Sir Alex Ferguson has vowed to give Liverpool complete support as they pay tribute to the victims of the Hillsborough disaster and urged Manchester United fans to stop chanting about their Anfield counterparts.
United visit Anfield on Sunday in Liverpool’s first home game since the release of the Hillsborough Independent Panel’s report into the 1989 tragedy in which 96 people lost their lives.
The report exonerated Liverpool fans of blame for the tragedy and exposed a huge police cover-up, leading Prime Minister David Cameron to apologise to the relatives of those who died at Sheffield Wednesday’s ground.
However, United’s 4-0 win over Wigan at Old Trafford on Saturday featured a series of songs about Liverpool, one of which – “always the victims, never your fault” – was interpreted as a reaction to the Hillsborough report.
Ferguson, who said he did not hear it, insisted the chant referred only to Luis Suarez, but United released a statement on Saturday evening condemning the chants and the manager reiterated his call for supporters to show respect.
“I didn’t hear it, but everyone seemed to hear it and I could tell that [chief executive] David Gill was disappointed,” he said. “That’s a new chant – it only started after the Suarez situation – but in view of the climate, and having spoken on Friday asking supporters to adhere to the policy that we want to adopt, I was disappointed.
“We are completely in support of Liverpool Football Club at this moment in time, and we understand what those families must have felt reading that report, so it was disappointing to hear that.
“It was a minority, and in our society there is a minority that want to be heard, but as a club we are totally supportive of Liverpool Football Club in this situation they’re in. It’s going to be a very emotional day on Sunday, and we’ll support them in every way we can.”