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I say things on Twitter


Bill Shankly: "Some people think football is a matter of life and death. I assure you, it's much more serious than that."

One year ago today, November 28th 2016, was the day of the plane crash that killed 71 people including nearly all the Chapacoense football team and many of the club staff. A sad anniversary indeed, but today I'm going to reach for a silver lining that came from the disaster. The way in which the club and supporters of the team they were to face that day in the Final of the Sudamericana Cup, Atlético Nacional of Medellín, stepped up and showed their collective humanity after the disaster wasn't just a credit to the city, to Colombia or even football, but to human decency. For example, this was the scene in the Atlético Nacional stadium on November 30th:

The club said to its fans, "We're holding a homage ceremony for Chapacoense tonight, come along if you can" and that was the reply, a stadium packed to the rafters. For another example, the way in which Atlético Nacional immediately contacted FIFA, insisted on defaulting the final and awarding the title to Chapacoense of Brazil (the first top level title in the club's history). Or when the two teams met in the Recopa final in May this year, even though it was a fully competitive match (a red card in the return leg) the atmosphere was like nothing I'd ever witnessed (and all I was doing was watching on TV). Those and more, two teams brought together by tragedy and now the firmest of friends.

There's no neat close or eloquent turn of phrase to this post, except to say that Bill Shankly, legendary manager of the Liverpool team, was right. And that every football weekend I now find myself searching for Atlético Nacional's result and get a small smile every time Los Verdolagas win.