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Controversial commentary riles Liverpool faithful as deeply affecting anniversary approaches

Apr 13, 2012, 12:14 PM EDT

Liverpool

Steven Cohen is at it again, poking Liverpool fans at their time of annual grieving.

In some ways, this is nothing new. Cohen, a podcast producer and former Fox Soccer Channel host, declared himself enemy of the Anfield faithful previously with his highly controversial views on the Hillsborough disaster, where 96 Liverpool fans lost their lives in 1989.

Liverpool FC’s policy is never to play on April 15, date of the tragedy. This year, the policy will also affect Chelsea’s scheduling during a busy time around Stamford Bridge.

So Cohen has kicked Liverpool fans in the teeth once again. Here’s the gist of a piece published at Goal.com:

(Update: The story at Goal.com has now been removed.)

Chelsea, quite rightly, is asking that it be given the maximum possible advantage prior to a possible Champions League semifinal and naturally prefers to play on the Saturday rather than at 6 p.m. on Sunday.

Liverpool, however, refuses to play football on April 15 because of the 1989 tragedy at Hillsborough. Now, I have been accused in my time of not seeing it Liverpool’s way on the issue of Hillsborough. My opinion has not changed one bit, but I am not here right now to debate responsibilities or blame. What I am here to say is that this continual request of Liverpool to have the entire English football world come to a standstill every April 15 is ridiculous and it is trying to put the might and fury of Liverpool above all other clubs 23 years after the event.

Two things to take away:

First, he’s wrong. Very, very wrong. Generally, his views on Hillsborough belong in the Hall of Fame of Wrong. (The disavowed Chelsea supporter was so wildly off base with his previous comments regarding Hillsborough that Stamford Bridge management issued an official statement further distancing from the controversial broadcaster.)

The Taylor Report concluded unequivocally that crowd mismanagement by police had caused the disaster.

This is a deeply affecting event for Liverpool and its supporters, and very few in the game seem at odds with Liverpool’s understandable preference to hold an annual memorial on the date rather than ever play a match.

Second, somehow word got out erroneously that NBC has hired Cohen, who in 2009 was dismissed from his role on Fox Football Fone-In. This is also incorrect. Take it from an employee of NBC Universal: our friends at the network say no such thing has happened.

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