where’s the United apology? We won’t hold our breaths. As for the
ambulance, again it is not acceptable to carry out any kind of attack
on an ambulance. The truth is that the attack consisted of a few
plastic glasses being thrown, not stones, not attempts to turn it over.
A few mindless idiots who bring shame on the club, helped along by a
press that seem happy to extend the myths The Sun started all those
years ago.

Parry didn’t mention the human waste missiles that had been reported by
some newspapers – no doubt because there was no truth whatsoever in the
allegations. If there had been, the CCTV cameras would have caught it
and we’d have heard about it by now. If a newspaper prints lies it can
be brought to task. If it exaggerates the truth and hides other parts
of the truth then it’s harder to do anything about it. So to stop the
half-truths from being printed, Liverpool fans need to follow the lead
of the majority by not bringing themselves down to the level of those
from the other side. It’s understandable if someone feels they should
respond to a Hillsborough song by singing one about Munich, but it’s
unacceptable. If you don’t think you can manage that at the game then
don’t go – for the sake of the club you love stay at home and watch the
game on TV. Give your ticket to someone who has a video mobile phone
and ask them to record any chants they hear, any gestures they see.
Then make sure those videos are seen. Whatever you do, don’t sing to
their level, and Liverpool fans can keep the reputation earned when we
had the likes of Shankly and Paisley in charge.