A Time for Remembrance
Other cities perhaps make more of a fuss about their fallen than Brummies do. The people of Birmingham have always tended to prefer to be more understated in their approach to such matters and to life in general. Yet the Birmingham bombings of 21st November 1974, that took 21 lives and injured around 200, are often forgotten in the national media, despite them being the biggest attack on human life this country had seen since World War II.
Part of the reason is they remain an embarrassing stain on the British legal system and the families of the 21 were never afforded justice.
The fact that the 40th anniversary of the tragic loss of the 21 (named in the above picture) falls on the same recognised day of the 140th anniversary of Aston Villa Football Club makes it even more poignant to Villa fans. But Villa supporters are still scratching their heads as to why the club failed to recognise this and turned down the Justice for the 21 campaign’s request for a minute’s silence at the Southampton game on Monday night.
Thankfully a supporter push for a 21st minute applause tribute has seen the club now embrace honouring the 21 on the night.
Considering the two anniversaries at stake, this is a game should have been played today, 3pm Saturday (within 24 hours of the anniversaries) and should NEVER have been allowed to be moved by SKY TV (MOMS had lobbied the club about this in preseason).
It’s another example of how short-sighted the men in suits can be in the football industry (we will be flagging this up with Ofcom in their forthcoming investigation in the Premier League TV rights).
The odd person has said why should this remembrance for the 21 be a concern for a football club? Well, football always used to be about community and not just when it’s useful for a bit of corporate PR. It’s something that should united the whole of Birmingham and that even includes the Villa-Blues rivalry.
Proper football supporters don’t need to be told that though. We leave you with a short story that was initially made by Villan and MOMS reader Stephen Hill on our Facebook page:
Anybody else remember the friendly played at St Andrews for the Bombing victims of 1974, West Midlands XI v England XI? I was 14 at the time standing on the Kop at St Andrews with a silk Villa scarf round my neck (remember them in the 70s?), when the Blues started singing ‘Villa were are you?’
The mates I was with all started to point at me… So, there I am standing in the middle of their Kop, Villa scarf round my neck waiting to be killed, when an older Blues skinhead put his hand on my shoulder and said, “We’re all just Brummies tonight mate”.
I think some of my Bluenose mates would have liked to have seen me get a good kicking! But it was about a lot more than football that night.
lets give the club credit for changing their mind and having the minutes applause on MOnday. I guess they were pushed. THe headline on the front page of the Mail on THursday must have come as a shock, and they got a backlash. I was going to the Town Hall concert that night, so I dropped a letter off to Tom Fox on my way past Villa Park. They clearly got stick over their refusal and within 24 hours they did a U turn. It was the right thing to do.
At least they realized they could not have a nationally covered TV broadcast with this as the background. WIse to realize this was bad publicity, they did the right thing. Lets give the bosses a pat on the bat for making the change.
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