Alan Pattullo: Minute’s silence for Diego Maradona better late than never - and tannoy notes revealed
After the all the emotion triggered by the death of Diego Maradona last week, it seemed peculiar that there was no minute’s silence at last weekend’s Betfred Cup clashes, particularly when one took place before English Premier League games kicked-off.
That was an admittedly rare honour for someone who did not play for a British club. Of course, this was not just anyone. It was Maradona, who many – certainly judging by the reaction last week – would contend was and still is the greatest footballer who has played the game.
Further marking this out as commendable on the part of the English authorities is knowing the scale of resentment that exists within some people south of the Border towards Maradona. His Hand of God goal in the 1986 World Cup still rankles, with Peter Shilton in particular, it seems, given some of his recent – and not-so-recent – comments.
The fact there are so few fans in stadiums – none at all until this week – reduced the risk of any form of disruption to the silence, although this would surely have been unlikely in any event. Whatever he did in life, Maradona’s death struck a chord.
It’s pleasing to report that the SPFL have suggested in a message to clubs that they might like to pay their respects to Maradona this weekend. The SFA have also been advised of this plan so that match officials are made aware.
A proposed announcement for the benefit of Tannoy announcers was even included in the email. “On 25 November 2020, football lost one of its greatest icons, Diego Armando Maradona …Football is united in sadness at the passing of a true legend of the game …We now ask all those present in the stadium to unite and remember Maradona through a period of silence which will begin and end on the referee’s whistle.”
After all the memories of Maradona stirred by last week’s news, many of them involving his Hampden debut goal and later appearance at the stadium when taking charge of the Argentina national side for the first time, it’s the least can be done.
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