Ahead of the highly anticipated clash with Liverpool on Sunday, Ferguson urges fans to stand with 'great neighbors' Liverpool at Anfield.
All eyes will be on Anfield this Sunday as two great rivals - Manchester United and Liverpool go head to head for the first time after the milestone verdict of the Hillsborough Independent Panel that vindicated Liverpool supporters of any blame for the loss of 96 supporters’ lives at Hillsborough in 1989.
The clash against arch rivals Manchester United is Liverpool’s first home fixture since the Hillsborough verdict, and there will be a positive buzz among the supporters of the Merseyside club for obvious reasons.
This fixture between arguably the two most successful clubs in England has never been short of controversy, and now the disgraceful reaction of some Manchester United fans that were heard chanting "always the victims, never your fault" - referring to the Liverpool fans, during the club’s last home league fixture against Wigan Athletic, has prompted Sir Alex Ferguson to write an open-letter to the travelling supporters of the club.
Liverpool has planned a number of special tributes to be paid to the victims of the Hillsborough disaster and their families at Anfield, and Sir Alex Ferguson has urged Manchester United fans to show respect and stand with “great neighbours Liverpool today to remember that (Hillsborough) loss and pay tribute to their campaign for justice.” ahead of the high voltage clash between the two great English clubs.
Despite the ever increasing difference in league standings between the two clubs over the past few seasons, the fixture between Liverpool and Manchester united is one of the biggest and most anticipated matches of the football calendar, and it won’t be any different this Sunday.
The reactions to Hillsborough tributes is not the only reason why all eyes will be on Anfield this Sunday, as the matter of whether Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra will shake hands before the match still lingers. It's about time these two put their animosity and hatred towards the other behind them, and focus solely on their game when they meet in the Premier League at Anfield on Sunday.
One hopes that Sunday’s mouth-watering clash between Liverpool and Manchester United will be remembered only for footballing reasons and tributes paid to the Hillsborough victims.
Here’s the full content of the open-letter that is to be handed to the travelling Manchester United fans as they enter Anfield on Sunday:
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.”