So yesterday Liverpool played Manchester United in the FA Youth Cup at Anfield. It was a pretty dramatic match - there was 5 goals and 4 red cards.
As well as drama on the pitch there was some pretty nasty stuff going on off it:
Sick chants, three arrests and four red cards ruin FA Youth Cup clash between Liverpool and Manchester United
The bitter rivalry between Liverpool and Manchester United marred an FA Youth Cup game at Anfield when away supporters chanted songs about the Hillsborough and Heysel disasters. There were three arrests for drunkenness and six United supporters were ejected in a chaotic quarter-final.
Both sides finished with nine men as United won 3-2 after coming back from two goals down. Old Trafford officials were appalled by the conduct of some fans - two were spoken to by police after allegedly setting off flares - and have vowed to take severe action if anyone involved can be identified. A United spokesman said: 'Singing songs about the Hillsborough and Heysel tragedies is disgraceful. We will deal harshly with anyone brought to our attention.'
John Aldridge, who played for Liverpool in 1989 when 96 fans lost their lives after going to watch an FA Cup semi-final at Hillsborough, was among a crowd of more than 10,000. He was dismayed at how the atmosphere degenerated. He said: 'I have never seen anything like that before at a youth game and I never want to see anything like it again. It was disgusting. You get used to banter from United fans when they come to Anfield but to hear those songs about Heysel and Hillsborough was just horrible. The level of abuse was absolutely sickening. There was evidently a group who had just come to cause problems and I felt sorry for the families in the Manchester United end who just wanted to watch a game of football.'
Obviously those kind of songs are terrible, and it should be pointed out that there's plenty of united fans who would never sing that kind of thing, just as there's some Liverpool fans who sing equally horrible things about Munich (although I didn't see anything like that yesterday, probably because the kop was full of families with young children) - it's terrible but it happens every time we play each other. It's a bit more shocking when it happens at youth games though.
- Is it good for players to experience playing in that kind of hostile atmosphere at a young age so they're more prepared for the first team?
- It was obvious that the players were pumped up - Adam Morgan clearly hates mancs and Ravel Morrison doesn't seem to be the biggest fan of scousers... is it good that the players obviously identify with their club and their rivalries or is this just going to make the bile that's sung more likely to not go away in future if players are taught from a young age to get stuck in and be aggressive in these games, keeping the rivalry going?
- Aaaaand is it a bit of a waste in terms of their development if games involving some of the best academies in the country descend into madness with players kicking each other all over the place rather than being a good test of their footballing ability against players of a similar level?
- If you watched the match how did you think the 2 teams did? Did the best team win? Just how shite was the ref (for both teams to be fair), and which players are you most confident have the ability to make the break through to the first team?