On Sunday, Liverpool faced off against Shrewsbury Town in the FA Cup. The Reds won to advance to the next round while the League One side acquitted themselves well, scoring the game’s first goal and looking solid and competitive on the day.
A day where most would have been able to find something positive to take home with them was marred, though, when reports emerged that a small number of Shrewsbury’s travelling fans had attempted to start Hillsborough chants during the match.
It is a situation that, sadly, remains too common, with fans of other English clubs still willing—whether through ignorance or malice—to use Liverpool supporters who died due to failures of police and poor crowd control as supposed matchday banter.
What’s far less common is to see pushback from outside Liverpool Football Club when such songs and chants do happen, and so Shrewsbury deserve credit today for their willingness to stand up and call out the bad behaviour of a minority of fans.
Following confirmation of the reports of the chants, the club released a statement on the matter:
Shrewsbury Town Football Club is disgusted and appalled to see and hear the reports on social media about the vile and offensive chanting and behaviour of a very small minority of our ‘supporters’ yesterday.
These people do not represent our Club in any way shape or form and we are liaising with West Mercia Police to try and identify those responsible who will in turn liaise with Merseyside Police.
If any supporters have any information that might assist us in identifying those responsible, they can contact the Club confidentially and we will use the information as part of our investigations with the Police authorities.
The reality, of course, is that a club’s bad fans do represent the club. The urge will always be to suggest they aren’t true fans, but every club has them, including Liverpool, as seen when some fans have sung the homophobic Chelsea “rent boy” chants.
Regardless how one defines a fan, though, calling out such bad behaviour and seeking out those who did it is the only suitable response, and so it’s promising to see that Shrewsbury—both as a club and some of the players—have done so.