Alan Davies: Liverpool's Hillsborough Disaster Is Not Just Another Banter Topic

Alan Davies doesn't hate Scousers, he just likes 'banter' and doesn't know when to shut up.
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Alan Davies doesn't hate Scousers, he just likes 'banter' and doesn't know when to shut up.

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He’s not adverse to a quiz show, or a quirky detective drama my old man, but pressed for an answer on why he won’t watch these shows and he’ll tell you: “He hates Scousers.” He’s talking about Alan Davies, and a grudge that spans almost 15 years.

On Friday 22nd of August 1997, an episode of Room 101 was broadcast in which Alan Davies, all curly bonce and shit shirt, sat opposite Nick Hancock and put the city of Liverpool into the fictional basement. His explanation for his choice was that ‘all people from Liverpool think they’re funny’, he went on to list a raft of crap Scouse comedians, from Tom O’Connor to Jimmy Tarbuck.

Whilst I thought this was somewhat rich, coming from a supposed stand-up comedian, known almost exclusively for playing a mildly amusing, duffel-coat clad consultant magician, I let it pass. I then spent the next 15 years trying to convince my dad that Alan Davies wasn’t that bad, and he probably didn’t really ‘hate Scousers’.

Whilst I thought this was somewhat rich, coming from a supposed stand-up comedian, known almost exclusively for playing a mildly amusing, duffel-coat clad consultant magician, I let it pass.

I, for my sins, quite like Davies. His hair is crap, but I sympathise with his politics, and find his ‘I’m thick me, but not really’ act on QI quite endearing, so every now and again I’d pit myself against my father and fight Jonathan Creek’s corner.

Yesterday this debate reared its ugly head again, when a popular Arsenal podcast The Tuesday Club, Davies expressed his opinion about Liverpool’s request not to schedule their FA Cup Semi Final on the anniversary of the Hillsborough Disaster.

"Liverpool and the 15th - that gets on my tits that s**t. What are you talking about, 'We won't play on the day'. Why can't they?"

"Do they play on the date of the Heysel Stadium disaster? How many dates do they not play on? Do Man United play on the date of Munich? Do Rangers play on the date when all their fans died in that disaster whatever year that was - 1971?"

Davies’ rant sent Twitter into meltdown, Liverpool fans berated the actor (stand-up? Probably not any more) for his insensitivity, the more brainless amongst them threatening to kill him if he ever set foot in Liverpool again. This prompted a climb-down, and Davies since apologised and committed £1000 to the Hillsborough Justice Campaign, a charity that he claims to fully support, suggesting that "the tone I took on the podcast was inappropriate for this subject. I support the campaign for justice for the 96."

As it goes, I believe that Alan Davies does support the Hillsborough Justice Campaign. As with most right-minded football fans of his age, he understands the horror of Hillsborough, and what it did to Liverpool, and to football.

Later in the podcast he explained that he thought Hillsborough was the ‘most awful thing that has happened in his life, in terms of football. It was one of the worst tragedies in English peace-time history.” However, this doesn’t excuse the manner in which he put his original point across.

Like most football podcasts, in the age of TalkSport, The Tuesday Club is a happy-go-lucky, informal chat, riddled with ‘banter’ and designed to make you feel like you’re in the pub with your mates, even if you’re on your own playing Subbuteo and reading old issues of Shoot magazine. Davies explained his concerns in the manner befitting of the show, laughing and joking about how much he hates Kenny Dalglish, in the same breath as discussing Hillsborough. It was distasteful.

It’s become a running joke recently that Liverpool fans are ‘outraged by everything’, and certain elements of Twitter-based support have done very little to dispel this rumour in recent months. I wasn’t outraged by what Davies said, I was simply disappointed that a man I had been defending for 15 years had undone all my hard work, by attempting to have ‘banter’ about the wishes of the families of the 96 victims of Hillsborough.

Alan Davies doesn’t hate Scousers, he’s just a very silly boy. (With a very silly hair-do)

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