Police were forced to take down an offensive banner on the outskirts of Manchester which greeted travelling Liverpool fans for the Europa League last-16 clash at Old Trafford on Thursday.
A makeshift banner with the word ‘murderers’ was displayed on the bridge over the M602 in Salford, just a couple of miles from United’s Old Trafford stadium and a route used by many Liverpool supporters heading to the game.
The banner shamefully referenced the date of the Hillsborough disaster, in which 96 Liverpool fans died at the FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest.
— Anfield HQ (@AnfieldHQ) March 17, 2016
During last week’s first leg at Anfield, won 2-0 by the hosts, a number of offensive chants in reference to the tragedy were sung by a large section of the away end.
“The Sun were right, you’re murderers” was the chant ringing around the away end at Anfield last week – Manchester United were not punished by Uefa for their fan’s behaviour.
Huge banner hung from the bridge at the end of the M602 reads ‘murderers’.
— James Pearce (@JamesPearceEcho) March 17, 2016
A spokesperson for Greater Manchester Police gave an official statement: “At around 5:15pm on Thursday 17 March 2016, police were made aware of an offensive banner that had been hung over a bridge on the M602 prior to the Manchester United v Liverpool match at Old Trafford.”
“The banner was located and officers were immediately dispatched and the banner was taken down.”
Greater Manchester Police
Both Liverpool and Manchester United fans have poor reputations for hanging offensive banners. A sign hanging in the away end bearing the words ‘Hang the Roma 4’, a reference to 4 Manchester United supporters who were convicted but never jailed in 2007 for fighting with police in the Italian capital, was quickly removed.
Midway through the second half there were two very faint separate ‘murderers’ chants from the Stretford End but both died out almost immediately.
Following the latest banner incident, previous images of indecent banners from Liverpool fans have re-emerged on social media, one appearing to reference the Munich air disaster:
— Chubbed (@AndrewH_1999) March 17, 2016
— Love is all you Need (@lovelifewhy) March 17, 2016
There is no place in football for any of this tasteless nonsense.