Thursday, 16 December 2004


Non-league Exeter City have been drawn against Manchester United at Old Trafford in the 3rd round of the FA Cup. A massive financial boost for them as they will be able to live comfortably for a while on their cut of the gate. However if they are lucky enough to bag a goal, they have been banned from celebrating in their regular fashion by Manchester United fans.

The side’s sponsors Flybe encourage Exeter’s players to do an aeroplane impression when they score. For this they pay the £1,000. Nice, a wee bit corporate but harmless, a bit of fun and a grand in the back pocket of the goalscorer. Manchester United fans however claim that to do that at Old Trafford will be disrespectful to those who died in the Munich Air Disaster. Of 1958.

For one, no one would be doing it to mock anyone at Manchester United or anyone who died on a plane. I mean they’re not going to spread their arms and crash their heads onto the ground in celebration. For another it wasn’t last week it was 46 years ago. A tragedy. Everyone who follows football knows about it and knows about the great talents lost. In particular the 19 year old Duncan Edwards. However not something anyone should have to check themselves about when making any casual reference to air travel.

This spoil the party whingeing is almost fascistic. Where do Man U fans get off trying to censor anyone? Are they so sensitive that the mere sight of a plane or even someone spreading their arms to imitate one will cause offence. Exeter being minnows have of course little or no chance of scoring a goal, which makes this all the more petty.

I take it that this means that all players from all teams are similarly banned from celebrating a goal in this fashion?

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