Tuesday 20 February 2018

Mark Chapman’s moving address on BBC radio sums up the thoughts of every Mancunian ahead of Europa League final

Chapman interviewing Ander Herrera at United's end of season awards. Getty
Chapman interviewing Ander Herrera at United's end of season awards. Getty

The broadcaster Mark Chapman has been praised by the listeners of BBC Radio 5Live for speaking movingly about Monday evening’s terror attack in Manchester, in an address that struck a chord with those tuning into the station.

Chapman was presenting the radio station’s coverage of the Europa League final between Manchester United and Ajax and about to hand over to the match commentators when he spoke emotionally about the attack, as well as the city’s reaction to it.

“I’m proud to call Manchester my city,” Chapman said live on air immediately before kick-off.

“The place where I grew up, the place where I live and the place where my family and my children go out, like so many did on Monday night and never came back. I love the place and I’m in love with the place.

“The team here tonight are from that city and many will want them to win for the city. Some fans of other clubs may not want them to, but do you know what? In the context of football, that’s fine, because football divides us but only in a pantomime way.

“What unites all our great cities is love, friendship, community and hopefully opportunity. Only, and just indulge me this one line, when it comes to Manchester, as Tony Wilson said: ‘we do things differently.’

“This is only a game of football – it doesn’t really matter. And I’ll be honest with you, I don’t massively want to be here. I want to be at home, cuddling my kids and telling them that we’ll go to the Arena again to a gig, and we’ll sing and dance but we will never forget the victims of Monday night.

“But we are here, all of us are here. And we will do our best to bring this to you as well as we possibly can. Treating it as a football match with importance and with so much emotion for people back home.”

Chapman’s emotional address was immediately praised by listeners on Twitter.

“Emotional intro to the Europa League final from Mark Chapman,” Kevin Hatchard wrote on Twitter. “Powerful, heartfelt radio.”

Ben Van der Velde wrote: “Mark Chapman, thank you for that into to the Europa League final. As heartfelt, warm, humane and moving piece of radio as I have ever heard.”

“Incredibly moving words from Mark Chapman just now,” added David Sagner.

Chapman was born in Rochdale but spent the majority of his youth in Sale, a town in Trafford, Greater Manchester. He attended Manchester Grammar School and is a Manchester United supporters.

He currently lives in the city with his wife and their three children.

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