UK

Margaret Thatcher: No Minute's Silence For Former PM Who 'Hated Football, Hated Fans'

13/04/2013 14:34 BST

Margaret Thatcher will not have her death marked at football matches this weekend, despite calls from some club chairman and Sir Bobby Charlton.

Football Association chairman David Bernstein says there will not be a minute’s silence before this weekend’s FA Cup ties, stating that the FA is “an apolitical organisation”.

There are also fears that fans may not observe the silence.

thatcher football

Baroness Thatcher positions a football during a photocall with Aldershot Football Club

Reading chairman John Madejski and Wigan Athletic's Dave Whelan have both suggested the silence, but union leader Bob Crow has applauded the Football Association's decision not to hold a minute's silence.

He told Sky News: "What about Jim Callaghan and Harold Wilson? What about Clement Atlee, who brought in the National Health Service and nationalised industries? The Queen didn't even go to his funeral.

"Thatcher presided over the police cover-up of Hillsborough, where 96 football fans died just because they wanted to watch their team.

She never supported working people, she hated working people and the football is working class sport and she was no friend of working class people."

Former FA chief executive Graham Kelly told the Mail he supported a minute's silence, saying: "Football should mark the passing of a long-serving leader with the appropriate level of respect. Wearing black armbands would be respectful but a minute's silence would be the most fitting."

Former Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish wrote in the Daily Mirror that the victims of Hillsborough deserved the minute's silence this weekend, as it is the anniversary of the tragedy. "So Graham Kelly, the former chief executive of the FA, thinks there should be a minute’s silence for Margaret Thatcher at football games this weekend.

"Really? Well, I’m glad Mr Kelly is still popping up with suggestions because I have got a few for him, too. This weekend should be about our football clubs wanting to be respectful to the fans who died at Hillsborough on April 15, 1989.

"It would be totally wrong for anybody to attempt to make any other act of remembrance go hand in hand with that. Everyone who didn’t realise it already now knows, after the events of this year, that those who died are more than worthy of that minute’s silence."

One team that will be holding the silence is the former Finchley MP's local side, Wingate and Finchley FC at their home match against Kingstonian.

A club spokesman told the Ham&High: “It’s not political at all. We’re the only team in Finchley, she was the MP there for nearly 35 years and, most significantly for us, she was a patron of the club.

“We needed the council to agree the merger of Wingate and Finchley in 1991 and she helped to put us in contact with the right people and to put pressure on the right people.

“She was a big part of our history, she’s a big reason why we exist and so it’s essential that we honour her.

“For my part, I can completely understand other clubs not wanting to hold a minute’s silence, particularly those with crowds of 35,000 people and those who will be on national television because there’s no way that they will all go smoothly.

“It’s just human nature and football is a working class-sport - but we’re a small club and we feel it’s vital for us to acknowledge the part that Margaret Thatcher has played in our club’s history."

Professor Rogan Taylor, a football expert at Liverpool University, told Sky News it was a bizarre idea, considering how the Iron Lady disliked football. "Mrs Thatcher saw football as a kind of working class industrial wasteland - one of those rust bucket industries that she wanted to kick into touch like the miners and the trade unions and shipbuilders," he said.

"Like everything else she saw as something she ought to suffocate, rather than give life too."

Unpopular schemes considered by Thatcher targeted at reducing hooliganism from some football fans included the 1989 Football Spectators Act, which included plans to make every football supporter carry a compulsory ID card.