Why Alan Davies' latest word on Hillsborough is self-serving, condescending, insulting and contemptible

By Matt Kelly

Alan Davies; comedian, broadcaster, podcaster, football pundit and - so we learn from his Times article today - the latest victim of the Hillsborough disaster.

This morning, in an article of breathtakingly convoluted and self-serving logic, he clambered so far up the moral high ground only a fool would seek to argue with him.

He’s a football fan, he writes. Why, he was even watching football himself (albeit a couple of hundred miles away) on April 15, 1989! He’s been lifted off his feet many times at matches! He was in a bad crush at a tube station twice! He’s even done a gig at Liverpool Poly and met people who were affected by the tragedy!

THIS MAN KNOWS YOUR PAIN, LIVERPOOL!

And more than that; he knows how Liverpool should react to it.

In his article, he gives a four-point guide to the “reality of bereavement”.

1) Memorial services each year have nothing to do with bereavement.

2) You live with it all year round.

3) Some days will be worse than others.

4) The day of their death isn’t as important as the memories inside.

It starts insulting, then moves through condescension before finishing in stating the bleeding obvious. He manages to be simultaneously banal and irritating.

But all self-qualification and cod-psychology is a sideshow compared to his central gripe.

He’s been treated terribly.

Poor Alan. He’s suffered; every day since he said it was ridiculous Liverpool could elect not to play football matches on the anniversary of the day 96 of their fans were crushed to death.

There have been death threats, cancer wished upon him and offers to shower his mother’s grave with urine. All on Twitter of course. Where he has continued winding people up since the story broke. (You’d almost think he was enjoying the publicity!)

He even calls for an apology, suggesting Merseyside MP Steve Rotheram call his constituents to account, saying: “ Perhaps Mr Rotheram could now write to those people, possibly his own constituents, who want me to contract cancer so my 'children will never enjoy Christmas', who want to urinate on my mother's grave, who would take pleasure in seeing my wife sexually assaulted, and suggest that it is they who have truly caused offence.”

He goes on to say that these people attacking him “with such hatred” don’t represent the dead. And it’s hard to argue.

They don't represent anyone. I know that, you know that, and Alan Davies certainly knows that. Even they themselves know that.

They’re irrelevant. Twitter is full of idiots. That’s why it’s called Twitter. And anyone who takes a death threat from Twitter seriously has a highly overactive imagination.

Either that, or a cynical self-serving agenda and a fine line in moralising.

To use them to claim the moral high ground and present yourself as a victim in this is a travesty.

Then, finally, after a lot of me me me (even by a TV comic's standards), he returns to the theme that got him into such trouble in the first place.

“There is a loss of perspective and a distortion of genuine emotion over Hillsborough,” he writes.

And again it’s hard not to agree.

Alan Davies, in this misguided flame-fanning article (you wonder, incidentally, what effect his remarks had in the minds of those despicable Chelsea morons at Wembley yesterday), has lost perspective altogether.

It’s not about you Alan. It’s about the families who are still battered by ignorance like yours every week.

And yes, he has certainly distorted genuine emotion over Hillsborough.

It seems like a lifetime ago that I sat in Anne Williams’ front room and interviewed her, as the Formby Times reporter, about the death of her son Kevin the day before. Yet, for 23 years Anne Williams’ genuine emotion over the injustice of Hillsborough has burned undiminished.

She’s not the only one of course.

Tens of thousands of decent and right-minded and quiet and dignified and honest and ordinary people think the same. Many thousands directly connected to the tragedy by loss, many more tens of thousands directly connected to the tragedy by a sense of injustice.

To conflate their genuine emotion, and the way they choose to maintain their campaign for that justice, with a handful of irrelevant fools on Twitter, is contemptible.

***

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