On Sunday 10th February, Manchester City travel to Old Trafford for their second derby game of the season and there are increasing fears that a planned minute’s silence to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Munich air disaster will be ruined by a minority of visiting fans.
Indeed, The Guardian reports that offensive chants regarding the occasion could be heard at the City of Manchester Stadium recently, and that Manchester City’s official supporter’s club have asked United to consider switching from a minute’s silence to a minute’s applause instead.
The letter says: “We plead with Manchester United to change from the proposed minute’s silence to a minute’s applause to allow all true football fans a chance to show their respects. In this way any idiots who do not share these views will be drowned out rather than highlighted. We think it is obvious that if there is a minute’s silence some fool will interrupt it and this will reflect very badly not only on Manchester City but on Manchester and football supporters in general.”
While the applause might be more effective in drowning out dissenting voices, surely a sombre minute of silence is more suitable for this emotive commemoration. The one minute applause has become a modern way of celebrating the life of a former footballer after his passing, not several players who perished in an airplane crash fifty years ago.