Belfast Telegraph

Ferguson: Fans will behave

Sir Alex Ferguson expects Manchester United's visit to Liverpool later this month to pass off without a problem as he called for an end to the hostile rivalry between the two clubs.

Encounters between England's two most successful teams have become increasingly tense in recent times.

Ferguson said: "There is such a focus on it at the moment that fans will be on their best behaviour."

Last season was particularly bad, with Luis Suarez eventually being found to have racially abused Patrice Evra at Anfield, then failing to shake the defender's hand during the Old Trafford return.

Supporters have wasted no effort in trying to goad their opponents with particularly vile chants about Hillsborough and Munich, paying scant respect to the 96 Liverpool fans who died in Sheffield or the 21 who were killed coming back from a European Cup tie in Belgrade 31 years earlier.

However, in the wake of this week's Hillsborough Independent Panel's report which cleared Liverpool supporters of any blame in the 1989 tragedy, a chance exists for some of the edges to be taken off a rivalry that will always exist due to the nature of the two clubs.

Ferguson certainly hopes so and, with the eyes of a nation on them next Sunday, the Scot feels tempers will remain in check.

"It is a moment for those two great clubs to show why they are great clubs and I don't anticipate any problems," he added.

"Both clubs have suffered fatalities through football and the fact we are playing them after the findings we have been reading about over the last couple of days does bring a focus to it.

"You would hope that maybe this is a line in the sand in terms of how the supporters behave with one another."


From Belfast Telegraph