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The Week That Was

This is a story from the FSF archive – the FSF and SD merged to become the FSA in 2019.

As ever, the exploits of Manchester United and Liverpool chewed up the majority of the column inches this week, with yet more from new-found sensation Federico Macheda, the respective sides’ exploits in Europe and the continuing bickering between messrs Ferguson and Benitez. Even the release of the PFA Player of the Year Award shortlist couldn’t stop them, as they were the only two clubs represented there, as well. 

Easter is typically a time for stories of resurrection, although this year it saw the sad news that Luton Town have been relegated from the Football League. Starting with a 30 point defecit always looked like it would be too much for the Hatters this season, and although the rights and wrongs of leaving a club with the punishment for the actions of former owners can be debated – Mike Newell certainly blames the former regime. Still, they’ll be able to look back on their season with some pride, including their excellent win in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy final.

One piece of good news we can report, though, was a record-breaking football match that was held in aid of the Meningitis Trust over the Easter Weekend. Leeds Badgers defeated Bristol Academy by the fine margin of 285-255 in a game that lasted 36 hours. Well done to all involved.

Tuesday saw the resumption of the Champions League quarter finals, and while Barcelona eased through as expected against Bayern Munich, Chelsea and Liverpool, somewhat unexpectedly, produced arguably the best game of this year’s competition in a thrilling 4-4 draw at Stamford Bridge. 24 hours later,  Manchester United and Arsenal ensured another season with 3 English sides in semi-finals, as they swept aside Porto and Villarreal respectively. Ronaldo’s goal was the pick of the bunch this week, as he fired in from some distance to give United the 1-0 win they craved in the Dragao, not that we should overlook Theo Walcott’s fine opener for the Gunners, however.

The PFA Player of the Year Award shortlist was announced this week, and in a reversal of the humbling at Old Trafford back in March, this one finished 5-1 to Manchester United as Van der Sar, Giggs, Vidic, Ferdinand and Ronaldo scored for United, with Gerrard notching a consolation nomination for Liverpool. If their battle for domestic honours and awards wasn’t enough, their managers have been playing silly-buggers in the press all week, too. Rafael Benitez intimated that United were ‘scared’ of Liverpool in the build up to the Champions League ties, only for Fergie to retort today that Benitez is ‘Arrogant and Contemptful’. Blimey, Alex Ferguson accusing someone else of arrogance; what has the world come to?

Lastly, but by no means least this week, the main mention has to be that of the 20th anniversary of Hillsborough.

In 1989 96 Liverpool fans went to watch their side play in an FA Cup Semi-Final and never returned home. The city stopped on Wednesday as the bells of the two cathedrals rang out to mark each of the lost lives, and over 30,000 people attended the memorial service at Anfield. There are renewed calls for a public inquiry into the disaster, and Andy Burnham, who gave a speech at the memorial, has hopes that his call to his Labour cabinet colleagues will be rewarded with the information that the survivors of the disaster crave. For more information about the disaster, we recommend you visit www.hfdinfo.com

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