Ahead of Sunday’s fixture against Liverpool, Sir Alex Ferguson has penned a letter which is to be handed out at the turnstiles of Anfield to travelling away fans.
It will be the final words that fans read before they go into the ground and they should carry some resonance. With Hillsborough fresh in the memory, it is sure to be an emotional day and the last thing we want is the game to descend into slurs aimed at tragedies gone by, for both clubs.
The letter reads as follows:
“The great support you gave the team here last season has seen our allocation back up to near-full levels. I want you to continue that progress today.
“But today is about much more than not blocking gangways. Today is about thinking hard about what makes United the best club in the world.
“Our rivalry with Liverpool is based on a determination to come out on top – a wish to see us crowned the best against a team that held that honour for so long.
“It cannot and should never be based on personal hatred. Just ten days ago, we heard the terrible, damning truth about the deaths of 96 fans who went to watch their team try and reach the FA Cup final and never came back.
“What happened to them should wake the conscience of everyone connected with the game.
“Our great club stands with our great neighbours Liverpool today to remember that loss and pay tribute to their campaign for justice. I know I can count on you to stand with us in the best traditions of the best fans in the game.
“Yours sincerely, Sir Alex Ferguson.”
If there is anybody that fans will listen to, it’s the big man himself. Whether or not it has the desired effect is a different matter entirely.