Sir Alex Ferguson’s open letter will be handed to away fans as they enter Anfield.The letter in full:
“The great support you gave the team here last season has seen our allocation back up to near-full levels. I want you to continue that progress today.
“But today is about much more than not blocking gangways. Today is about thinking hard about what makes United the best club in the world.
“Our rivalry with Liverpool is based on a determination to come out on top – a wish to see us crowned the best against a team that held that honour for so long.
“It cannot and should never be based on personal hatred. Just ten days ago, we heard the terrible, damning truth about the deaths of 96 fans who went to watch their team try and reach the FA Cup final and never came back.
“What happened to them should wake the conscience of everyone connected with the game.
“Our great club stands with our great neighbours Liverpool today to remember that loss and pay tribute to their campaign for justice. I know I can count on you to stand with us in the best traditions of the best fans in the game.
“Yours sincerely, Sir Alex Ferguson.”
Reading between the lines, the letter is aimed at urging Manchester United to respect the Hillsborough tributes that are expected to mark the clash at Anfield and to refrain from any distasteful songs about the tragedy – as were reportedly heard in United’s win over Wigan last week.
One would hope that Ferguson’s advice is heeded and that the match passes off without any incident and that the tribute is marked with the utmost respect.
There is also the small matter of whether Patrice Evra and Luis Suarez shake hands prior to the match, though the signs are that any lingering bitterness between the two will be put on hold as the two arch rivals go head to head in Liverpool’s first home game since the results of the Hillsborough inquiry were reached last week.
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