Lines being crossed by Adrian Durham 5

Ignore me, I’m just the owner of a ‘little’ website cruelly directing all kinds of hate at Adrian Durham. It’s sick, it’s wrong, it’s just part of a vindictive agenda.

On the other hand, the article which appeared in the Daily Mail on Tuesday, which opined that Liverpool deserved to win a Premier League title as a form of ‘repayment’ for the atrocity and injustice of Hillsborough was a real-low point - and it was a stomach-turningly transparent attempt - successful, presumably - to use the natural sensitivity which exists around the tragedy to provoke clicks and readers. No, he wasn’t writing anything negative about the events, but this still looked like a contrived attempt to write something positive around a very raw subject.

Durham is an irritant, but he’s not a idiot - he just pretends to be. Anyone who has ever written about football, on any website anywhere, knows full-well that including words like ‘Hillsborough’ and ‘Liverpool’ in your title will see you handsomely rewarded by NewsNow, Twitter, Facebook and Google. It’s not rocket-science.

I’m not going to pretend to be outraged, because actually it wasn’t the least bit surprising - Durham has been on this path for a while, and he was eventually going to reach a point at which his agitating crossed a line. He’ll claim now, vociferously, that it was a well-intentioned piece, and that his choice of subject had nothing to do with him making a public appearance to promote his book in Liverpool this weekend. Maybe that’s true, maybe it is all a big coincidence and misunderstanding, but you don’t have to be particularly bright to recognise that none of this looks very good.

This is someone who makes a living through provocation, and who week-after-week writes articles with the intention of prodding at the emotional incontinence of the generic football fan. Benefit of the doubt does not factor in, and any claims that this article was the exception to the rule are built on very unsteady ground. If you style yourself as a ‘controversial’ figure, you have to expect all the people who you’ve pissed of to be waiting for you when you finally make a mistake.

Adrian Durham may well have all the sympathy in the world for the families affected by Hillsborough, in fact I’m sure he does, but if he doesn’t see why so many people have been offended by the theme of his article, then that’s very worrying. Hillsborough wasn’t a football tragedy, it was just a tragedy, hence discussing it in relation to Premier League titles is rather crass - wounds like that don’t get healed by football matches or seasons.

His default reaction to the many critical responses he’s received so far has been just to brand his detractors as ‘trolls’ and hate-mongers, and make claims about being ‘choked-up with tears’ whilst writing the article. You can decide for yourselves whether that’s an appropriate response, a likely series of events, or whether the TalkSport host ‘doth protest too much’.

If I sit down later this afternoon, and write an article about Heysel, Munich, or Bradford, and dress it up with well-wishes towards the respective teams and fans, I think a lot of people would rightly have a problem with that and feel that I was constructing something artificial around a topic which naturally affords a lot of attention. I think that would be a very fair response.

I don’t dislike Durham, because I don’t know him, but I strongly object to what he represents - he’s become the Pied Piper of cheap online heat, and he’s setting a precedent for how to become visible which will breed a whole host of copycats. That’s not something to look forward to.

The article is here for those who want to read it.

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