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31 May, 2021 21:06

Red flag: Outraged fans turn political hatred on Liverpool owners after member of UK Conservative government welcomed to Anfield

Red flag: Outraged fans turn political hatred on Liverpool owners after member of UK Conservative government welcomed to Anfield

Liverpool fans have blasted the club for inviting a Conservative UK politician onto the turf at Anfield, linking the ruling party to the Hillsborough disaster and social injustice while accusing club bosses of yet more ignorance.

In a now-deleted tweet, the English giants shared a photo of Mims Davies, the Minister for Employment in Boris Johnson's Conservative or Tory government, standing on the hallowed pitch with officials at their home stadium to promote a centrally-run scheme providing paid work placements.

That led to uproar among staggered supporters who questioned why bosses had welcomed Davies to a city with a long history of animosity towards the party, which won a tiny proportion of the vote in the most recent elections across the Labour Party stronghold.

Some readers blasted the timing of the move as particularly insensitive, coming a week after the trial collapsed of two ex-police officers and a solicitor who had been charged with perverting the course of justice for amending police statements after the 1989 Hillsborough disaster.

The families of the 96 people killed in the tragedy, which remains the worst of its kind in British football history, had voiced their dismay at the news as they continue to attempt to find closure decades on from the disaster.

Many still feel that former Conservative prime minister Margaret Thatcher and her government fostered an attitude of hostility towards football fans and a culture that allowed supporters to be falsely blamed for Hillsborough.

Following one of the longest inquests in British history, fans were found in 2016 to have been unlawfully killed due to gross negligence by the police officer in command, with no behavior by supporters contributing to the disaster despite police allegations that it had.

"If you could just go five minutes without doing something that brings shame on our club, like showing Tories around Anfield for example, and especially at such an insensitive time, that would be f*cking marvelous," thundered one infuriated reader on social media, appearing to also refer to the club's part in the failed European Super League, for which American owner John Henry issued a somber video apology to fans.

"Giving a Tory minister a tour of the ground before posting it on your social is the f*cking pits," seethed another.

Liverpool removed the tweet from their official account, but the independent club charity, the Liverpool Foundation, continued to carry the image more than 24 hours later.

"I grew up in Liverpool in the Thatcher era," replied one Liverpudlian in an unhappy reminiscence.

"I was on free school meals, in second-hand clothes, no hope and the Tories kept managing decline in Liverpool. Then Hillsborough. I don’t want them anywhere near my football club."

In its message to more than 66,000 followers, the foundation showed Davies flanked by employees in club outfits, standing on the grass where the Reds celebrated their Premier League title win last year while carrying signs that said 'sport works'.

"Great to welcome [Davies] to Anfield to meet young people on our Kickstart scheme," it proudly said.

"This government funded initiative helps 16-24 year olds at risk of unemployment by giving them the skills and experience needed to thrive in work."

Party leader Johnson is said to have told Davies when she was promoted to her role: "You are the compassionate face of our great party and have a great track record of caring about and delivering on opportunities and equality."

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