10 Ways Manchester United and Liverpool Fans Hate Each Other That Need to Stop

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10 Ways Manchester United and Liverpool Fans Hate Each Other That Need to Stop

Not all Manchester United and Liverpool fans hate each other...but many do.

Hate is a strong word, but it doesn't in any way overstate the feelings of bitterness and rivalry between the Kop and the Stretford End.

In a world where Gary Speed has recently committed suicide because of depression and where decent human beings died in Munich and at Hillsborough, it's time the hatred stopped.

And yet this coming Saturday, there is yet another factor designed to inflame a rivalry that is as old as professional football and nearly as old as two of the greatest cities in the UK.

Fate could not have come up with a more perverse script than the Fourth Round FA Cup Draw. With Luis Suarez found guilty of racially abusing Patrice Evra and John Terry about to face charges of racially abusing Anton Ferdinand, the worst scenario for the FA was Liverpool vs United and QPR vs Chelsea.

Sir Alex Ferguson has once again appealed to United fans with tickets to behave appropriately, sadly not also appealing to end the disrespectful songs.

However, while he was widely quoted as suggesting there was no need for peace talks with Liverpool over the Suarez affair, he did appeal before the October match for an end to the Munich and Hillsborough chants.

From the Liverpool side, there have been disappointing responses to the racial abuse case that have inflamed the rivalry. What was astonishing was the disconnect between the club's trenchant claims of anti-racism and the utter refusal to apologise for Patrice Evra's personal abuse.

This lack of grace cuts right against some of the great work that the club's most loyal supporters have done in the past. The Spirit of Shankly embodies those values:

And Rafa Benitez seems now to have been more humanistic than Dalglish, as evidenced in his and his players' silent respect for the Hillsborough victims in 2005:

While Ferguson was made to seem uncaring when asked whether United would engage in peace talks over the Suarez/Evra incident, it was not the right question for the football manager, and he simply referred to his regret that the question was coming through the media rather than direct to United.

The Manchester club were unlikely to respond readily to a request anyhow, while Liverpool steadfastly publicly proclaimed Suarez's innocence and attacked the FA.

However, like Ferguson, Dalglish has been quoted in the past as recognising that Liverpool fans had toned down their abusive chants and songs:

So let us be clear here.

In identifying past abusive and hate-fueled behaviour by both sets of fans, we are not in any way applauding or condoning.

The world is filled with hatred and misery. Millions of people's lives have been lost in historic sectarian wars and incidents. None of those made the world a better place. What did count, however, was the way decent human beings responded.

45,000 Liverpool and 75,000 United fans support their club with a passion at home matches. A declining number let that spill over into vile and bitter abuse.

Football is the greatest game in the world and has often brought millions of good and decent people into a common appreciation of the "beautiful game" and a shared set of values. Who, for example, could ever forget the exemplary behaviour of 80,000 Celtic fans in Seville?

United and Liverpool are the two greatest clubs ever in English football and among the greatest in the world. They have carved over 50 major trophies each from the footballing landscape, and between them, dominated English football over the last 50 years.

There is surely enough decency and fair and honest respect to build on and move forward from the despicable and sometimes execrable behaviours of the past. The recent Twitter wars over the Suarez case descended far too often into animalistic responses that proper supporters should reject.

There is a time to recognise great achievements of your own club, and that is all the time. But there is also a place for acknowledgement of others' success. I was proud to be British when I watched Liverpool recover to beat AC Milan in the Champions League because United weren't involved.

There is also a time for the supporters of both clubs who can rightly sit at the top of the tree of past success to come together with an entreaty to end the barbarism and come together.

There is plenty else to unite on: a joint front against City and the worst excesses of Mammon would be a good place to start.

Sir Alex has called on supporters to be positive, witty and loud. The ghost of Suarez will be hanging over Anfield on Saturday. Let's hope the Liverpool fans have the decency not to verbally lynch Evra at the same time.

Both United and Liverpool could do with a great game of football played in a decent spirit of fairness and sportsmanship.  

To cement a new good-natured discord, would an apology from Liverpool and a handshake between Evra and Suarez be too much to ask for before rivalries are renewed on 11 February?

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