Facing My Demons
Being awarded an Early Career Researcher Grant by the British Society of Sports History (BSSH) has given me a real boost! I’ll be putting together regular blog posts to share news and updates on my ‘research journey’.
I’m keen not to shy away from the more contentious side of ‘remembering’ and ‘commemorating’ for my ongoing research and graphic novel. Even though it hurts to hear people talk (and chant) about how happy they are that one of my relatives died.
I discovered very early on that some rival fans of Manchester United sing chants about Munich that start ‘Whose that dying on the runway? Whose that dying in the snow?…’. I have seen posts on social media with crying laughing emojis and crass comments accompanying footage of plane crashes, particularly around the anniversary of the Disaster. The fervour of football fandom means that often the original ‘offensive posts’ are matched in hatefulness by responses from rival fans. Sometimes their words are more abhorrent than the original posts.
It’s important that this contentious aspect of commemoration is acknowledged and included – even though it is painful for me. That is why it’s crucial to have mentoring support for these portions of my research that are uncomfortable and difficult. I’m very grateful for the grant from BSSH because it has helped me to get the support of mentors who I trust and respect.
On a positive note I was heartened to find: ‘It’s Time To End Munich ‘Banter’’ by The Redmen TV calling for the mockery of the Disaster and the dead and survivors to stop. It reminds fans that ‘banter’ about the Munich & Hillsborough Disasters is deeply offensive and inappropriate.
I’m focussing on stimulating interest from new audiences for my PhD thesis (that considers the commemoration of Manchester United and England footballer Duncan Edwards, who died from the injuries he sustained in the 1958 Munich Air Disaster). I’ll be undertaking interviews with former and new participants that will form the basis of new comics or series of illustrated zines under the title of ‘What’s Time’s Kickoff?’
If you would like to know more or record your memories of Duncan Edwards – please get in touch.