Today a four year legal battle that has dominated the national and international news has come to an end, Michael Shields has been pardoned by the British government following his conviction for attempted murder in a Bulgarian court. After serving time in both Bulgarian and British prisons Michael Shields will be freed in the coming days a thought that must have seemed a long way off following his conviction and 10 year sentence four years ago.
In this article I do not want to re-examine the court cases, whatever events transpired that night or in the following years will be covered infinitum by better educated fellows than myself. I like to write about football and the greatest question in my mind is not was this an injustice, but what has this to do with football?
Headline after headline links the crime and football that the accused supports almost implying that the two are directly related when breaking the news today the BBC used the headline ‘Pardon for Football fan Shields’. This headline is technically accurate however this crime was not committed at a football match, it was not committed in the aftermath of a match, nor was it committed in the name of football.