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The Sun's back-handed apology
The following front-page story in The Sun on 7th July is couched as an apology to the people of Liverpool but is nothing more than a crass publicity stunt aimed at alienating Evertonians from Wayne Rooney and taking a pot-shot at their rival, The Mirror Group.


Don't blame Rooney
7 July 2004

Wayne Rooney: The Sun used a photo of Rooney in an England shirt on their website. We remind them that he plays for Everton.

 IT is 15 years since The Sun committed the most terrible mistake in its history.

By making grave and untrue allegations about the behaviour of Liverpool fans during the Hillsborough disaster, we enraged the city.

But more importantly, we tarnished the memory of 96 soccer fans who had tragically lost their lives.

And our carelessness and thoughtlessness following that blackest of days made the grief of their families and friends even harder to bear.

We long ago apologised publicly to the victims families, friends and to the city of Liverpool for our awful error.

We gladly repeat that apology today: fully, openly, honestly and without reservation.

If there was any way we could take back our erroneous words of 15 years ago, and by so doing ease the deep anguish we caused to so many people in mourning, we would do it.

But there isnt. We can only hope that time will be the great healer.

Sadly, for some people in the city of Liverpool, forgetting never mind forgiving is impossible.

If they want to hate The Sun, then that is their right. We are hardly in a position to blame them.

What we find impossible to take, though, is the way some of Liverpool is turning its anger on one of the greatest footballing talents the city has ever seen.

Wayne Rooney is one of Liverpools finest sons.

At 18, he is the nations hero of Euro 2004 and has the potential to outscore England legends like Jimmy Greaves, Bobby Charlton and Alan Shearer.

On Merseyside, his name should be the toast of every pub, street and school.

Instead, he is being vilified by some Liverpool and Everton fans.

We can understand the grief of those who lost loved ones at Hillsborough.

We do not condemn the outspoken words of men like John Glover or Phil Hammond, whose sons died in the tragedy, for their loss entitles them to hold any opinion they wish.

But the words of other fans leave us in despair.

Wayne Rooney was just three years old at the time of Hillsborough. He and his fiancee Coleen are devastated by this unfair backlash. He should not be punished in 2004 for a mistake The Sun made in 1989. Dont visit our past sins on him.

 One view on a Liverpool website is that by telling his life story in The Sun, Wayne has signed his soul away to the devil.

Another is that he has accepted 30 pieces of silver.

For goodness sake, give the lad a chance.

Its not as if Waynes the first footballer from Merseyside to talk to The Sun.

We have enjoyed a good working relationship with many players and managers over the years.

And nearly all Liverpool-born celebrities regularly talk to Britains favourite daily newspaper.

What The Sun finds most depressing about what is going on in Liverpool is the way trouble is stirred up by the local papers, the Post and the Echo.

Who owns the Post and Echo?

None other than Trinity Mirror.

The same company that owns The Suns rival, the Daily Mirror.

The misery being inflicted on Wayne Rooney is a crude effort by them to make commercial gain.

We hope that the people of modern Liverpool, a city of spirit and sophistication, are not taken in.

A brilliant young athlete, a credit to his club, his city and his country, is being pilloried by the very people who should be hailing him a hero.

And The Sun of 2004 no more deserves to be hated on Merseyside than Wayne Rooney does.

 For a start, most of todays staff werent on The Sun in 1989 and todays Editor was a 20-year-old student.

Many of the callers to BBC Radio Merseyside have acknowledged that fact.

Fifteen years is a long time.

It is 11 years longer than the First World War, nine years longer than the Second World War.

We cannot believe these protests properly represent the opinions of the majority of men and women in Liverpool.

No one will ever forget the terrible Hillsborough tragedy, nor those who died and their loved ones.

But trashing a young man of whom everyone should be proud is not the way to honour their memory.

It is time to move on.


News Group Newspapers, 2004

Read ToffeeWeb's response.
Kenny Fogarty: The Scum .
[The above is unedited and provided within ToffeeWeb for archival purposes. If you would like to view the article in context on The Sun's website, click here.]

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