English newspaper slammed for 'vile' article that claims Liverpool fans are partly to blame for Anfield violence
An English newspaper has removed an article from its website after coming in for heavy criticism for an article that alleged that Liverpool fans were culpable for the violent scenes ahead of the Champions League semi-final against Roma on Tuesday night.
The Reds emerged from their first leg tie as 5-2 winners but the victory was overshadowed by an attack by Roma fans on a 53-year-old Liverpool supporter from Meath. Sean Cox remains in hospital after suffering serious injuries.
Writing in The Daily Express, Colin Mafham claims that violence follows Liverpool supporters around, and Roma fans may have been incited to start trouble due to Liverpool's previous reputation.
"Why does trouble seem to follow them like bees round a honey pot?," the author asked of Reds supporters.
"It's not the players who produced that performance who I have an issue with, it's some of the people who 'follow' them that frighten the living daylights out of me.
"You would have thought the deaths of 39 Italians at the European Cup final Liverpool lost to Juventus in 1985 - plus the five year ban on English clubs that consequently came after that - would have had a sobering effect."
The writer also addressed the Sean Cox situation and claimed that Liverpool fans are partly to blame for the violence that occurred.
"Why is a 53-year-old man now seemingly fighting for his life, and two Italians being held on suspicion of attempted murder, before a football match involving Liverpool?," he said.
"When you have a team capable of playing the joyous football Liverpool have for most of this season, how on earth are their fans always seemingly involved in such horrific altercations on big European nights."
"No one is suggesting that the violence that erupted on Tuesday night was solely the fault of Liverpool fans," he adds.
"Their visitors from Rome were clearly just as thuggish, and just as frightening.
"But there are suggestions that the reputation of Liverpool supporters had gone before them and Roman yobs had simply decided to get in first, and with such awful consequences. It's not right, but it does again highlight a common denominator."
The reaction to the piece on social media was strong, while the Liverpool Echo has published an article refuting the claims, calling the original piece 'vile'. The Daily Express has now removed the article. Here is a sample of the criticism on social media.
Brilliant by @prenno and the Echo for calling out @Daily_Express for their shocking article.— Ste Hoare (@stehoare) April 26, 2018
Southern press once again trying to blame Liverpool fans for an incident where they did nothing wrong. All too familiar. https://t.co/AseMPhDNgN
Genuinely can't believe I've just read a @Daily_Express article in 2018 blame Liverpool fans for Hillsborough and say it's our fans fault someone got stabbed by Italian hooligans because a few bottles got thrown at a bullet proof bus— Mark Thomas (@Mark15Thomas) April 26, 2018