Friday night I started listening to the podcast of “World Soccer Daily” as I do most weekdays. I expected to hear a preview for the weekend action and the normal show that I have enjoyed. This show was different. The host Steven Cohen started the show by saying this would be the last show.
This story started in April when the anniversary of the Hillsborough tragedy happened. For those of you who don’t know Hillsborough is the home ground of Nottingham Forest F.C and on April 15,1989 it was the scene of a tragedy. Liverpool F.C. was getting ready to play the host team in a FA Cup semifinal.
Police who were trying to deal with a lot of fans flooding the entrances of the stadium opened another gate they intended to use as an exit. What happened instead was the fans took advantage and stormed the entrance. Most of these fans didn’t have tickets. This caused a crush of people with no place to go. Rescue people couldn’t get to the injured people because people were wall to wall. As a result 96 people died. The investigation said that there weren’t enough police to handle the situation.
Here is how this affects the end of World Soccer Daily. Steven Cohen had stated in his opinion blame should be shared between the unticketed fans and the police. This set off a firestorm within the Liverpool supporters groups. Even my fellow WNST blogger Darren Rudham wrote an open letter to him. Here is the link. http://wnst.net/wordpress/darrenrudham/2009/04/22/a-letter-to-steven-cohen/
If you disagree with him that is fine. He was denounced by officials from Liverpool and officials from the team he follows Chelsea. Liverpool fans wrote him letters, emailed him, organized a boycott of his shows, and worked to have him removed from Sirius Satellite Radio and Fox Soccer Channel. These are all normal steps to take if you disagree with someones opinion. Some people however took it a step too far. They sent him death threats and made contact with his friends and family. The last straw came last week when according to him “My step children were contacted via the internet.”
Why should it have come to that? If you don’t like the show don’t listen. Tell everyone you know not to listen. Organize a boycott if you want but we need to draw the line at death threats and bringing people’s personal lives into a public situation.
I for one am going to miss listening to the best daily U.S. based soccer show and I hope other will also.