Keep your money! Hillsborough charity rejects Alan Davies' donation
Published 00:01 11/04/12 By Paul Byrne
Hillsborough families have rejected an Alan Davies donation after his disaster rant.
He offered £1,000 to make amends after saying it was “ridiculous” Liverpool do not play on the anniversary but his cash was snubbed and he also faced death threats.
The comedian faced a huge storm of protest yesterday after he declared Liverpool should be made to play on the anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster.
The TV star received an angry snub from the Justice Campaign in the wake of his controversial remarks – and was subjected to death threats on Twitter.
Arsenal fanatic Davies offered a £1,000 donation to the campaign following the uproar but organisers said they would not accept it.
His comments provoked outrage from families who lost loved ones in the crush on the terraces at the 1989 FA Cup semi-final in Sheffield. Liverpool do not play on the anniversary of the tragedy as a memorial service is held at Anfield every year, attended by fans, officials and players.
Anne Williams, whose 15-year-old son Kevin died, said: “Alan Davies is wrong. April 15 is a day to remember the 96 fans who lost their lives. They went to a football match and never came home. None of the families have had justice yet and this is just like rubbing salt into the wounds.”
But Twitter users who bombarded Davies with menacing abuse were accused of going too far.
One tweet said “just try going to liverpool now you will ****ing die.
A spokeswoman for Hillsborough victims’ families condemned the vile messages directed at Davies, although she insisted his views were wrong.
Liverpool will play their FA Cup semi-final against great rivals Everton on Saturday to avoid the next day’s 23rd anniversary of the tragedy which claimed the lives of 96 Liverpool fans.
But Davies said it was unfair because Chelsea will play the other semi against Tottenham on Sunday just three days before their Champions League last-four clash with Barcelona.
During his internet podcast rant, the Jonathan Creek and QI star said: “Liverpool and the 15th – that gets on my t**s that s**t.
“What are you talking about, we won’t play on the day? Why can’t they?”
And referring to the 1985 Heysel Stadium disaster, where 39 Italian fans died when a wall collapsed as they fled trouble ahead of the European Cup final against Liverpool, he added: “Do they play on the date of the Heysel disaster? How many dates do they not play on? My mum died on 22 August. I don’t stay in all day on 22 August.
“Do Man United play on the date of Munich? Do Rangers play on the date when all their fans died in that disaster whatever year that was – 1971?”
Davies, 46, continued: “Hillsborough is the most awful thing that’s happened in my life, in terms of football. It’s one of the worst tragedies in English peacetime history. But it’s ridiculous that they refuse to play on that day any more.”
He later apologised for upsetting anyone and tried to make amends.
But the Hillsborough Justice Campaign confirmed it had not accepted his donation. Spokeswoman Sheila Coleman said: “This is not something you can throw money at. If he is sincere about his apology, then we would rather he chose to educate himself as to why it is important to the people of this city that Liverpool do not play on that day.”
She added: “Making the comment at any time was insensitive, making it this week is just so insensitive. Making jokes is all about timing and he is a comedian, he should know about timing.”
Hordes of Twitter users had angrily rounded on Davies after his outburst.
One named @BrewMason, tweeted: “Absolutely shocking comments from you all respect lost just try going to liverpool now you will ****ing die.” And @TheOnlyKieran wrote: “Go kill yourself you horrible ****, disrepecting (sic) people who lost their lives, come to liverpool so you get what you deserve.”
And @TheEJD said: “You made fun of dead people so the logical thing to do is make you one of the dead people. Speak of fighting fire with fire...”
But the abusive Twitter comments provoked support for the comic. One user wrote: “Sending Alan Davies death threats because he said something you disagreed with is pathetic.”
Davies later denied his podcast had been disrespectful and added: “Many disagree but I feel the Liverpool vs Everton semi-final could be played on Apr 15. Apologies to those upset by that situation.”
Margaret Aspinall of the Hillsborough Family Support Group also hit out at the threats. She said: “I don’t think anyone should be getting death threats. It is a disgrace. But I do think he was wrong.”