A weekly newspaper editor has been suspended after a controversial front page linking the Hillsborough tragedy with football hooliganism.
As reported by HTFP last week, the Reading Chronicle’s owners were forced to issue an “unreserved apology” last week over its front page story ‘The Other Face of Football.’
It included the line: “Football hooliganism may be thought of as a relic from a previous age when gangs of denim-clad skinheads held the game to ransom and names like Hillsborough and Heysel were symbols of its ills.”
The slur caused an outcry among Hillsborough campaigners and editor Maurice O’Brien has now been suspended pending a full investigation.
This week’s edition of the Berkshire Media Group-owned weekly carries the apology on its front page.
It read: “Last week’s issue of the Reading Chronicle carried a special investigative piece entitled “The Other Face of Football”.
“This article caused great offence to Reading Football Club, Reading fans and those affected by the dreadful events of Hillsborough in 1989.
“The Chronicle wishes to apologise for any offence caused by the article and assure you that a full investigation into last week’s events is being undertaken.
“We fully accept that Reading Football Club has an exemplary record of policing their ground and Royals fans have a well-deserved reputation for excellent behaviour. Unfortunately our article and the front page in particular did not make this clear.
“The Reading Chronicle has a long and proud tradition of serving our readers and advertisers across Reading and West Berkshire. This article fell short of the diligent, responsible reporting that has been our trademark down the years.”
Berkshire Media Group managing director Keith McIntyre confirmed that Maurice had been suspended while the investigation takes place.
Maurice told the Echo last week that the newspaper had not intended to link Hillsborough with hooliganism or upset survivors.