After Liverpool’s epic win over Manchester City in the Champions League on Wednesday night, post-match discussions were notable for their lack of focus on the impact of the bus attack prior to the game.
It wasn’t just pundits and journalists who failed to see how attacking a team’s bus could effect that side’s ability to perform. City, from what I can see, thought it not worth a mention, either.
The main newspapers on Thursday morning were very light with their coverage of the attack on their back pages, almost as if they were scared of upsetting Liverpool fans.
It was also notable that the one paper that doesn’t care what Liverpool fans think, the S*n, were the only ones to go relatively big with the attack on theirs:
All covered the attack inside, it certainly wasn’t glossed over. But they failed to connect the match, the result, City’s performance and the attack in any meaningful way.
While there is no comparison between bottles and bombs, the fact that so many fans were able to hurl missiles at the City bus should be alarming for all in football.
Nobody had anything more serious with them on Wednesday night, but they could have. Reading reports this morning, it is even mentioned that City feared their coach would be attacked. Two policemen were hurt.
How were the City players to know what was going to hit the bus next, almost one year to the day the Dortmund coach was attacked by bombs, leaving Marc Bartra hospitalised?
After the Dortmund bus was attacked prior to their Champions League match against Monaco, the game was postponed for 24 hours. Dortmund lost that leg 2-3 at home. They lost the away leg the following week 3-1.
Speaking after the first match, Dortmund players and manager were furious that they had to play the game the next day.
Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Nuri Sahin both questioned whether it had been appropriate to play the game so soon, their keeper reported trouble sleeping and manager, Thomas Tuchel described the decision to play the game the following evening as ‘absurd’.
He also claimed he had been ‘totally ignored’ regarding his opinion on the rescheduling.
“We were informed by text message that Uefa was making this decision,” Tuchel told a news conference.
“A decision made in Switzerland that concerns us directly. We will not forget it. It is a very bad feeling.
“A few minutes after this attack, the only question that was asked was, ‘Are you ready to play?’.”
As I mentioned, bombs and bottles are two very different things, but the City coach was so damaged it could not be used to ferry their players back to Manchester. At the time, the City players had no way of knowing what was going to hit the bus next.
Sure, Pep Guardiola’s selection and tactics played their part in the result, as did the Liverpool performance which was committed, focused and clinical but I don’t understand why commentators didn’t even think it worth a mention as they pondered why City weren’t quite themselves.
If they are putting the feelings of one set of fans above the safety of others in the game, the media is in even worse shape than we all imagined.
Failure to take this seriously or trying to wish it away merely makes another attack on another team’s bus more likely.
Who is to say the next set of fans don’t bring something a little more heavy duty?
The rules changed with the attacks in Dortmund and France and hooligans are no longer the main concern.
Of course, I might be getting this completely wrong and missing something fairly obvious. For the life of me, though, I can’t work out what that might be.
I can’t help but imagine if it had been fans from a number of other clubs, the win over City would not be the main focus…